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High School Football: Mustangs stave off Blue Devils

October 05, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — For one of the few times in his 25 years at Greencastle-Antrim, Chuck Tinninis wished he was coaching on the college level.

Then, the Blue Devils would be playing 15-minute quarters instead of 12.

It might have been all Greencastle needed to pull off a huge comeback. The Blue Devils came alive in the final 11:30 of the game on Friday to rally, but fell short in a 35-28 loss to West Perry in a Mid-Penn Colonial matchup.

“The key to this game for us is that the kids came back and played hard,” Tinninis said. “I would have liked to have about four more minutes out there.”

It might have made the difference. But then again, if Greencastle (2-4) could have slowed down West Perry quarterback Zach Smith earlier — and taken back a pair of first-half turnovers — time may not have been of the essence.

Smith engineered and drove the Mustangs’ veer-styled offense to near perfection as he rushed 28 times for 170 yards and a touchdown and threw for three other scores to put West Perry (4-2) ahead.

The Mustangs took a 35-14 lead when fullback Cameron Demby ran 15 yards for a score on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Greencastle in a deep hole.

“(Smith) is a good athlete,” Tinninis said. “He ran that veer keep and he made some of our guys miss to gain yards. That is the best West Perry team I’ve seen in seven years.”

The Blue Devils were down, but not quite out of it … at least until the clock said so.

Greencastle quarterback Austin Scott took to the air and hit seven straight passes over the next two drives to get the Blue Devils back into contention.

He led Greencastle as it answered West Perry’s last score by connecting on five passes in a nine-play drive — culminated with an 8-yard pitch to Ashtin Byers — to get the Blue Devils within 35-21 with 7:36 remaining.

Greencastle’s defense held West Perry to a three-and-out to get the ball back.

Scott connected on a pair of passes to Joel Zola to get the Blue Devils from the West Perry 47 to the doorstep before Byers ran in from the 3 with 3:06 remaining to put Greencastle within a score.

But the Mustangs converted a pair of fourth-down plays to kill the clock and claim the win.

West Perry played off of Smith’s running and got some big passing plays to bust the game open. Smith completed only 7 of 15 passes, but three were for scores.

“It was assignment football and he made guys miss,” Tinninis said. “Then, we were playing man coverage against the pass and they caught a couple of balls, especially that long one, We can’t turn the ball over in the first half. We had a blown coverage and the kid walks into the end zone.”

The Mustangs took a 7-0 lead, capitalizing on an Adam Moore fumble, as Smith hit Chase May with a 15-yard scoring pass at the 6:32 mark of the first quarter. Greencastle answered as Byers and Moore moved the ball downfield to set up a dive from the 1 by Scott for a 7-7 tie after a quarter.

The two teams traded running TDs in the second quarter. Smith swept in from the 1 after a 69-yard run. Hunter Szaflarski answered with a 47-yard run to retie the game at 14.

West Perry took a 21-14 lead into halftime after Smith found Kurtis Rider on a 15-yard swing pass 32 seconds before intermission.

Smith found Keeghan Morrison on a 51-yard pass to give the Mustangs a 28-14 lead at the end of three quarters.

Scott hit 9 of 11 passes for 101 yards, while Byers rushed for 93 and a score.

But in the end, time — and luck — ran out for Greencastle. You might say the Blue Devils ran out of options.

“If we can stop making mistakes, we will win some games,” Tinninis said. “We came up short.”

West Perry 35, Greencastle 28
West Perry    7    14    7    7    —    35
Greencastle    7    7    0    14    —    28
First Quarter
WP – Chase may 15 pass from Zach Smith (Ryan McMillen kick)
G – Austin Scott 1 run (Luke Bitner kick)
Second Quarter
WP – Smith 1 run (McMillen kick)
G – Hunter Szaflarski 47 run (Bitner kick)
WP – Kurtis Rider 15 pass from Smith (McMillen kick)
Third Quarter
WP – Keeghan Morrison 51 pass from Smith (McMillen kick)
Fourth Quarter
WP – Cameron Demby 15 run (McMillen kick)
G – Ashtin Byers 8 pass from Scott (Bitner kick)
G – Byers 3 run (Bitner kick)

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