For the first time since the opening game of the season, Dallastown allowed its opponent to score.
Spring Grove quarterback Jake Messersmith hit Connor Reed on a 13-yard touchdown pass that tied the score in the second quarter of Friday night's YAIAA Division I opener.
However, that deadlock lasted only 15 seconds.
Wildcats senior Jake Jansen took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for the go-ahead score. And just as it has all season, Dallastown's defense did the rest in a 20-10 victory.
"It was great blocking. I only had to make one guy miss," Jansen said. "They are a good team. We knew they were going to come out hard."
"He's been working very hard not to go where people are," Wildcats coach Kevin Myers said of Jansen. "It's starting to click for him. You see it in his receiving. For him, it's a lot of hard work paying off."
Jansen made 10 catches for 139 yards. Seven of those receptions gave Dallastown first downs.
The Rockets nearly took the lead on the first play from scrimmage. Jansen dove to intercept a Messersmith pass, but the ball popped from his hands into the arms of Spring Grove's Anthony Beddia.
Beddia caught the ball at the Wildcats' 41-yard-line and sprinted into the end zone, but an inadvertent whistle stopped play at the 41. Three plays, later the Rockets were forced to punt.
Myers said his team caught a break on that play.
"What a funny play," he said. "It is what it is, it could've went either way. It was weird bounces tonight."
After Rockets punter Andrew Luckenbaugh pinned the Wildcats (4-0, 1-0) on their own 1, Dallastown responded with a 10-play, 99-yard drive that was capped by quarterback Cade Gold's 2-yard run. Gold, who was 15-of-22 passing, connected with Jansen four times for 65 yards on that drive.
"He works his butt off," Gold said of his favorite target. "We worked hard after practice and it really shows on the field."
Spring Grove (1-3, 0-1) was limited to 24 yards rushing on the night, but the Rockets' defense played tough, forcing a pair of turnovers and bottling up the Wildcats ground game. Owen Jacobs recovered a fumble at the Dallastown 27, and four plays later, Spring Grove tied it.
The teams traded field goals to end the half, with Drake Pew connecting for Dallastown and Luckenbaugh hitting for Spring Grove.
Brady Stein's 41-yard catch-and-run had the Rockets on the move late in the third quarter, but two plays into the fourth, Jacob Garrity picked off a pass to end that threat.
"It's just effort. The whole team, we bust each other in practice," Garrity said of Dallastown's defense, which has allowed only 24 points in four games. "We all get after it. It's not like its one person carrying this defense."
Pew added a field goal with less than three minutes remaining, and two plays later, a pass from Messersmith (10-of-17) hit a Dallastown player's knee and bounced into Jordan Burns' arms for the clinching interception.
"I thought we played very well again. I am pleased with what we had," Myers said. "This was a very scary team. I don't care what the points say, they played Cumberland Valley very tough. They played York Suburban very tough. They are a solid football team, it's just a play here and a play there."
Dt — Cade Gold 2 run, (Drake Pew kick), 5:32.
SG — Connor Reed 13 pass from Jake Messersmith, (Andrew Luckenbaugh kick), 10:40.
Dt — Jake Jansen 94 kickoff return (Pew kick), 10:25.
Dt — Pew 32 FG, 3:17..
SG — Luckenbaugh 28 FG, :01.
Dt — Pew 22 FG, 2:48..
SGDtFirst Downs1014Rushes-yards25-2430-98Passing10-18-215-22-1Passing yards150185Total yards174283Punts6-33.63-28.6Fumbles-lost1-03-1Penalty yards8-6011-81
Rushing — SG, Nick Erickson 14-37, LJ Chisolm 2-2, Ryan Daugherty 3-0, Messersmith 6-(-15). Dt, Zion Devance 7-33, Dillon Callahan 5-28, Gold 14-22, Jack Marks 4-15.
Passing — SG, Messersmith 10-17-150-2, Erickson 0-1-0-0. Dt, Gold 15-22-185-1.
Receiving — SG, Erickson 3-24, Brady Stein 2-46, Anthony Beddia 2-31, Daugherty 1-31, Reed 1-13, Seth Shively 1-5. Dt, Jansen 10-139, Connor Moore 2-22, Jawaun McMillian 1-16, Edgar Centeno 1-7, Marks 1-1.