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Shippensburg knocks Greencastle out of playoffs

November 11, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Two weeks ago, the Shippensburg Greyhounds lost a 28-27 heartbreaker in double-overtime to Greencastle-Antrim.

On Friday night, they got redemption in a much bigger way.

Jeremy Musser caught a 52-yard touchdown and Taylor Carey nailed his first career field goal — which turned out to be the game-winner — as 10th-seeded Shippensburg turned in a great defensive effort and edged the seventh-seeded Blue Devils 10-7, eliminating the Mid-Penn Colonial Division champions from the District 3-AAA football playoffs at Kaley Field.

“I said it last time, it’s a shame anybody has to lose a game like that,” Devils head coach Chuck Tinninis said. “Tonight, it was us.”

The playoff win is the first in 10 seasons for Shippensburg under head coach Eric Foust. The Hounds advanced to take on second-seeded Lampeter-Strasburg, a 42-6 winner over Northern York on Friday, in the quarterfinals next week.

“This is some validation for us,” Foust said. “This group of seniors has worked incredibly hard and they deserve it. Last year, the goal was to get a home playoff game, and that’s a great goal, except we got it and didn’t win it. This year we never really set one, but this was always the goal.”

Despite the loss, Denver Cordell led all rushers with 103 yards on 15 carries in his final game as a Blue Devil. But Shippensburg’s defense limited big fullback Tyler Szaflarski — who missed the first Shippensburg game with a shoulder injury — to just 49 yards, also on 15 attempts.

A defensive struggle for much of the game, Shippensburg (9-2) lit the scoreboard first on Musser’s huge catch-and-run on a beautiful over-the-top pass down the right sideline from quarterback Marshal Witmer with 3:30 left in the second quarter.

Tyler Szaflarski tied the game at 7 with a 4-yard run with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter, but that was all the high-powered Blue Devils (8-3) could manage against a stingy Shippensburg defense, which has been its meal ticket all year long.

“We can really plug the middle up. Our D-line is good at controlling that,” Shippensburg two-way lineman Cary Hess said.

After the Hounds’ regular kicker, Zach Myers, went down with an injury in the first half, Carey had to step in and fill the void. His extra point on Musser’s touchdown barely got over the crossbar, but his kick from 22 yards in the fourth quarter was perfect, putting the Hounds up 10-7 with 9:31 remaining.

William Burt picked up 79 of Shippensburg’s 132 total rushing yards on 15 carries.

Penalties became an issue for the Devils down the stretch as Shippensburg salted the game away.

“Penalties hurt us, both on their possession and ours (late in the game), but that’s part of the game,” Tinninis said. “I was very impressed with the resiliency of our kids. I’m going to miss these guys.”

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