GREENCASTLE — Greencastle-Antrim dominated the first half.
Chambersburg controlled the second half.
Random, strange and even shocking plays took over toward the end of the game and combined to produce a 16-14 win for the Trojans in a season-opening non-league football game at Kaley Field on Friday night.
A 25-yard field goal by Teegan Humelsine with 5:52 left in the game provided the winning points for Chambersburg, but weird stuff started happening shortly after that kick.
Greencastle got one first down, but had to punt the ball away, and the Trojans took over on their own 21. A motion penalty on second down bogged them down and Humelsine had to punt with just over two minutes left.
Ethan Shank flew in untouched through the left side and blocked the punt, then recovered for the Blue Devils at the Trojan five. It was a heckuva play in a clutch situation for Shank and might have made him the hero in a big win over G-A’s football rival.
But one the first play after that, David Niebauer took a handoff around his left side and appeared to have a shot to reach the corner of the end zone. Then several things happened at once to change the destiny of the game. As Niebauer tried to switch the ball from his left to right hand to perhaps stretch it over the pylon, Chambersburg cornerback Malachi Scott hit him from behind.
The ball was jostled loose and as Niebauer went out of bounds short of the corner, the ball bounced just inside the pylon and out of the side of the end zone for a touchback, giving he ball back to the Trojans at the 20 with 1:55 remaining. From there, two first-down runs by quarterback Jermer Jones sealed the Blue Devils’ fate.
“It was hard picking ourselves up after the punt block,” Scott said, “but we had to do something. I saw (Niebauer) coming around toward the pylon and I just hit him and the ball came out. I wasn’t sure what was happening until I saw a couple of our players ask the ref, and when I saw them get excited, I did , too.”
Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said, “Scott came around the edge out of nowhere and made the hit. That’s a tough break for them. That’s one of those, ‘It’s better to be lucky than good’ things.'”
G-A coach Devin McCauley said, “I saw the bean bag come out (thrown by the official, signifying a fumble) and I couldn’t believe it. Unfortunately, that play makes the block by Ethan get overlooked.”
The Blue Devils owned the first half, outgaining Chambersburg 149-85, and took a 14-0 lead into the break. Quarterback Taylor Conrad scored on a 1-yard keeper in the first quarter, then passed to Shank 38 yards for a TD in the second quarter. The play included two handoffs and a pitch back to Conrad and Shank had nobody within 20 yards of him when he made the catch.
Luther said, “They took it to us in the first half. Their lines owned us and we were passive. We were lucky to be down only 14-0, and I told them at halftime we weren’t playing with any heart.”
That changed immediately in the second half, when Jones, a sophomore quarterback who appears to have a tankful of promise, led the Trojans to a scoring drive right off the bat. He was 3-for-3 for 33 yards in the drive, and took it to the house from 32 yards out on a scramble to make it 14-7.
McCauley said, “Their quarterback made some good scramble plays — he’s a legit athlete and he made things happen.”
“For my first start, I made a lot of mistakes, but I will fix them,” jones said. “The big thing is we got it done, and I had some good blocks for me out there.”
Chambersburg began winning the field position game when a mistake on the ensuing kickoff put G-A on its own 5. The teams traded punts until the Trojans had three successful plays in a row — a 15-yard run by Bryce Flenory after he picked up a fumbled pitch, a 30-yard pass from Jones to Rhaigeon Parker that wiped out a holding penalty, and Flenory’s 13-yard burst for a touchdown.
But a bad snap messed up the extra point and Greencastle held a 14-13 lead.
Another strange play led to the winning field goal.
Facing fourth-and-1 at the Trojan 22, McCauley ran a play that had worked successfully all night — a basic QB sneak by Conrad. But his time, the snap was mishandled, and somehow popped out of a scrum to Chambersburg’s Shea Makosy, who ran it back all the way to the Blue Devil 15. The G-A defense held, but Humelsine’s field goal put his team up for good, as it turned out.
“Turnovers are usually the biggest factor and they won that battle (2-1),” McCauley said. “There was lot of hard hitting, and a lot of hidden plays that changed momentum. Our kids got some bad breaks but came back from them and Chambersburg’s kids made some plays, too. The people got to see a good high school football game.”
Luther said, “I kind of feel for (Greencastle), because that’s a tough way for the game to end. I’m just glad we settled down in the second half.”
NOTES: G-A’s Neibauer ran 20 times for 116 yards … Chambersburg ended up with a 269-242 edge in total offense … Jones ran for 89 yards and Flenory 67 for the Trojans …Parker had four catches for 81 yards … Conrad had a 31-yard TD run called back for a hold … The Trojans travel to play Spring-Ford, a District 1 team, next Friday … Greencastle plays Lower Dauphin at Hehrsheypark Stadium on Thursday night.
Chambersburg 16, Greencastle 14
Chambersburg 0 0 13 3 — 16
Greencastle 7 7 0 0 — 14
GA — Taylor Conrad 1 run (Nate Kirkwood kick), 5:35
GA — Ethan Shank 38 pass from Conrad (Kirkwood kick), 9:44
Ch — Jermere Jones 38 run (Teegan Humelsine kick), 10:11
Ch — Bryce Flenory 13 run (kick failed), 1:59
Ch — Humelsine 25 field goal, 5:52
First downs 14 11
Rushes-yards 35-173 50-201
Passing 7-14-0 2-7–0
Passing yards 96 41
Total yards 269 242
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Punts-average 2-39.5 5-34.2
Penalties-yards 5-35 2-15
Rushing — Chbg, Jones 15-89, Flenory 14-67, Rashawn Williams 4-10, Grant Hopple 2-7. G-A, David Niebauer 20-116, Tavon Cooper 15-45, Conrad 10-30, Brady Diller 3-6, Mason Bowers 2-4.
Passing — Chbg, Jones 7-14-0-96. G-A, Conrad 2-7-0-41.
Receiving — Chbg, Rhaigeon Parker 4-81, Hopple 1-6, Nick Swartz 1-6, Andy Jean 1-3. GA, Ethan Shank 1-38, Cooper 1-3.