Barons click in 51-14 rout of Governor Mifflin

By on November 14, 2018
As one of his lineman flattens a Governor Mifflin pass rusher, Manheim Central QB Evan Simon unleashes a pass in the Barons’ 51-14 win last Friday in the District Three 5A playoff quarterfinals. Photo by Missi Mortimer

MC punches ticket to District semi-finals

As one of his lineman flattens a Governor Mifflin pass rusher, Manheim Central QB Evan Simon  unleashes a pass in the Barons’ 51-14 win last Friday in the District Three 5A playoff quarterfinals. Photo by Missi Mortimer

As one of his lineman flattens a Governor Mifflin pass rusher, Manheim Central QB Evan Simon unleashes a pass in the Barons’ 51-14 win last Friday in the District Three 5A playoff quarterfinals. Photo by Missi Mortimer

A visitor interrupted Evan Simon’s conversation with his grandfather to congratulate him on his team’s win in the District Three 5A playoff quarterfinals last Friday night.

“We are rolling,” Manheim Central’s junior quarterback said, not holding back his enthusiasm after the Barons routed Governor Mifflin 51-14 at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field.

“We all agree that playoffs, that it is another step,” Simon said. “Time to get on that next level and I think we are there. We are clicking on offense and defense. We are excited. This is our time of year.”

Next up for the 11-0 Barons is a semifinal meeting at 7 p.m. Friday in Manheim with Cedar Cliff (10-2), which beat Warwick 33-23.

Leading only 3-0 after the first quarter, the Barons shook off some rust from a first-round bye in the District playoffs to pour on the offense, scoring 20 points in the second quarter and 21 in the third to cruise to an easy victory.

After getting 12 touchdowns in the previous three games from running back Tyler Flick, the Barons turned to Colby Wagner and Simon to carry the offense and make standout plays on defense.

“We were able find matchups and exploit weaknesses, so that’s why we did what we did, but they (Governor Mifflin) are still a good team,” Barons’ coach Dave Hahn said after improving his career coaching record to 45-6.

What Manheim did was use the legs — and later the arm — of Simon, who rushed 145 yards on 14 carries and threw for 160 yards on 7-for-12 passes. He rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a TD in the second quarter alone (109 yards rushing in the first half), as the Barons took a 23-0 halftime lead. Simon finished the game with two rushing TDs and two passing scores.

Make no mistake, Simon’s legs got the Barons going in the second quarter.

“It is what they gave us tonight,” Hahn said. “They gave us the quarterback tonight and we were going to take it. That’s good. We don’t usually run Evan a lot, but we can when we want to — we’ve known that all along.”

“We started off slow,” Simon said. “Maybe it was because we didn’t play for two weeks. Certain things started to click. We found what was working.”

What was working was Simon with runs up the middle and two TD runs — of 13 and 50 yards, respectively — off great blocks off the edge. On the 13-yarder, he used a great stiff-arm to help get in the end zone. He used his feet on the 50-yarder, dashing down the Mifflin sideline.

Even he seemed a little surprised by his burst of speed.

“I wear these cleats every game,” he said, joking, as he looked at his footwear.

Niko Gavala capped an 11-play drive on Manheim’s first possession with a 35-yard field goal.

Then Central’s defense started to instill its dominance, making the Mustangs (7-5) very predictable. The formula was stuff the run twice and then force an incomplete pass.

The Barons forced Mifflin to punt on its first five possessions, throw an interception on its sixth possession and gain only two first downs in the first half.

Manheim’s defensive line consists of Tyler Dougherty and Troy Kolk on the inside and Jake Harbach and Tyler Hartl on the outside. Josh Painter and Brett Wolgemuth also see time on the line.

“Our defensive line did a great job,” Hahn said. “They are very disciplined. Every once in a while we have a little mental lapse, but overall, they do a great job for us. Our ends have to come down and take people out and our defensive tackles have to hold the line, and if they don’t do that we are in trouble, but they are doing their jobs.”

The line stuffed the run and Wagner took away Mifflin’s passing game with stellar pass coverage, knocking down one ball and making an interception on another.

“I just needed to turn and run, lean on them and swat the ball away, said Wagner, who returned an INT 47 yards and caught a TD of 46 yards.

“Colby can run for us,” Hahn said. “He got in the backfield as the quarterback and ran it for us a couple of times, gave us a first down. He is pretty sure-handed to get us a first down a long hitch route. He had a nice pick and took it for six. I can’t say enough about him. The kid plays special teams, he plays offense, he plays defense, he’s all over the place and he’s doing great. He’s doing a great job for us.”

Leading 16-0 late in the second quarter, Will Rivers snagged an INT at midfield and darted down the Central sideline before going out at the Mifflin 16.

Two plays later, Simon found Rivers in the front, right corner of the end zone, putting Central ahead 23-0. Field possession was key. In three second quarter scoring drives, Manheim started at its own 46, 45 and Mifflin’s 16.

Manheim Central then got the ball to start the second half and needed only 42 seconds to score, as Simon hooked up with Wagner for a 46-yard TD pass down the Mustang sideline.

“That pass comes down to film,” Simon said. “We saw it on film and practiced it and executed it tonight. Colby’s touchdown was a simple isolation backside. He’s going ten yards and the ball is going to be there. He breaks a tackle on a nice stiff arm and he’s off to the races.”

“As soon as I heard the play, I knew I could get it,” Wagner said. “Evan threw a perfect ball. I just had to spin out of the tackle and run maybe 30 yards to the end zone. It was awesome.”

Wagner said the team is starting to kick into a different gear and he believes this is the start of the Baron’s passing game taking off, that Central is going to pass the ball more in the playoffs.

That sounded good to Simon.

“A lot of people agree that we are a run team first,” he said. “The run opens up pass. If they back up, then we are going to run. That’s our mentality. It’s working. It’s starting to click. It’s playoffs, baby.”

Senior Fullback Jake Harbach scored on a 1-yard plunge and senior running back Tyler Flick scored his 29th TD on the season in the fourth quarter, tying him with Dan Kreider for the most touchdowns in a season.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Hahn said about Flick. “We wanted to use him more to get things established with him, but Tyler is so unselfish. I said something to him, “Hey, I want to get you in this, I want to run this play,’ and he said, ‘Coach, I just want to win.’ That’s it. That’s his attitude. How do you not love a kid like that? He’s all about the team. He’s tied one and broken four career records right now. He’s all about the team. Love him.”

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