It's hard to tell what's going to happen when Shippensburg hosts Waynesboro in a Mid Penn Colonial Division football game Friday night.
Both teams have shown signs of greatness. Shippensburg is just coming off a 41-12 smacking of Mechanicsburg, and Waynesboro completely shut down Gettysvburg, 33-0, in Week 3.
But both teams have also shown some serious weakness. The same Shippensburg team that beat Class AAAA Chambersburg also was blown out by East Pennsboro, 50-7. The same Waynesboro team that put up a great fight against powerhouse Cedar Cliff also managed only one touchdown against Northern York a week ago.
Both teams enter with the same 3-2 (0-1 MPC) record, and this week may go a long way in deciding which team will emerge as superior in the league.
"Granted, we're playing a pretty good team, but a lot of the game this week will depend on which Shippensburg team shows up," Hounds coach Eric Foust said. "If the Ship vs. East Pennsboro team shows up, God help us. If the Ship against Mechanicsburg or Chambersburg team shows up, we should be pretty good. We need to make sure we show up to play."
Waynesboro coach Steve Myers said, "The inconsistencies? That's a good question. If I knew the answer, they wouldn't be happening. Something we've been talking about all week is putting a whole game together. Gettysburg was probably the most complete game we've played; otherwise, it's been kind of one way or the other in terms of our offense or our defense carrying us."
One thing the Indians have been consistently good at is defending the run. But Shippensburg can combat that this season. The Greyhounds have a strong quarterback in Tyler Gustafson. He has thrown for 933 yards this season, with his top two targets being Wade Mills (21 catches, 311 yards) and Cody Gustafson (27 catches, 457 yards).
"Tyler needs to play a good football game," Foust said. "We need to be able to exploit them on the corners. But, on the reverse side when Zion (Ware) is on, he's as good a running back as anyone in our conference. He's tough to tackle."
Ware leads Ship's ground game with 500 yards on 63 carries. Cole Friese also has 103 rushing yards, and Adam Houser has come on strong lately with 59 rushing yards and 86 receiving yards.
On the flip side, Waynesboro also has quite a diverse offense. Matt Peck has caught 19 balls totaling 324 yards, and Jake Wertz has gained 326 yards on the ground on 64 carries. Brady Beckner is a dual threat – he has rushed for 355 yards and also caught five passes.
"Brady was actually hurt all last year, but that was something we've always known he could do," Myers said.
One of the biggest questions of this game will be turnovers. Waynesboro has been picked off 13 times this season, while Shippensburg has lost 10 fumbles so far.
"We've been working on the turnovers all week," Myers said. "We need to be more precise in our routes, more precise in our throwing and more precise in our catching. We just gotta get better every week."
This would be a good week for both teams to do just that.
Game data: Waynesboro Indians at Shippensburg Greyhounds ... Friday, 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium ... Mid Penn Colonial Division game.
Teams: The Indians are 3-2 and lost their division opener against Northern, 13-7, in Week 5 ... Shippensburg (3-2, 0-1 MPC) is coming off a big win over Mechanicsburg, 41-12.
Media: Follow @liziarbogast and @LindseySquints for live updates from the game ... Webcast available at www.sesportsnet.com ... Radio – WIOO (1480 AM, 93.9 FM).
Series: Shippensburg leads the series 20-18 after defeating the Indians, 18-12 last season. The Hounds have won 5 straight and were the only team in the division to beat Waynesboro last season.
P.O. pick: Ship by 4.