For Public Opinion
MERCERSBURG - A 19-point defeat at the hands of Shippensburg in Week 7 dropped Greencastle-Antrim to 2-5, in danger of posting it's first losing season since 2003.
At that point, Blue Devil football head coach Chuck Tinninis gathered the troops, and they made it their goal to win their final three contests of the season and finish with a .500 season.
Monday night, G-A completed that goal when they defeated James Buchanan, 62-7, in the finale for both squads, in Mid Penn Colonial Division football action at Rocket Stadium.
"It was the team goal to get there when we fell to 2-5, and we did it," Tinninis said. "They're a hard-working group of kids. They faced some adversity but never let their heads drop."
After forcing the Rockets to punt on their first possession, Greencastle took over at its own 45 and quickly moved upfield. Hunter Szaflarski capped the five-play drive with a 34-yard scoring run off a counter criss-cross play.
That particular play was very productive for the Blue Devils as they ran it to Szarflarski four times on Monday, and he scored on all four of those attempts. The senior closed out his career with a five-carry game for 123 yards and four touchdowns.
Greencastle (5-5, 4-3 MPC) forced the Rockets to punt on each of their next two possessions, but the Rockets also stood tall defensively with a turnover on downs and a forced punt.
Then Szaflarski struck again with an 18-yard dash to paydirt to cap a 62-yard scoring drive 7:41 to until the half.
JB (0-10, 0-7) cut the deficit in half when the Blue Devils tried a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff, only to have Darian Hose pick it up on one bounce and take it 60 yards for a score.
The momentum was short-lived for the Rockets, though. They tried an onside kick and were unsuccessful in their attempt to recover it.
Greencastle took advantage of the short field and scored three more times before the half.
Ashtin Byers scored on a 28-yard run with 5:54 to go until the half, Szflarski added his third touchdown - a 38-yard run with 2:25 remaining - and Josh Young scored on a 28-yard run as the first half expired to put the visitors in front, 34-7.
"We had them on the ropes a little. They were a little out of sync on offense, and we had a nice kickoff return by Darian Hose," JB head coach Andy Stoner said. "We used our onside kick that we've been using all year and didn't get it. It kind of went downhill from there."
Szaflarski upped the lead to 41-7 with a 33-yard scoring run with 8:49 left in the third quarter, and Kareem Aiken activated the mercy rule when he scored on a 20-yard run with 6:45 left.
Matt Montedoro's 39-yard touchdown gallop and Matt Oberholzer's 19-yard touchdown run put the finishing touches on the scoring as the Blue Devils piled up 438 yards rushing on 42 carries and finished with 467 total yards and 23 first downs, while allowing just 60 total yards and five first downs.
The loss was JB's 18th straight, but Stoner sees some positives for the team as he finishes up his first year at the helm.
"I've seen progress this year," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do, and that starts in the offseason, but we've improved since the start of the year."
James Buchanan 7
Greencastle-Antrim 7 21 21 7 - 62
James Buchanan 0 7 0 0 - 7
G-A - Hunter Szaflarski 34 run (Luke Bitner kick), 9:10
G-A - Szaflarski 18 run (Bitner kick), 7:41
JB - Darian Hose 60 kickoff return (Shamar Pates kick), 7:32
G-A - Ashtin Byers 28 run (Bitner kick), 5:54
G-A - Szaflarski 38 run (Bitner kick), 2:25
G-A - Josh Young 28 run (kick failed), 0:00
G-A - Szaflarski 33 run (Bitner kick), 8:49
G-A - Kareem Aiken 20 run (Bitner kick), 6:45
G-A - Matt Montedoro 39 run (Bitner kick), 0:43
G-A - Matt Oberholzer 19 run (Bitner kick), 4:57
First downs 23 5
Rushes-yds. 42-438 27-31
Passing yds. 29 29
Total offense 467 60
Passing 3-9-0 3-11-1
Fumbles-lost 3-0 2-2
Punts-avg. 1-29.0 5-31.8
Penalties-yds. 3-35 4-30
RUSHING - G-A, Szaflarski 5-123, Young 8-99, Montedoro 6-64, Aiken 8-48, Oberholzer 3-33, Byers 2-30, Austin Scott 7-28, Jensen Stoner 3-13. JB, Seth Carbaugh 4-14, Brandon Hann 6-10, Cameron Fox 4-10, Hunter Brown 3-8, Deaveane Burt 2-7, Pates 2-2, Ethan Barber 1-(-2), Team 1-(-5), Caleb Martin 4-(-13).
PASSING - G-A, Scott 3-9-0-29. JB, Martin 3-11-1-29.
RECEIVING - G-A, Joel Zola 2-11, Cody Kriner 1-18. JB, Hose 1-13, Brown 1-9, Hann 1-7.