For Public Opinion
MERCERSBURG - Things didn't fare well for James Buchanan on Friday evening as they hosted New Oxford in a non-league football game at Rocket Stadium.
After putting together an early lead, the Colonials defeated James Buchanan 56-19.
"We were hopeful that we could keep it from being a close game," New Oxford coach Jason Thurston said. "But they have heart and were keeping it close. They wouldn't just lay down."
The Colonials' Nick Slusser opened the game with two touchdowns, one of which was a 55-yard pass from Anthony Lippy. Wesley Beans also scored, when he dodged a few tackles and ran 80 yards for the final score of the first quarter.
"They came out and hit us in the mouth with a good start," Rockets coach Andy Stoner said.
After New Oxford put together two more touchdowns - on runs by John Wallace (6 yards) and Slusser (18), James Buchanan started to gain some momentum.
Zachary Todd returned a kickoff for 90 yards, and the Rockets used some strategy with an onside kick to get the ball back in their possession.
Shamar Pates followed shortly after by breaking outside for a 10-yard TD to make the score 35-13.
After another onside kick recovered by James Buchanan, the opposing quarterbacks threw back-to-back interceptions as the half expired.
"We worked in practice on onside kicks," Stoner said. "We did three tonight and all of them worked out beautifully. We wanted to use them to create opportunities. It took a quarter to get our momentum going, but once we did, look at what happened.
The Rockets came back strong in the third period, holding New Oxford scoreless and scoring one more time when Caleb Martin threw a 27-yard pass to Darian Hose.
However, the Colonials managed three more touchdowns in the final quarter to seal their victory. Slusser picked up his fourth TD of the game and Corey Gartrell hit the end zone twice.
"At one point we outscored them 19-0 and that got us back in the game," Stoner said. "Our offense moved the ball and put points on the board when we came out and played with emotion. We couldn't get it together in the end but I'm real proud of them for the effort tonight."
Thurston said, "We were happy with how we came out in the second half. We have a lot of young kids up front, but Slusser fights for extra yards - he is a great player and a responsible kid."
On top of the defeat, the Rockets suffered another big loss during the game.
Brady Hornbaker, who plays both ways as a running back and a linebacker, injured his foot and is likely out for the season.
"That really hurt us," Stoner said. "He's a focal point for us on offense and defense."
Seth McCullough, a senior leader on defense, knows his team can do better than they did on Friday.
"We weren't consistent," he said. "We have to get back to the fundamentals, work on tackling and that kind of stuff. We've gotta play the best we can. At times we did that tonight, and at times we didn't."
New Oxford 56
James Buchanan 19
New Oxford 21 14 0 21 - 56
James Buchanan 0 13 6 0 - 19
NO - Nick Slusser 3 run (Trey Parrish kick), 8:56
NO - Slusser 55 pass from Anthony Lippy (Parrish kick), 5:19
NO - Wesley Beans 80 run (Parrish kick), 2:40
NO - John Wallace 6 run (Parrish kick), 11:54
NO - Slusser 18 run (Parrish kick), 5:52
JB - Zachary Todd 90 kickoff return (Blake Egolf kick), 5:47
JB - Shamar Pates 10 run (kick failed), 3:11
JB - Darian Hose 27 pass from Caleb Martin (run failed), 9:27
NO - Slusser 5 run (Parrish kick), 11:56
NO - Corey Gartrell 3 run (Parrish kick), 10:37
NO - Gartrell 2 run (Parrish kick), 6:34
First downs 18 16
Rushes-yds. 33-249 31-77
Passing yds. 129 169
Total offense 378 246
Passing 5-129-1 12-169-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-avg. 2-35 5-31.2
Penalties-yds. 8-60 11-85
RUSHING - NO, Beans 6-102, Slusser 14-85, Wallace 3-25, Gartrell 4-16, Aaron Zenneman 2-11, Lippy 3-8, Benson Sherman 1-2. JB, Pates 8-28, Hunter Izer 1-17, Cameron Fox 2-13, Martin 15-11, Brandon Hann 2-4, Robert Carbaugh 1-3, Casey Glunt 1-2, Hose 1-(-1).
PASSING - NO, Lippy 4-7-110-1, Jordan Gardner 1-1-19-0. JB, Martin 12-30-169-1.
RECEIVING - NO, Slusser 1-55, Aaron Brown 2-42, David Robinson 1-19 Marc O'Brien 1-13. JB, Zachary Todd 6-81, Hose 2-42, William West 2-28, Pates 2-18.
INTERCEPTIONS - Brown, Cameron Fox.