William Penn limps into District playoffs
Standing outstide his team's locker room Friday night, William Penn coach Tim Hibbs called the last four weeks "probably the toughest month I've ever had in coaching."
Look at the numbers, and it's easy to see why.
Four games. Four losses. Fourteen total points.
Those stats are all the more surprising when you consider how stellar the Bearcats began the season. William Penn started a torrid 6-0, scoring at least 27 points in each of those contests.
But a combination of injuries and erratic play have derailed a once-promising William Penn season, and nearly denied Hibbs' team a spot in the District 3 playoffs.
Instead, the No. 15 seed Bearcats will stagger into a first-round contest at No. 2 Wilson (9-1) on Friday.
"We just haven't been in sync since Dallastown," Hibbs said. "It's been tough offensively."
How tough has it been? Tough enough that senior Roger Eaton, who spent most of the year as William Penn's center, has been moved to quarterback.
Junior Kelvin Parker, the Bearcats' spark plug during that 6-0 start, injured his shoulder during William Penn's first loss of the season, a 16-7 defeat Week 7 to Dallastown. He hasn't played since, and Hibbs said Friday Parker is out for the rest of the season.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Eaton possesses a big arm and some experience, having played quarterback for Northeastern during that program's inaugural season. But not surprisingly, he's shown some rust in his two starts. He completed 7-of-26 passes for 118 yards during William Penn's 28-7 loss to Division I co-champions Central York Friday night.
He did throw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Jevaughn Murphy in the third quarter, breaking the Bearcats' 147-minute, 21-second scoring drought that stretched back to its loss at Dallastown.
"He's getting better," Hibbs said of Eaton. "When we moved him, he's also our best lineman, so that kills us up front. To go from center to quarterback, that's not the easiest adjustment in the world. He's been a quarterback in the past but he's been all focused on up front and that's a tough adjustment to make. I respect for even agreeing to do it."
There have been other injuries as well. Playmakers Jordan Zackery and Maurice Williams have missed time. Williams, a dangerous tailback with speed and strength, only played parts of the Bearcats' loss Friday after injuring his leg.
"That's just all part of it, unfortunately," Hibbs said of the injuries. "Maurice is a great kid. He's a big part of our offense, and hopefully he's OK."
On the surface, a 6-4 season looks solid, considering many wondered before the year how on earth the Bearcats would replace 17 graduated starters from a season before. That group included dynamic talents like Malik Generett and Jordan Davis.
But after such a sparkling start, 6-4 all of a sudden looks a bit dull.
"Hopefully people look at the complete picture," Hibbs said.
Speaking of injuries: Central York had a few of their own Friday. And it wasn't just tailback Charles Anderson (ankle) that missed significant time.
Several members of Central's defense, including defensive back James Culp (ankle), missed parts of the contest.
"Except for probably two or three guys, we played most of the second half with our second team defense," Central coach Brad Livingston said.
As for Anderson, Livingston said the senior has been dinged up for several weeks. Still, he expects Anderson to be available for Saturday's first-round playoff clash against Dallastown.
"If we really needed Charles absolutely, positively to play, he probably could have," Livingston said.