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Twice in the first half, Spring Grove had the ball deep in Manheim Central territory, only to come up short against the perennial power Barons.

Such was how Friday night went for the Rockets when they opened the District 3 Class AAA playoffs.

It’s hard to say if converting on those drives would have made a difference in the long run. But one thing was obvious: Manheim Central looks poised to make a run at another district title.

The third-seeded Barons piled up 342 yards on the ground and won going away, 51-3, ending Spring Grove’s season.

Manheim Central improved to 9-2 and will face East Pennsboro next week after the Panthers dispatched Middletown on Friday.

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The Barons scored early and often against the Rockets on Friday, November 13, 2015. John Buffone

Rockets coach Kyle Sprenkle saw his first season at the helm close with a 5-6 record. His message to his team — particularly the seniors he gathered with after the game — was, “Keep your heads up.”

“Our kids fought really hard this entire season. We are proud of the effort they gave us,” he said. “I just told the seniors they made it a heck of a lot easier on me being a first-year head coach. The talent they have, the effort they put forth and the leadership they gave to this team, I can’t thank them enough.”

Damon Camacho led the Barons rushing attack with 133 yards on 18 carries, and quarterback Kody Kegarise added 106 yards on eight rushing attempts. Camacho had four touchdown runs and Kegarise had two, one from 55 and the other from 40 yards.

“We wanted to get Damon involved in the game early,” Manheim Central coach Dave Hahn said. “We didn’t get him as involved as we wanted to last week. We were making a point get him the ball early and I think we did a good job with that.”

Camacho’s 20-yard touchdown gave the Barons a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Spring Grove responded by driving from its own 15-yard line to the Manheim Central 11, but the Rockets couldn’t score in four tries.

Still, the Rockets recovered a fumble on the ensuing play at the Barons’ 21. That drive, though, ended with an interception in the end zone.

Manheim Central marched 80 yards on five plays to open the second half, taking a 31-0 lead on Kegarise’s 40-yard dash.

“We had our opportunities tonight,” Sprenkle said. “We put ourselves in some good positions, but we didn’t execute enough to finish the drives. Who knows, if we get those two drives, it could give us a little momentum.”

Being able to play a district game gives Sprenkle and the Rockets something to build on.

“That’s a heck of a team and that’s something I told the underclassmen we have to strive to be,” the coach said of Manheim Central. “I want Spring Grove football to be a consistent district contender. Now the next goal for us is to secure a win in districts and go from there.”

For Manheim Central, it’s more of the same.

“It’s my first year as a head coach, but I’ve been here 20 years,” Hahn said. “I am following the same game plan, do what we do and it’s been successful. If it’s not broke, why fix it?”

Late in the third quarter, Andrew Luckenbaugh put Spring Grove on the board with his 44-yard field goal.

Spring Grove_0_0_3_0_—_3 

Manheim Central_17_7_7_20_—_51 


First Quarter

MC – Derek Adams 43 FG, 8:42.

MC – Damon Camacho 2 run (Adams kick), 3:36.

MC – Kody Kegarise 55 run (Adams kick), 1:13.

Second Quarter

MC – Camacho 20 run (Adams kick), 8:09.

Third Quarter

MC – Kegarise 40 run (Adams kick), 10:10.

SG – Andrew Luckenbaugh 44 FG. 3:44.

Fourth Quarter

MC – Camacho 9 run (kick failed), 9:54.

MC – Camacho 3 run (Adams kick), 8:39.

MC – Drew Eshleman 27 interception return (Adams kick), 7:31.

 _._SG_ MC

First downs_15_17

Rushes-Yards_28-60_37-342

Passing_18-41-4_6-8-1

Passing Yards_169_97

Total Yards_229_439

Punts_5-28.2_0-0

Fumbles-Lost_1-0_4-2

Penalties-Yards_7-78_6-41

Rushing — SG, Nick Erickson 22-63, Jake Messersmith 4-2, Ryan Daugherty 1-1, LJ Chisolm 1-(-6). MC, Camacho 18-133, Kegarise 8-106, Jay Barreto 3-69, Trevor Hosler 4-19, Dante Himmelright 3-15, Alex Studenroth 1-0.

Passing — SG, Messersmith 18-41-169-4. MC, Kegarise 6-8-97-1.

Receiving — SG, Daugherty 6-46, Connor Reed 4-35, Chisolm 3-49, Erickson 2-3, Adam Warehime 1-25, Brady Stein 1-8, Anthony Beddia 1-3.. MC, Jake Novak 3-48, Sam Martin 2-44, Gavin Guyer 1-5.

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