Highlights from Spring Grove and William Penn.
The Spring Grove offense struggled to move the ball for much of the game, but it did more than enough to win a defensive slugfest on a wet Saturday at Small Athletic Field.
The Rockets defense held William Penn to 126 total yards and forced three turnovers in a 23-7 win. The Bearcats' only score of the game came on a interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter.
All game long, Spring Grove defenders snuffed out misdirection plays developing in the William Penn backfield, making tackles to push the Bearcats backwards. The defensive backfield didn't allow a pass play of more than 14 yards, and junior Connor Reed came up with two interceptions.
“We just had a great week of practice," Spring Grove coach Kyle Sprenkle said. "We challenged the guys on Monday watching film that we have to work together collectively as a defense, swarming to the football. They were hungry for the football again; our defense has been really good this year.”
Reed's second interception set the Rockets up at the William Penn 10-yard line, where quarterback Jake Messersmith threw a touchdown pass to Brady Stein to salt the game away.
The Rockets are now 4-2 on the season, and 2-1 in YAIAA Division I play. That division record puts them into a four-way tie behind Red Lion for second place in the division with Central York, Dallastown and South Western. Spring Grove hosts Central York next week, while Dallastown hosts South Western.
“Every week there are surprises. We’re right there with everybody else (behind Red Lion),” Sprenkle said. “We’re gonna take it one step at a time. I like that we’re still in contention.”
The Bearcats' loss drops them to 0-6 on the season, but all three of their divisional losses came by closer scores than last year's deficits against the same teams. They host Northeastern next week.
“When I got hired, I said, ‘Every time we lose, it’s my fault.’ I’m gonna stick by that," William Penn coach Russ Stoner said. "Until we learn how to execute, until we learn how to be football players 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we’re gonna continue to struggle. But I’m not giving up on them, and I don’t think they’re gonna give up either.”
SG -- Jake Messersmith 1 run (Drew Gordon kick), 2:42.
SG -- Gordon 25 field goal, 3:11
SG -- Trent Baker 4 run (kick blocked), 0:24.
WP -- Jalen Bryant 30 interception return (Brandon Vargas kick), 3:01.
SG -- Brady Stein 10 pass from Messersmith (Gordon kick), 8:20.
Rushing — SG, Ryan Daugherty 16-81, Jake Messersmith 4-(-4), Branden Brandt 3-13, Anthony Beddia 4-13, Trent Baker 5-21, David Tagliari 1-0. WP, Marcus Dorsey 2-12, Khalid Dorsey 7-37, Tallian Lehr 7-7, Dayjure Stewart 3-4.
Passing — SG, Messersmith 9-21-128-2. WP, Lehr 22-33-66-2.
Receiving — SG, Brandt 2-16, Beddia 2-15, Connor Reed 2-40, Daugherty 2-47, Stein 1-10. WP, Nigel Williams 1-5, Stewart 14-51, Anthony Jamison 3-18, M. Dorsey 4-(-8).