District dominance

By on November 15, 2017
Manheim Central running back Giovanni Lester, (right) takes the handoff from sophomore quarterback Evan Simon (left) in the Barons’ 55-0 win over Waynesboro last Friday night. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Manheim Central running back Giovanni Lester, (right) takes the handoff from sophomore quarterback Evan Simon (left) in the Barons’ 55-0 win over Waynesboro last Friday night. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

MC’s defense limits Waynesboro to three first downs, Simon throws 5 TD passes in 55-0 win

Late in the first half last Friday, Evan Simon never saw his touchdown pass to tight end Garret Fittery.

Manheim Central’s sophomore quarterback was hit shortly after releasing the throw and only heard the roar of the crowd.

“I let Garret do Garret and I just laid it up to him,” Simon recalled.

All Fittery did was pull down a highlight-reel catch in the back of the end zone which gave the Barons a 34-0 lead at the time against Waynesboro.

Ultimately, the senior tight end/defensive tackle grabbed three TD receptions which, combined with a smothering effort from the Barons’ defense, led 2nd-seeded Manheim Central to a 55-0 shutout of the No. 7-seeded Indians in sub-freezing conditions in the District Three 5A quarterfinals at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field.

“I’ve never caught three touchdown passes — it was cool,” Fittery said. “You’ve got to give props to Evan. The passes were right on the money.”

Manheim Central’s defense was also on the money. Waynesboro (7-3) managed just 42 total yards and two first downs against a Baron D led by Will Rivers, who had a team-high 13 tackle points and a QB sack. Joe Kolk and Tyler Simon added 10 tackles apiece, and Kolk had two sacks.

“Our defense is just active and they’re tough,” MC coach Dave Hahn said. “They played great team defense. They were getting after (Waynesboro) and didn’t give them much room to do anything.”

The Barons (11-0) will be hoping for more of the same when they host L-L Section Two rival Cocalico (10-1), the No. 3 seed, in the District Three semi-finals this Friday at 7 p.m. This will be round two between a pair of heavyweight this season, with MC having earlier beaten the Eagles 17-7 on Sept. 29.

“We’re excited to play them,” Fittery said.

They did nothing to hurt their momentum against Waynesboro, amassing 433 total yards. Tyler Flick rushed for a game-high 125 yards, with one TD, on 22 carries, while Simon was 10-of-16 for 207 yards and five scores.

“We want to be as balanced as we can,” Hahn said. “I think we were able to do that tonight throughout the night, so I was pleased with that.”

Central’s skipper, however, wasn’t pleased to see his QB face heavy pressure on the game’s second play, which resulted in a fumble recovered by the Indians’ David Henke, a senior lineman, on the MC 30-yard line.

But Waynesboro, which had three sophomores on the offensive line, couldn’t capitalize.

Eventually, on the Barons’ third possession, Simon rolled right and hit Fittery in the end zone for a two-yard TD strike, capping an eight-play, 55-yard drive. Simon then added the first of his seven PATs and MC led 7-0 with 3:10 left in the first quarter.

“Based on their defense,” Simon said, “our tight end was the key. Our game plan just tore their defense apart and we took advantage.”

The Simon-to-Fittery clicked again on the Barons’ next series, this time for a 42-yard strike to put MC up 14-0, a lead they maintained after one.

“We had a couple things in for the tight end to try to exploit some things,” Hahn said, “but I didn’t think it was going to go quite like that. When they gave it to us and they didn’t adjust their safety, we knew we had them, so we took advantage of that.”

Meanwhile, the Indians managed just 14 yards of offense in the opening half, and when Baron senior linebacker Tyler Simon intercepted a pass by Waynesboro QB Isaiah Kershner (1-of-14, 8 yards), MC was in business at the Indian 27.

“Coach War (Tom Waranavage) had a great game plan for us and we knew that coming in and I think we played pretty tough the whole time,” said Fittery, who finished with six tackle points.

Three plays later, Evan Simon had his third passing TD of the night, hitting Jake Novak, who spun around Waynesboro D-back Dalton Mowen inside the five-yard line to complete a 24-yard strike, putting the Barons up 21-0 with 11:32 remaining in the first half.

Colin Erb’s 44-yard TD run nearly four minutes later made it 27-0 and then that set the table for Simon’s third TD pass to Fittery. Once again taking over with excellent field position, the Barons drove inside the Indians’ red zone and had third-and-short.

With little time left on the play clock, MC hustled out of the huddle, but lined up in a muddled formation. No matter, as it turned out. Simon spotted a wide-open Fittery and fired a dart for a nine-yard touchdown with 2:40 left in the quarter.

“The play was absolutely screwed,” Simon said. “We got on the line with five seconds and the formation was all messed up, so (Garret) was the only guy I saw.”

“That was actually a broken play,” Hahn said. “We were under the gun, and when they got lined up, the tight ends were on the wrong side, and our H- back and our wing were opposite of where they should have been. Our quarterback ran it correctly, but the action was going opposite. But we lucked out that the backside tight end just found an opening, sat in the back of the end zone and made a great catch on the ball.”

Rivers found an opening not long afterward to block a Waynesboro punt, and Erb pounced on the loose ball in the end zone for a 41-0 lead, which the Barons carried into the locker room at halftime.

The Indians finally got their first of just two first downs on an MC penalty in the third quarter, but with a running clock to start the second half, neither team scored in the period. Then on the third play of the final stanza, Flick’s 13-yard TD run capped a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive and extended the Barons’ advantage to 48-0.

Jake Novak’s 69-yard TD run with 2:44 remaining in the fourth quarter completed the scoring and punched the Barons’ ticket to play Cocalico in the District semi-finals.

“They’re a great team,” Hahn said of the Eagles. “You can’t take them lightly. I know we won 17-7 last time we played, but we’re going to approach this game like we did last year. In some ways (in the win on Sept. 29), it felt like we lost out on some opportunities, so I feel like we lost. We are going to coach the kids up that way and we’re going to work to get better so that we can have a better outing against these guys because I know they’re going to bring their A-game.”

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