Shippensburg pounces on Greencastle early in 23-10 victory
GREENCASTLE >> The trio of Tyler Gustafson, Wade Mills and Cody Gustafson has been consistent all season long.
And Friday night, the Shippensburg stars put on a show in the first half against Greencastle-Antrim. The Greyhounds then did just enough to hold off the Blue Devils for a 23-10 victory in a Mid Penn Colonial Division game.
"That is something we talked about all week," Greyhound coach Eric Foust said. "If we got off to a good start, we didn't think they could catch up because we knew they were going to run the ball. We got our lead, and just kind of sat on it a little bit more than normal. I think the pressure of just wanting to win the football game hit us in the second half."
With the victory, Shippensburg (7-3, 4-2 MPC) has unofficially secured a spot in the District 3 Class AAA playoffs after missing the postseason a year ago.
"We handled this like it was one of the biggest games of our season," Tyler Gustafson said. "We wanted to smack them in the mouth first, and we did. We got a little sloppy in the second half, so we're going to have to work on that. But thankfully we have another week to work on it."
Gustafson was absolutely unstoppable in the first half. In the first 24 minutes alone, he was 9-for-13 for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
After the Hounds stopped Greencastle (6-4, 2-4 MPC) on its opening drive, the offense immediately went to work. Gustafson completed a 12-yard pass to Mills and a 37-yard pass to Cody Gustafson to get Ship into enemy territory before throwing an 18-yard touchdown to Mills in the corner of the end zone.
Shippensburg then stopped the Blue Devils again, and just four plays later, Tyler found Cody Gustafson for another score.
"Those three really did some things tonight, didn't they?" Foust said. "They played within themselves. Tyler handles this offense so well right now."
Although the Hounds got off to a 23-0 lead, it wasn't all over for the Blue Devils. In fact, Greencastle played a better second half and finally found the end zone on a four-yard score from Kyrin Zimmerman.
"This is the gutsiest group of kids I've coached," Blue Devils coach Chuck Tinninis said. "I was a little disappointed because I thought we could cover those receivers a little better. In the second half we did, but it was like an onslaught at the beginning."
The Devils got a strong running game from Demetrius Burton, who finished with 73 yards on 14 carries, but they still struggled with an injury that sidelined starting quarterback Spencer Meyers a week ago.
"Cade (McDowell) stepped in and did the best he could," Greencastle's Sam Sprague said. "It was a tough situation. Spencer was our leader, and he got us through everything this season. But Cade did what he had to do, and I give him all the credit in the world for stepping in."
Injuries and missing players also plagued the Greyhounds, but they did a better job of overcoming those problems. Leading rusher Zion Ware did not play, and running back Cole Friese was injured early in the first quarter.
Cameron Tinner and Nathaniel Sheffield were the work horses for Ship on the ground, finishing with 57 and 22 yards, respectively.
"It was huge for us to get off to that strong start," Tinner said. "Once our defense got a stop on that first drive, the offense just took over."
Foust said, "They played with tremendous courage tonight. We haven't asked them to do that all year, and they knew it was going to be a tough game tonight. They did what they needed to do to hold on, and we were effective enough in the run game."
NOTES >> Greencastle's first drive of the game ended in a missed field goal, which hit the left upright and bounced back out ... Bailey Parker had a pair of sacks for the Blue Devils ... Mills finished with 10 catches for 115 yards, and Cody Gustafson had six grabs for 90 yards.
Shippensburg 23, Greencastle 10
Sh — Wade Mills 18 pass from Tyler Gustafson (Jackson VanHorne kick), 5:45
Sh — Cody Gustafson 14 pass from T.Gustafson (VanHorne kick), 1:49
Sh — VanHorne 20 field goal, 11:46
Sh — Mills 44 pass from T.Gustafson (run failed), 8:23
GA — Austyn Smith 30 field goal, 0:16.3
GA — Kyrin Zimmerman 4 run (Smith kick), 8:43
ShipGAFirst downs159Rushes-yards24-7437-177Passing17-22-07-12-1Passing yards21649Total yards290226Punts4-27.83-37.0Fumbles-lost1-01-0Penalties-yards2-174-25
Rushing — Ship, Cameron Tinner 10-57, Nathaniel Sheffield 5-22, Adam Houser 5-16, T.Gustafson 4-(-21). GA, Demetrius Burton 14-73, Bailey Parker 2-29, James Hines 6-28, Zimmerman 4-27, Sam Sprague 4-19, Derek Measell 3-12, Isaiah Peck 1-0, Cade McDowell 3-(-11).
Passing — Ship, T.Gustafson 17-22-216-0. GA, McDowell 7-11-49-1, Sprague 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Ship, Mills 10-115, C.Gustafson 6-90, Tinner 1-11. GA, Tyler Jeffreys 14-29, Measell 1-12, Sprague 1-5, Brae Peck 1-3.
Interceptions — Ship, Tinner.
Missed field goals — GA, Smith (hit upright).