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The Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils fell to the East Pennsboro Panthers on Friday night in a back-and-forth non-league football contest, 28-16.

The game was primarily fought on the ground as the teams attempted only 20 passes combined while rushing the ball 80 times between them.

For most of the first half, the Greencastle defense bottled up the East Pennsboro offense, allowing only seven points, and took a three-point lead when Ian Gelsinger booted a 41-yard field goal as the first half ended.

However as the game went on, the line and secondary began to allow big rushes to the East Penn backs, including an 81-yard gallop by Noah Alejandro in the third period. Early in the fourth, Tyler Mason took a pass from Payton Morris 71 yards to the end zone, and Onasis Neely later scored on a 48-yard run.

"When you play it back, those couple of touchdown runs that they had, we had a ton of missed tackles," Blue Devil coach Chuck Tinninis said. "That was a big difference in the game - we missed some tackles and they didn't."

Leading the way for the Panthers (3-0) was Neely, who racked up 163 rushing yards and one touchdown on 26 attempts. His counterpart in the backfield, Alejandro, was explosive and scored his long touchdown on a jet sweep, turning the momentum in the Panther's favor.

For Greencastle (0-3), Demetrius Burton led the team with 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground while also catching a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cade McDowell.

"Demetrius played great; he's the spark for us and he's back," Tinninis said, "He's just a stud and it's great to see him back playing at the level he's capable of."

The Blue Devils produced only 39 yards through the air and were reliant on the running game to move the chains - McDowell had 13 rushing attempts compared to only 12 passes, many of which came on the final drive of the game in a last-ditch effort to score.

"We're a running team with a little bit of the play-action pass," Tinninis said, "That's just what we do. I'm just proud of the kids; they just keep playing and playing and they just want to get better."

The Blue Devils may have lost, but looked much better than they had in their previous two games, both losses in which they scored only three points total.

Tinninis said, "We had a great week of practice, and really what I want to see from this team is them getting better and better each week. And we got a heck of a lot better tonight and showed a lot of progress. Now we just need to learn how to finish games."

East Pennsboro 28, Greencastle 16

East Pennsboro _ 7 _ 0 _ 7 _ 14 _ — _ 28

Greencastle _ 0 _ 10 _ 0 _ 6 _ — _ 16

First Quarter

P — Noah Alejandro 19 run (Noah Wilk kick), 4:20

Second Quarter

G — Demetrius Burton 23 pass from Cade McDowell (Ian Gelsinger kick), 6:04

G — Gelsinger 41 field goal, 0:00

Third Quarter

P — Alejandro 81 run (Owen Mostoller kick), 2:57

Fourth Quarter

P — Tyler Mason 71 pass from Payton Morris (Wilk kick), 10:05

G —  Burton 2 run (Gelsinger kick), 7:47

P —  Onasis Neely 48 run (Mostoller kick), 4:41.

Team Statistics

               _ EP _ G-A

First downs _ 12 _ 17

Rushes-yards _ 31-265 _ 49-289

Passing _ 3-8-0 _ 3-12-0

Passing yards _ 114 _ 39

Total yards _ 379 _ 328

Punts _ 4-34 _ 6-27

Fumbles-lost _ 2-1 _ 0-0

Penalties-yards _ 2-20 _ 3-15

Individual Statistics

Rushing — EP: Onasis Neely 26-163-1, Noah Alejandro 3-98-2, Aditya Narayan 1-4, Payton Morris 1-0. GA: Demetrius Burton 16-103-1, Cade McDowell 13-69, Caleb Schaeffer 11-39, Kyrin Zimmerman 4-37, Tanner Bain 4-34, Hayden Rhoe 1-7.

Passing — EP: Morris 3-8-114-1. GA: McDowell 3-12-39-1.

Receiving — EP: Mason 2-109-1, Nicholas Nugent 1-5. GA: Burton 2-25-1, Zimmerman 1-14.

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