DILLSBURG — For the first 20 minutes of the game Friday night, Greencastle-Antrim did just about everything right.
And the Blue Devils held an 18-7 lead over Northern York in a Mid Penn Colonial football game at Bostic Field in Dillsburg with 3:14 left in the first half.
But the Polar Bears drove 85 yards to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion, both passes from Timmy Bonin to Mason Yohn, to get within 18-15 with 0:17 left, then outscored the Blue Devils 14-0 in the second half to win 29-18.
G-A coach Devin McCauley said, “”Special teams mistakes, turnovers and penalties … I feel like it’s the second straight week they’ll really hurt us.”
Greencastle (4-2, 1-2 MPC) turned the ball over three times — twice on first-half fumbles, and a second-half interception.
The Blue Devils were also haunted by damaging penalties, including some mysterious ones.
But the Blue Devils started the game with all the momentum. Their first possession ended in a touchdown from a flea flicker play, in which QB Logan Alvey handed off to Tavon Cooper, who handed the ball to Austin Wyand, who flipped it back to Alvey, who hit Seth Stouffer for a 41-yard scoring play.
Stouffer then stepped in front of a Northern receiver to intercept a pass, and shortly after that, Alvey hit William Young on a slant pass and Young took it 38 yards for a 12-0 lead.
After forcing a Polar Bear punt, the ball was fumbled and Northern (3-3, 2-1 MPC) recovered at the G-A 32 and three plays later, Cole Bartram scored the first of his three touchdowns.
The next Greencastle drive was all about Tavon Cooper, who carried the ball four times for 76 yards, including a scoring run of 4 yards, and it was 18-7.
McCauley said, “Last week our big issue was we weren’t ready to play, so it was a focal point for us to have energy and enthusiasm We had a lot of things working early.”
The Blue Devil defense forced its third three-and-out and the offense was driving again when the penalty bug hit. Wyand ran for 28 yards on a jet sweep, then Cooper set off on another long run, helped by a great block by receiver Jackson Eby.
But offsetting penalties (holding by G-A early in the run and a facemask by Northern) wiped out the run. Greencastle was then called for a false start after a Northern defensive lineman jumped over the line when a Blue Devil back went in motion, and also a second false start, to kill the drive.
That led to Northern’s late first-half TD on a jump ball that Yohn went up and hauled in with two defenders on him.
“Giving up that touchdown late in the half, when they were getting the ball to start the third, was huge,” McCauley said. “We you get up on a team like that, you have to finish them, and we didn’t.”
On the Polar Bears’ first possession of the second half, they wiped out a blocking in the back penalty, converted a fourth-and-2 and converted a third-and-long on a pass to Yohn that appeared to bounce before he caught it. Bartram’s 26-yard run then gave Northern a 22-18 lead.
A fumble on the kickoff made G-A start at its own 10. A big run by Cooper moved them to the 29, and his run on the next play pushed out to the 43 … but Greencastle was called for holding. Then Alvey was picked off by Yohn, who returned it to the 15.
Bartram then scored from the 2 and it was 29-18.
G-A’s next possession was also ruined by a penalty. This time, Cooper caught a short pass and blew into the secondary for a big gain to the Northern 33. But Cooper was called, curiously, for taunting during the run.
Then an unsportsmanlike conduct was called against Greencastle. The second penalty was enforced, but, strangely, the first one wasn’t, as if it didn’t happen. Another holding penalty and a sack of Alvey ended that drive and the Blue Devils’ hopes for a comeback.
Cooper ran 16 times for 111 yards and caught 8 passes for 77 more, for 188 yards of offense. Alvey connected on 16 of 23 passes for 207 yards, two TDs and one pick. Stouffer grabbed 5 passes for 75 yards.
The Blue Devils host Susquehanna Twp. on Friday at 7 p.m.
Northern 28, Greencastle-Antrim 18
Greencastle 12 6 0 0 — 18
Northern 7 8 14 0 — 28
GA — Seth Stouffer 41 pass from Logan Alvey (kick failed)
GA — William Young 38 pass from Alvey (run failed)
NY — Cole Bartram 7 run (Mason Yohn kick
GA — Tavon Cooper 4 run (run failed)
NY — Yohn 17 pass from Timmy Bonin (Yohn pass from Bonin)
NY — Bartram 26 run (Yohn kick)
NY — Bartram 2 run (Yohn kick)
Greencastle Individual Statistics
Rushing — Cooper 16-111, Austin Wyand 4-43, Darren Kline 4-10, Logan Shifflett 3-7, Alvey 3-(-10).
Passing — Alvey 16-23-207-1.
Receiving — Cooper 8-77, Stouffer 5-75, Young 1-38, Jackson Eby 1-17, Wyand 1-5.