From the onset of Friday night's District 3 Class 5A football quarterfinal, it was clear that Waynesboro was going to have an uphill battle.
On the Indians' very first drive against Governor Mifflin, they lost a total of three yards and were forced to punt. Although they forced and recovered a fumble on the Mustangs' first offensive drive, they couldn't capitalize.
Seven of Waynesboro's next eight drives ended in either a punt or an interception, and 'Boro suffered a 41-14 loss, ending its historic season. Governor Mifflin will host Harrisburg in the semifinals next week.
"If we could've gotten something early in the game to get some confidence," Waynesboro coach Steve Myers said, "if we could've popped something early, I think it would've been different. It took us awhile to get on the board and get some momentum."
Aside from a handful of big plays, the Indians (7-4) played a strong defensive game, but were simply outmatched by Governor Mifflin (10-1), particularly Isaac Ruoss.
Ruoss finished with 140 rushing yards, and had two touchdowns on the ground and another receiving. Mifflin's first TD of the day was a 50-yard score by Ruoss, which put him over 1,000 rushing yards for the season.
"Defensively, we played pretty well, but we haven't seen a smash-mouth kinda football team like that since Red Lion," Waynesboro senior Forrest Rhyne said. "Their offensive line came out and played a really good game. No. 4 (Ruoss) and their quarterback (Kam Wolfe) played an unbelievable game."
In the second half, the tide turned in Waynesboro's favor ever so slightly.
Anticipating Waynesboro's run-heavy offense, Governor Mifflin stacked the box, holding the Indians to a total of just 85 rushing yards. But Waynesboro did manage to move the ball through the air in the second half.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Indians finally put points on the board after a 26-yard pass from Brady Riddell to Aidan Campbell got them in the end zone for the first time all night. A few plays later, Rhyne bullied in an 8-yard touchdown.
On 'Boro's next possession, it was a hook-and-lateral from Riddell to Cameron Keck to Brady Beckner that got the team in striking distance. Riddell then tossed a 5-yard score to Mason Frampton just inside the end zone.
"In the second half, we pulled up our big boy pants a little bit and tried to pound the rock a little better," Rhyne said. "That started to open things up. If we could've played a little better on defense and (kept it close) til the fourth quarter, maybe something could've happened."
Myers said, "We talked at half, and told them to go out there and play with everything you've got. It was gut-check time. We didn't play real well in the first half, but we had two choices: we could play like that again and get smoked, or we could come out and fight our guts out. They did that."
Governor Mifflin 41, Waynesboro 14
Waynesboro _ 0 _ 0 _ 0 _ 14 _ — _ 14
Gov. Mifflin _ 7 _ 21 _ 0 _ 13 _ — _ 41
GM — Isaac Ruoss 50 run (Ben Myers kick), 5:07
GM — Ruoss 1 run (Myers kick), 10:29
GM — Ruoss 40 pass from Kam Wolfe (Myers kick), 8:11
GM — Aaron Grill 38 pass from Wolfe (Myers kick), 1:33
GM — Austin Baker 1 run (kick blocked), 11:09
Way — Forrest Rhyne 8 run (George Souders kick), 7:52
Way — Mason Frampton 5 pass from Brady Riddell (Souders kick), 4:16
GM — Ajay Sczepkowski 42 pass from Wolfe (Myers kick), 2:47
_ Way _ GM
First downs _ 12 _ 14
Rushes-yards _ 23-85 _ 47-244
Passing _ 10-29-4 _ 6-12-1
Passing yards _ 141 _ 148
Total yards _ 226 _ 392
Punts _ 7-35.9 _ 1-27
Fumbles-lost _ 0-0 _ 1-1
Penalties-yards _ 2-15 _ 8-65
Rushing — Way, Rhyne 7-43, Riddell 2-21, Brady Beckner 11-21, Frampton 3-0; GM, Ruoss 22-140, Baker 10-45, Sczepkowski 4-40, Grill 5-16, Wolfe 4-3.
Passing — Way, Riddell 10-28-141-3, Jimi Hoffman 0-1-0-0; GM, Wolfe 5-7-116-1, Baker 1-5-32-0.
Receiving — Way, Cameron Keck 4-40, Rhyne 2-13, Beckner 1-56, Aidan Campbell 1-26, Frampton 1-5, Jay Alvarez 1-1; GM, Grill 3-62, Ruoss 1-40, Bryce Stubler 1-32, Sczepkowski 1-14.