By JD Davidson
The Shippensburg Greyhounds advance the District III 5A playoffs with a round one win over Cedar Cliff 32-14. A difference a week makes as the Hounds ended the regular season with a second half collapse against Greencastle, but shut down the Colts in the second half this week and pulled away for the win.
The first half was punch, counter punch as the teams traded a pair of scores each.
Shippensburg thrown haymakers opened the scoring with a 6 play 65 yard drive. A 15 yard pass interference on the first play against Cedar Cliff opened the drive. Amari Kerr ripped off a 28 yard sweep to the left and capped it with a 12 yard dart. The PAT was an adventure as a bad snap was rescued by Erby Weller. Weller picked up the ball started right and found nothing, reversed it to the left and found the far left side for two points and an 8-0 lead.
Cedar Cliff countered with a 13 play 60 yard drive. Taeon Abraham opened it up with a 16 yard blast up the middle and then on fourth an one Abraham picked up two to keep the drive alive. Ben Secrest hit Abraham for 15 on third and six. Abraham finished the drive with a four yard run up the middle with Derek Witmer adding the PAT kick.
Both defenses showed some promise on the next series each forcing a punt. As I said punch and counter punt. Shippensburg, however, hit another haymaker a Trae Kater 53 yard run for the touchdown. Kater started right off tackle, cut It further right along the sideline, then about 20 yards downfield cut it back into the center and into the endzone. A failed two-pt conversion failed for an 14-7 lead.
Cedar Cliff countered with a 14 play 64 yard drive to tie the game. Kade Finkboner on fourth and short picked up 12 for a new set of downs. Abraham for five and Secrest for three picked up first downs on third down attempts. On fourth and two the Colts pulled out a trick play. Secrest lined up under center, but the snap was between his legs back to Finkboner. The snap was not perfect and rolled back, but Finkboner picked it up and hit Paker Tarnoci for the 12 yard score. Witmer added the PAT for a tie game at 14-14.
After a Shippensburg punt, Cody Wenner picked off a Secrest pass at the Shippensburg 7 with 2:31 left in the half.
Shippensburg got the last punch in and lead 20-14 at the half. A 13 play 97 yard drive ended with a fourth down touchdown pass from Tucker Chamberlin to Erby Weller from 18 yards out. Kater jumped started the drive with a 21 yard run. Chamberlin hit Jay Gonzalez for seven and Troy Chamberlin for 12 and a first near mid-field. On third down Tucker ran for 15 and another first with less than a minute to play. A spike on fist down stopped the clock and they Tu.Chamberlin hit Kater for 27 yards to the 10. After another spike the Colts sacked Tucker for a loss of eight and a spike to stop the clock on third left 16 seconds to play. Weller off a double move a slant to a corner was open for the 20-14 lead at the break.
The Shippensburg defense set the tone for the second half on the Colts first possession. A quick three and out. Diesel Koser stopped the first down run for one yard. Kater upended Abraham for loss of one on a swing pass and Kaden Shope dumped Alex Koher for a yard gain on another pass.
The Hounds offense delivered another pair of haymakers. Kerr started the three play 73 yard drive with a 40 yard run. Chamberlin found a wide open Kater for the 40 yard socre and 26-14 lead.
The defense forced a turnover as Gonzalez perfectly played the route and intercepted Secrest at the Ship 28. The Hounds turned that into a 7 play 74 yard scoring drive.
Chamberlin found Kerr for 17 and Kater for 32 down to the Colts two. Chamberlin’s sneak was the final blow for a 32-14 lead.
Cedar Cliff tried to answer driving to the Hounds seven, but on fourth and two, Everson Weller and Pat Reed stuffed Finkboner for no gain and ended the dirve.
Shippensburg rushed for 272, passed for 175 to total 447 yards. The Greyhounds gave up 172 on the ground and 95 in the air for a 267 total.
Kater rushed for 142 and receiving had 104 (Kater broke the 1000 yard rushing barrier and has 1039 on the season). Kerr added 110 rushing. Ev.Weller lead in tackles with 12 total Reed had 11, Koser and Shope 10 each. EV.Weller and Koser had 4 solos each.
The Hounds have had a decent showing in the playoffs making it to the second round now in four of the last five seasons. The only season not making the playoffs in this run was the shortened 2020 season that saw the Hounds go 4-3. Shippensburg in this run stands at 4-0 in the first round all at home, but 0-3 in the second again all home games. The Shippensburg season came to and end with a 22-6 loss to York (at Chambersburg due to field conditions), a 16-14 loss to Exeter Twp and last season 10-7 loss to Cedar Cliff. So maybe, just maybe a change of venue will bode well for the Hounds.
Up next for the Hounds is a trip to 5A top seed and undefeated Solanco on Friday.
First Quarter:(CC) Taeon Abraham 4 run (Derek Witmer kick) 5:51(
S) Trae Kater 53 run (kick blocked) 1:09
Second Quarter: (CC) Parker Tarnoci 12 pass from Kade Finkboner (Witmer kick) 5:57
(S) Weller 18 pass from Tucker Chamberlin (run failed):12
Third Quarter:(S) Kater 40 pass from Chamberlin (run failed) 8:37
(S) Chamberlin I run (kick blocked) 3:11
Rushing-(CC) Abraham 11-54, Preston Dent 11-42, Ben Secrest 7-39,Finkboner 5-18, Mike Jones 5-15, Ethan Dotell 1-5, Team 1-(-1).
(S)-Kater 12-142, Gerr 11-110, Chamberlin 5-10, Diesel Koser 3-6, Julian Njau 1-6, Jay Gonzalez I-(-1), Team 1-(-1).
Passing-(CC) Secrest 9-19-2 86, Finkboner 1-1-0 12. (S) Chamberlin 11-18-0 175.
Receptions-(CC) Nathan Lusk 5-59, Alex Kohr 2-10, Tarnoci 1-12, Abraham 1-11,Elijah Wilbourn 1-5.
(S) Kater 5-104, Troy Chamberlin 2-24, Weller 2-23, Kerr 1-17, Gonzalez 1-7.