After only having 24 hours to prepare, Spring Grove sophomore quarterback Nick Shaqfeh rose to the occasion Friday, leading the Rockets to a 42-9 victory against Hershey at Papermakers Stadium.
“We knew early in the week that (Jake) Messersmith was banged up, it was a day-by-day process,” Rockets head coach Kyle Sprenkle said. “Nick stepped up for us and is a heck of a sophomore quarterback.”
Shaqfeh turned to his teammates for support, primarily from Messersmith, a senior.
“Jake was helping me all game, giving me advice on what to look for (on certain plays)," Shaqfeh said. “I couldn’t have done it without him and the rest of the team.”
Messersmith’s advice to Shaqfeh worked out well for the Rockets as their victory was highlighted by big plays and aggressive defense.
The sophomore quarterback completed five passes during the game, three of which were for touchdowns. Connor Reed accounted for two of them, while Brady Stein caught the third.
“We worked really hard this week,” Reed said. “The key was to get Nick ready for the game, and we did that.”
The Rockets were just as potent on the ground. Anthony Beddia and Ryan Daugherty constantly wore down the Trojans’ defense. Beddia scored Spring Grove’s only rushing touchdown with a 44-yard burst right through the trenches.
“The line did a great job tonight,” Beddia said. “We knew we’d be playing guys on both sides of the ball, and it got to a point where we were just pushing them back.”
Spring Grove got help on the defensive side of the ball, forcing three interceptions and recovering two fumbles.
The most important turnover came just 18 seconds after the Rockets scored their second touchdown. Hershey starter Ryan Nerino dropped back to pass, looking for the arrow pattern. The ball was bobbled in the air, and linebacker Eric Glass Jr. came up with it, returning it 30 yards the opposite direction for a touchdown.
“That play really hyped up the team,” Daugherty said. “It was a big game changer, which gave us all the momentum.”
Hershey_ 0_ 3_ 6_ 0_ — _ 9
Spring Grove_ 0_ 21_ 14_ 7_ — _ 42
SG – Brady Stein 26 pass from Nick Shaqfeh (Drew Gordon kick), 10:35
Her – Christian Corado 26 kick, 3:20
SG – Connor Reed 78 pass from Nick Shaqfeh (Drew Gordon kick), 2:22
SG – Eric Glass Jr. 30 INT return (Drew Gordon kick), 2:04
Her – Jack Shea 68 run, 11:40
SG – Anthony Beddia 44 run (Drew Gordon kick), 10:05
SG – Connor Reed 30 pass from Nick Shaqfeh (Drew Gordon kick), 3:45
SG – Anthony Beddia 36 pass from David Tagliari (Drew Gordon kick), 7:25
_ Her _ SG
First downs _ 11_ 11
Rushes-yards _ 34-102_ 32-166
Passing _ 8-19-3_ 6-12-0
Passing yards _ 130_ 202
Total yards _ 232_ 368
Punts _ 5-32.4_ 5-37.8
Fumbles-lost _ 4-2_ 2-0
Penalties-yards _ 7-45_ 7-55
Rushing: Her – Shea 15-75, J. Melton 6-15, J. Allegrini 3-4, J. Brittain 3-1, Z. Hynes 1-8, R. Marino 3-5. SG – Beddia 7-57, Daugherty 13-60, B. Brandt 6-20, N. Shaqfeh 3-17, D. Tagliari 1-8, Jake Messersmith 1-3, Johnson 1-3.
Passing: Her – R. Nerino 8-18-3, Z. Hynes 0-1. SG – N. Shaqfeh 5-11 166 yds, D. Tagliari 1-1 36 yds
Receiving: Her – D. Painter 3-61, J. Brittain 1-40, J. Shea 2-10, G. Santangelo 1-9, D. Loyd 1-9 SG – C. Reed 2-108, A. Beddia 2-66, B. Stein 1-26, Clay Baker 1-2.