Barons rally to pummel Hempfield
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Colin Fry wasn’t sure that he was ever going to reach the end zone on Friday night.
Turns out, Manheim Central’s senior QB did finally reach paydirt on a 56-yard run in the second quarter against Hempfield.
"The end zone seemed like it kept getting further and further the closer and closer I got," Fry said. "It seemed like it never would come."
Ultimately, that play by Fry was a key point in the game for the Barons, giving them a spark after falling behind early to the Black Knights, 12-0. It was the first of five straight possessions that Manheim Central put points on the board, as they improved to 2-0 on the season with a 52-19 drubbing of Hempfield at Elden Rettew Field in Manheim.
"One of these days, that (slow start) is going to hurt us," Barons’ coach Mike Williams said. "We came out and we were fired up and emotional, but on the field, we played lackadaisically. But then we got some opportunities and came back. They didn’t stop us. We designed this offense to go against a three-stack defense and I think it played out pretty good."
In its first two games, Manheim Central has been outscored by its opponents 19-0 in the first quarter. From there, however, the Barons have the advantage on their foes, 85-7.
On Friday night against the Knights, it was the Barons’ running game that fueled the comeback. Senior Marc Royer led the way by churning out 187 of Manheim Central’s 336 total rushing yards. Overall, the Barons gained 459 yards of total offense.
"If you can set everything up with the run game, the passing opens up," said Fry, who finished 8-of-14 for 108 yards and two TD’s through the air, while also running for 63 yards and a score. "Everything opens up because when you can control that line of scrimmage, everything’s uphill from there."
"Both of our running backs, Ian Hanselman and Marc Royer, ran very well," Williams said. "They didn’t run nearly that well in the Warwick game, but they were on tonight."
Hempfield senior signal-caller Michael Edwards was certainly on in the first quarter. The Knights received the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards on 12 plays, as Edwards connected with running back Will Blair for 31 yards and also ran five times for 14 yards, including a one-yard TD plunge with 5:40 elapsed to put Hempfield up 6-0.
After getting a hold from their defense, the Black Knights again went back to work and reached into their bag of tricks for a halfback option pass. Blair took a handoff, sprinted right and found junior wideout Dustin Walter open behind the Barons’ secondary for a 56-yard TD strike, pushing Hempfield’s advantage to 12-0 with 1:15 left in the quarter.
"We said, ‘Come on guys, this is ridiculous. We’re playing like we’re sleep walking out there,’" Williams said. "It’s one of those deals that we’ve got to overcome. We got a little rude to them. We weren’t hitting, (but) I think the physical part of the game really picked up. They were a little physical to start with and then we took over and we were more physical than they were."
Fry’s 56-yard TD run on the second play of the second quarter started the turnaround. It was designed to be a pass play to the left, but the Barons’ senior veteran scrambled to his right and never looked back.
"(Hempfield) brought a blitz off the edge, they schemed it pretty well," Fry said. "The backside line on the right side held strong enough that I was able to find vision and run down the field for a touchdown."
Asked if he was running scared a little bit, Fry said laughing, "When you’ve got those big guys running after you, you’re running scared a little bit. But instinct and adrenaline kinda kicks in after that, so you’re not really thinking about it."
Five minutes later, Royer scored his second TD of the season, finding open space in the Hempfield defense, bouncing it left and then completing a 35-yard TD run with 6:09 to go in the half. Damon Crouse, who was a perfect 7-of-7 in PAT’s, made the score 14-12.
"I think the time where the momentum changed was probably the second touchdown," Fry said, "because that put us ahead, that gave us a lot of confidence to just keep running the ball. We knew we could and we just knew that we could dominate up front."
"(Marc) was smooth tonight," Williams added. "He was smooth and it looked like he was the fastest guy on the field tonight. He was really on and it was quite impressive."
Following a Hempfield 3-and-out, Central got a break when a punt snap went over the head of Stephen Johnson, was dropped for a six-yard loss at the Knights’ 22. Three plays later, Andrew Seiverling hauled in a 21-yard TD pass from Fry with 2:42 remaining in the half, adjusting his body in tight coverage by a Hempfield defender.
"I knew I had to get rid of the ball because I didn’t know how much time I would have had," said Fry, under pressure from Hempfield blitzing d-back Christian Durkota. "I didn’t want to take a sack with that amount of time left in the half. I threw it to his outside shoulder and I was hoping he’d make an adjustment by the time he turned around and saw it. He made a great adjustment."
The Barons got one more opportunity in the half when Nick Brubaker picked off an Edwards’ aerial – one of three turnovers by the Barons’ defense – and returned it 20 yards to the Hempfield 23. On the next play, Fry found Dan Wiederrecht for a 23-yard scoring strike inside the left pylon to push the lead to 28-12 going to the locker room.
"Dan is (developing into a go-to receiver) and we’re going to utilize him as much as we can," Williams said. "He’s got good speed and good hands. We’ll have a good 1-2 punch with Taylor (Geib) and him, I think."
Meanwhile, the Black Knights suffered a key blow on their final possession of the half, when Edwards left the field with an injury and was unable to return. That didn’t help a Hempfield team which managed just 11 yards of offense and one first down in the second half.
"I know they lost their quarterback, so they were a lot handicapped," Williams said, "but they didn’t really stop us at all on offense."
Wiederrecht’s 57-yard return on the opening kickoff of the second half put the Barons’ offense in good shape, and seven plays later, Hanselman (13 rushes, 75 yards) scored the first of his two TD’s, running off tackle from six yards to make it 35-12.
The Black Knights counter-punched with Tyrell Wickersham’s 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. But it was all Manheim Central from there.
Hanselman added a 15-yard TD run with 1:51 left in the third quarter to push the Barons’ lead to 42-19. Then on the second play of the fourth, Crouse split the uprights for a 40-yard field goal. Finally, Central completed the scoring when Geib hauled in a 14-yard TD pass from Geib with 3:56 left.
With that, the Barons successfully avenged a 17-14 loss to Hempfield in week two last year.
"It feels amazing," Fry said. "Honestly, I couldn’t stop thinking about it last year. I played horribly last year. I mean, getting the win tonight was absolutely incredible. Doing it in the first home game, that was nice."
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