GREENCASTLE >> Simply put: Northern York had its way with Greencastle-Antrim.
The Polar Bears played one of their best football games of the season, racking up 442 yards of offense. They had a pair of players with more than 100 rushing yards, quarterback Curtis Robison threw four touchdown passes and the defense forced three Blue Devil turnovers.
That recipe cooked up a 38-14 Mid Penn Colonial Division victory for Northern.
Greencastle coach Chuck Tinninis put it bluntly: "I think we got our butts kicked tonight."
Although the Bears (7-1, 4-0 MPC) played much better than Greencastle in the first half, the Blue Devils (6-2, 2-2 MPC) trailed by only a touchdown at the break. But all that quickly changed.
"When we came out scored first in the third quarter, that really convinced everyone that we could keep going," Northern coach Greg Bowman said. "To go into halftime up for once was nice, and we felt like we were the better team in the first half. All we had to do was continue to do what we had done, and it worked."
Greencastle opened the third quarter with what looked to be a promising drive. A 25-yard pass from quarterback Spencer Meyers to Demetrius Burton got the Blue Devils deep into enemy territory, but on the very next play, Robison grabbed a fine one-handed interception at his own 3-yard line.
"That was a pitch and go on the outside corner," Robison said. "We were in the Cover Two, so I didn't have anyone else to worry about on the outside. (Andrew Swaisgood) got a good jam on the wide receiver on the line of scrimmage, so that gave me time to get over and grab the interception."
That set up Robison for some magic on the offensive side. After being backed up two yards on a tackle for a loss by Greencastle's Brae Peck, Robison found Swaisgood on the left sideline near the Bear 18. Swaisgood twisted around a defender and took off for the races, finishing in the end zone for a 99-yard touchdown.
"We challenged them to throw the ball, and they threw it well," Tinninis said. "Our kids got caught flat-footed a couple of times."
Although Greencastle immediately answered with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Kyrin Zimmerman, the Polar Bears added two more touchdowns by the end of the third quarter – both on plays directly following fumble recoveries by Owen Blaschak.
Robison had a wonderful game. In addition to his interception and his four TD passes, Robison also racked up 116 yards on a mere 12 carries.
"We saw some things that they did defensively that we thought would help us in the run game and the passing game, if we did things properly," Bowman said. "It was very nice to have some success passing the ball because we have been a primarily run-first team. We were clicking on all cylinders, so it's nice to run and throw for once."
Robison said, "They had man-free coverage, so it was man across the board with just one free safety. All I really had to do was look off the safety and read the corners to see who was open. That's really how I read the defense."
Running back Bobby Shelly paced the Polar Bears with 137 yards. Northern did an excellent job of taking advantage of long plays and breaking tackles when possible. The Bears finished with nine plays of 17 yards or more, and averaged 9.14 yards per carry.
"They took it to us tonight," Tinninis said. "They controlled both sides of the ball. We were playing with an eight-man front, and they just took it to us. I was bringing people up, and they were still moving the ball. (Their quarterback) was a runner, and he was accurate tonight. He had a really good game, so we just have to put this one behind us."
Northern 38, Greencastle 14
Nor — Andrew Swaisgood 21 pass from Curtis Robison (Aidan Alves kick), 11:08
GA — Brae Peck 2 pass from Spencer Meyers (Austyn Smith kick), 1:42
Nor — Jake Cromer 4 pass from Robison (Alves kick), 0:03
Nor — Swaisgood 99 pass from Robison (Alves kick), 7:54
GA — Kyrin Zimmerman 92 kickoff return (Smith kick), 7:41
Nor — Michael Kearney 5 run (Alves kick), 3:21
Nor — Joey Razzano 30 pass from Robison (Alves kick), 2:05
Nor — Alves 35 field goal, 3:05
Rushing — Nor, Bobby Shelly 17-137, Robison 12-116, Kearney 13-31. GA, Demetrius Burton 10-39, James Hines 9-26, Derek Measell 3-8, Bailey Parker 1-3, Zimmerman 2-1, Meyers 9-(-5).
Passing — Nor, Robison 6-11-158-0, Justin Markle 0-1-0-0. GA, Meyers 12-19-132-1.
Receiving — Nor, Razzano 3-34, Swaisgood 2-120, Cromer 1-4. GA, Burton 4-33, Tyler Jeffreys 2-61, Zimmerman 2-15, Measell 2-6, Christian Gleichman 1-15, Peck 1-2.