Shippensburg will look for redemption vs. Northern York, Friday in the first round of playoffs. Video by Lindsey Smith
We all know about Cameron Tinner, the Shippensburg senior who is one of the top linebackers in Franklin County.
But what about Dylan Jumper, Eddie Ocker and Ian King? How about Colby Holtry and Cody Yohe?
These guys might not look like the pure football player that the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Tinner does. But they make up the linebacking crew that has propelled Shippensburg to a 9.9 points against average, a pair of shutouts and a home playoff berth on Friday night.
"They're great; they come out here and work hard," Shippensburg coach Eric Foust said. "They're not superstars; they're just kids that came up through the system. When you look at some of them, they don't look like linebackers, but they're Shippensburg kids. They're true, blue-collar kids, and they're a lot of fun."
What's most successful about this small but fierce group of linebackers is their ability to complement one another. Tinner and King (5-11, 163) are both nearing 100 tackles on the season; Holtry (6-1, 154) is one of the leaders in sacks in the entire Mid Penn Conference; and Dylan Jumper (5-10, 163), for instance, had the key interception to ice a victory over Waynesboro.
"I feel like our rush defense has been really good, which is causing teams to pass more," Yohe said. "We know what they're going to do now, so I think we've been able to stop the main thing teams want to do."
Tinner said, "I feel like my strength is my awareness around the field and knowing the situation, and all those guys have a really good skill at reacting and just doing. One of my strengths is helping them get in the right situations, which is allowing them to do what they need to do."
And although Tinner sometimes overshadows the strength of the rest of his linebackers, they're OK taking a backseat.
"We're all good friends here, and we all look up to Cameron Tinner because he started his sophomore year," Holtry said. "It's not too bad (getting less attention). He's a good player, and he's one of our good friends."
Jumper said, "He's just someone to look up to and a person to help us. He leads the linebacker group and makes us better."
With a senior-laden linebacking crew, Shippensburg is going to have to say goodbye to five of these six. Ocker (5-10, 165) is the lone junior of the bunch and will have the legacy left in his hands.
"This (playoff game vs. Northern York) is really serious to us because it's something we've worked really hard for," Ocker said. "We just never want this season to end. I'm definitely going to miss playing with these guys, and it's going to be hard to come back without them."
At least one more Friday night is a guarantee.