Watch: Spring Grove football remained unbeaten with a 35-0 victory at Mechanicsburg Friday, Sept. 9. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
MECHANICSBURG — When it mattered most, Spring Grove overwhelmed Mechanicsburg.
The Rockets had more talent.
More brute strength.
Spring Grove might have taken its time proving it to every one at John H. Frederick field at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Park, but the Rockets finally put their inconsistent first-half play behind them in the third quarter and ran away with a 35-0 victory Friday.
Mechanicsburg fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half. And Ryan Daugherty cleaned up on the second play from scrimmage. He rushed for a 34-yard score to put the Rockets up by three scores. Daugherty jumped into one teammate in the end zone, and on the sidelines he leaped into head coach Kyle Sprenkle to celebrate.
Although sloppy at times, Spring Grove remained unbeaten. The Wildcats (0-2), meanwhile, ran their losing streak to 12 games. Mechanicsburg has not won a game since 2014.
Daugherty rushed for 147 yards on 13 carries, scoring a pair of touchdowns. He knew it would be a big game for the Rockets from the opening minutes, when Spring Grove used a 10-play drive to take the lead, 7-0.
"Right off the bat, the first series, all we did was run," Daugherty said. "I give all the thanks to the linemen, they gave me the holes. I just ran through them. It made my job easy."
The offensive linemen weren't the only stars.
Defensive lineman Nate Young busted through the middle of the Mechanicsburg line in the second quarter, reaching the quarterback before the Wildcats' running back could take a handoff. Thjumpat rude greeting resulted in a fumble recovery for Young.
On Mechanicsburg's next offensive series, Young powered through the Wildcats offensive line to land a hellacious sack — momentarily knocking Mechanicsburg quarterback Justin Stine out of the game. Young added another sack in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
"Explosiveness is what we preach on the D line," Young said. "If you can beat the man in front of you, you're going to get to the quarterback."
But there was more, like Connor Reed pulling in Spring Grove's first completion late in the second quarter for a 28-yard gain to set up Daugherty's first score. Or the circus catch Reed made in mid-air, his body horizontal to the turf, for a 35-yard gain in the second half.
"I think the first half we made a lot of mental mistakes … we regrouped at halftime," Sprenkle said.
SPRING GROVE 35, MECHANICSBURG 0
SG – Nick Shaqfeh 1 run (Drew Gordon kick), 7:28
SG – Ryan Daugherty 20 run (Gordon kick), 1:25
SG – Daugherty 34 run (Gordon kick), 11:05
SG – Shaqfeh 8 run (Gordon kick), 8:29
SG – Braden Brandt 17 run (Gordon kick), 11:12
Rushing — SG, Daugherty 13-147, Shaqfeh 4-7, Anthony Beddia 6-38, Braden Brandt 10-42, David Tagliari 4-20, Clay Baker 1-(-1), Eric Glass 7-18, Chance Jackson 1-0. Mech, Zachary Huth 9-52, Christopher Torres 2-0, David Butler 1-2, Justin Stine 3-(-18), Team 1-(-8), Dylan Smith 3-(-10).
Passing — SG, Shaqfeh 3-10. Mech, Dylan Smith 4-6, Justin Stine 5-17-2.
Receiving — SG, Connor Reed 3-78. Mech, Jermaine Hull 7-74, Huth 1-0, James Shryock 1-1.