While some teams may look at this week like a challenge, Shippensburg’s football team looks at it as an opportunity.
Due to the heavy rains at the end of last week and early this week, as well as another inch of rain possible on Friday, the Greyhounds (10-1) will host a playoff game away from Veteran’s Stadium. They will play at Trojan Stadium at Chambersburg High School in the quarterfinal round of the PIAA District 3 Class 5A playoffs against William Penn, which is also 10-1 and coming off a 42-7 thrashing of Northern York last week.
“It’s certainly not an ideal situation, but it’s out of our control,” Ship coach Eric Foust said. “I think we are a good team, and we’ve been playing some good football over the last few weeks. This is another opportunity for us to show our abilities.”
Ship is coming off a muddy 6-0 win over Northeastern last week, but will face a much more difficult challenge against the Bearcats.
Said Foust, “They have a really good running back, a good receiver and a big offensive line. They will be a tough matchup for us.”
Averaging 12 yards per carry, Dayjure Stewart has run for 2,708 yards on 225 carries (12 yards per carry), while wide receiver Robert Rideout has totaled 752 yards on just 23 catches, good for almost 33 yards per reception. Quarterback Seth Bernstein has completed 48 of 83 passes for 1,279 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has also thrown 14 interceptions.
“If we want to win this game, we must slow down their running back,” Foust said. “I’m not saying we’re going to be able to stop him, but we have to slow him down.”
For Shippensburg, if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. The Hounds have given up just 14 points total over its last four games and have relied on a strong run defense as well as a balanced rushing attack.
Despite sloppy conditions last week, Adam Houser and Jacob Loy both pushed 100 yards, with Houser going for 89 yards and Loy for 91.
“I don’t think we really need to change our game plan,” Foust said. “It’s worked for us this far, and I think it could be a tough matchup for them, too. There aren’t many teams that play the way we do.”
While the turf of Trojan Stadium could play into William Penn’s hands because of its speed, if Shippensburg can slow down Stewart and control the pace of the game, it will have a chance to once again advance in the district tournament.