The Delone Catholic High 2012 football season ended in heartbreaking fashion, a fumble in double overtime against Bellwood-Antis in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals.

The journey to that game was anything but a smooth road.

First there was the fact that, heading into the 2012 season, there were few certainties if any as to who would be the key performers for the Squires.

One thing was for sure.

Senior Brett Smith would be lining up behind center for the third straight year. The quarterback/safety has been a mainstay in the Squire lineup for three seasons and had proven to be the biggest playmaker.

Outside of Smith, the Squires relied on a bevy of inexperienced players to step up to achieve one of the most successful seasons in Delone history.

One position that was a big unknown was running back. The Squires had graduated 1,700 yards rushing last year between Tyler Smith and Colby McMaster. Stepping up to fill the holes were running backs Matt Giuffreda and Lance Reneker.

"Matt really emerged for us this season," Wiles said. "He was fantastic all season long. He really excelled at the fullback position."

Giuffreda finished the season with a team-high 908 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Reneker was second on the team with 697 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Aside from the lack of experience, the Squires put themselves behind the 8-ball after starting the season 1-2, with losses to Trinity and Littlestown, to start the season.

The tide began to turn for the Squires in the second half of their game against York Suburban.

"We came out in the second half and ran the ball right at them," Wiles said. "I think we really started gaining confidence after that. The guys started believing in themselves and what we could do."

The Squires went on to win that game, 42-12, and proceeded to win eight of their next nine games to earn a District 3 Class A championship and a trip to the state playoffs.

On the defensive side of the ball, Delone held opponents to only 175.6 yards per game on the ground. The defense was led by Austin Noel, who was converted from defensive end to linebacker this season.

"Austin really became the anchor of our defense this season," Wiles said. "He became unreal as the season went on."

He was named to the YAIAA Division III first team as both a tight end and linebacker. He finished as the team's leading tackler and leading receiver, finishing with 491 yards and six touchdowns.

"Our defense got better and better as the season went on," Wiles said. "Down the stretch, our defense played awesome football. We had a lot of young kids. Our defense gave our offense a lot of opportunities."

The Squires will graduate 14 seniors but have a lot of youth returning, youth that gained a lot of experience during the playoff run.

"I think the experience in the playoffs gives them a lot of confidence heading into next season," Wiles said. "The second half of the year was a lot of fun to coach. There were a lot of times our team could have thrown in the towel and given up, but they continued to fight."

mrubin@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, extension 143. Twitter: @michaelrubin6.

  
2012 SQUIRES' STATISTICS

  

SCORING
  TD  FG  PAT  2PT  PTS
Lance Reneker  12  0  0  1  74
Matt Giuffreda  10  0  0  3  66
Brett Smith  10  0  0  0  60
Jay Strickland  0  1  44  0  47
Nick Braun  7  0  0  2  46
Hayden Bell  7  0  0  0  42
Austin Noel  6  0  0  0  36
Zach Smith  3  0  0  0  18
Nate Miller  3  0  0  0  18
Bobby Witt  1  0  0  1  8
Justin Gobrecht  1  0  0  0  6
Cody Kuhn  1  0  0  0  6
Alex Little  1  0  0  0  6
Patrick Staub  1  0  0  0  6
Totals  63  1  44  7  439

RUSHING
  Att  Yds  Avg.  TD
Matt Giuffreda  138  908  6.6  9
Lance Reneker  112  697  6.2  6
Nick Braun  43  469  10.9  3
Brett Smith  68  440  6.5  9
Nate Miller  27  260  9.6  2
Hayden Bell  45  183  4.1  6
Zach Smith  22  108  4.9  3
Cody Kuhn  10  54  5.4  1
Jake Kadis  8  47  5.9  0
Alex Little  10  38  3.8  1
Lucas Shull  6  12  2.0  0
Eric Boyle  1  3  3.0  0
Bobby Strausbaugh  1  2  2.0  0
Logan Hartlaub  4  0  0.0  0
Jake Wiles  3  -1  -0.3  0
Nick Boddiford  1  -3  -3.0  0
Totals  499  3217  6.5  40
Opponents  511  2283  4.5  27

PASSING
  Cm  Att  %  Yds  TD  Int
Brett Smith  69  149  46.3  1153  16  11
Nick Braun  0  1  0.0  0  0  0
Jake Wiles  0  3  0.0  0  0  0
Totals  69  153  45.1  1153  16  11
Opponents  85  193  44.0  1064  8  16

RECEIVING
  No.  Yds  Avg.  TD
Austin Noel  23  491  21.3  6
Lance Reneker  18  192  10.7  2
Bobby Witt  11  151  13.7  1
Nick Braun  8  123  15.4  3
Patrick Staub  4  71  17.8  1
Nate Miller  2  54  27.0  1
Matt Giuffreda  2  47  23.5  1
Justin Gobrecht  1  24  24.0  1
Totals  69  1153  16.7  16
Opponents  85  1064  12.5  8