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Devils' historic season is history

November 15, 2008

GREENCASTLE, PA. -- The Greencastle-Antrim football team prepared all week for a 48-minute football game Friday night against Garden Spot.

Strange, then, that it seemed like the PIAA District 3 Class AAA quarterfinal was over after just more than five minutes had passed.

The Blue Devils fumbled on the game's opening drive and muffed a punt minutes later leading to two Garden Spot touchdowns to set the mood for a 20-0 Spartans win at Kaley Field.

The loss ended a historic season in which Greencastle won a school-record 10 games, including its first-ever playoff victory.

"They ought to be proud of what they accomplished," said Blue Devils coach Chuck Tinninis. "At the beginning of the year we were talking and we said we could be anywhere from 5-5 to 10-0. We didn't know. Well guess what? We ended up 10-2, the guys played their hearts out and (the coaches) had a great time coaching them."

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It probably wasn't so great Friday night.

Brandon Trefelner fumbled on the second play from scrimmage, recovered by Garden Spot safety Tyler Eby at the Blue Devils' 34-yard line. Two plays later, Spartans quarterback Wes Martin optioned to his tailback before sprinting off tackle for a 33-yard touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead with 10:31 left in the first quarter.

After Greencastle went three-and-out, the Blue Devils stopped Garden Spot on the next series to force fourth-and-11 at the Greencastle 40, but the ensuing punt was short and went off the hands of Trefelner. It was recovered by Kyle Kelley at the 15 and, on the next play, Kelley caught a fade from Martin to give the Spartans a 13-0 lead.

"That was the game," said Tinninis. "We got in a hole and just couldn't get out of it. In the first half we moved the ball, but we didn't have field position."

Greencastle's average starting field position before halftime was its own 25-yard-line. That statistic made Blue Devils drives of 59 and 54 yards virtually meaningless -- one ended with a failed fourth-and-3 at the Garden Spot 34 and the other ended on a missed 39-yard field goal.

Meanwhile, the Spartans started three of their seven first-half drives in Greencastle territory with their average starting spot at the 50. The only Garden Spot scoring drive that covered more than 34 yards came during a two-minute drill when they covered 64 yards on six plays.

Andersan Beamer capped that drive with a 12-yard touchdown run for a 20-0 edge.

"It was what it was," Tinninis said. "They executed well in their two-minute offense."

The Greencastle defense did its part in the second half by giving up only 79 yards and forcing six punts to give the offense a chance -- a flip-flop from the Blue Devils' first-round victory when the offense bailed out the defense in a 42-39 win against Kennard-Dale.

But the Blue Devils turned the ball over for a third time and went 1-for-4 on fourth downs after halftime.

Quarterback Adam Ritchey was forced to throw 15 times in the second half, completing just six of those passes with an interception.

"We went away from our inside game offensively," Tinninis said. "We just can't sit in there and sling it."

That said, the Blue Devils slung wins on the board 10 times this season. No other Greencastle varsity football player or coach can lay claim to the feat.

"The record speaks for itself," Tinninis said.

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