Reaching out: Spring Grove s Evan Himes, left, lunges to his right in an attempt to tackle Shippensburg s Tony Johnson on Friday night. Spring Grove won
Reaching out: Spring Grove s Evan Himes, left, lunges to his right in an attempt to tackle Shippensburg s Tony Johnson on Friday night. Spring Grove won the District 3-AAA playoff game, 24-0. (Public Opinion/Ryan Blackwell)
SHIPPENSBURG - Matt Runge had control of the air, while Jeff Delaughter took care of the groundwork.

Runge threw two touchdown passes, Delaughter ran for 133 yards, and Spring Grove dominated on defense as the tenth-ranked Rockets beat up No. 7 Shippensburg 24-0 Friday night in the opening round of the District 3 Class AAA football championships.

Spring Grove, which finished 1-9 a year ago, will face No. 2 West York, a 49-20 winner over Northeastern, in next week's quarterfinals.

"It's just unbelievable," second-year Rockets head coach Russ Stoner said. "These kids played their butts off tonight. This was the most complete game that we've played all year and it couldn't have come at a better time. That's an outstanding team we beat."

Spring Grove (8-3) had 209 yards rushing and 160 passing for 369 total yards, while holding the Greyhounds to 178 - only four on the ground. The Rockets also forced three turnovers and sacked junior quarterback Seth Frey six times.

Shippensburg head coach Eric Foust said, "That's a good football team over there and they did a lot of good things tonight. Their offensive and defensive lines were very quick and that caused a lot of problems for us."

Delaughter, a powerful 185-pound junior, scored Spring Grove's first touchdown on a tackle-breaking 14-yard run late in the first quarter. Runge, picking the Greyhounds' secondary apart, went 7-of-17 for 160 yards, with Austin Nee accounting for 94 of those yards.


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Nee's second reception, a 38-yard gain to the Shippensburg 16, set up his 9-yard touchdown catch that made it 14-0 with 7:05 left in the first half.

"I know it sounds cliché, but this turnaround is the result of a lot of hard work," said Runge, who added 47 rushing yards. "These guys all bought into the program on day one and now it's paying huge dividends."

The Rockets quickly snuffed out any chance Frey might lead an improbable comeback when Runge tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Logan Hagerman on Spring Grove's first possession of the second half.

Passing grade: Shippensburg s Seth Frey prepares to throw the ball against Spring Grove on Friday night. Frey broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season and
Passing grade: Shippensburg s Seth Frey prepares to throw the ball against Spring Grove on Friday night. Frey broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season and finished with 1,124 yards passing. Spring Grove won the District 3-AAA playoff game, 24-0. (Public Opinion/Ryan Blackwell)

Stoner said, "Matt is the straw that stirs the drink. Week in, week out, he does everything we ask, while giving us exactly what we need."

Andrew Luckenbaugh closed out the scoring with a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Frey, who went over 1,000 yards passing for the season, finished 13-of-26 for 174 yards, but was intercepted twice and fumbled the ball away on a sack.

"I was very proud of Seth," Foust said. 'He was getting hit on almost every play, but he continued to get back up. In fact, none of our kids gave up, they played hard right to the very end."

Britton Hastings and Storm Fridinger had a combined eight catches for 136 yards for the Greyhounds, but leading rusher William Burt was limited to just 20 yards on 11 carries.

Stoner said, "We watched lots of film, then we went out and changed our defensive scheme for tonight. I'm an old-school defensive guy - we needed to stop the run first and then apply pressure on the quarterback. I thought we did both very well."

Shippensburg (9-2) finishes the season saddled with its fourth playoff loss in the last five years.

Spring Grove 24

Shippensburg 0

Spring Grove 7 7 7 3 - 24

Shippensburg 0 0 0 0 - 0

First Quarter

SG - Jeff Delaughter 14 run (Andrew Luckenbaugh kick), 0:50

Second Quarter

SG - Austin Nee 9 pass from Matt Runge (Luckenbaugh kick), 7:05

Third Quarter

SG - Logan Hagerman 25 pass from Runge (Luckenbaugh kick), 5:42

Fourth Quarter

SG - Luckenbaugh 42 field goal, 7:50

TEAM STATISTICS

SG Ship

First downs 16 12

Rushes-yds. 46-209 31-4

Passing yds. 160 174

Total offense 369 178

Passing 7-17-1 13-26-2

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Punts-avg. 4-31.5 4-34.3

Penalties-yds. 13-99 4-57

Possession time 24:04 23:56

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING - SG, Delaughter 26-133, Runge 13-47, Hagerman 5-21, Nee 2-8. Ship, William Burt 11-20, Tony Johnson 6-19, Tyrell Kater 3-(-1), Seth Frey 11-(-34).

PASSING - SG, Runge 7-17-1-160. Ship, Frey 13-26-2-174.

RECEIVING - SG, Nee 5-94, Hagerman 2-66. Ship, Britton Hastings 5-82, Storm Fridinger 3-54, Kater 2-27, Johnson 2-2, Aaron Glass 1-9.

INTERCEPTIONS - SG, Austin Klunk, Brandon Tasker. Ship, Johnson.