GHS football loses rain-delayed contest

Monday, August 27, 2007

The longest football contest in Greencastle High School history couldn't get over soon enough for the Tiger Cubs on Friday evening. In a game plagued by weather delays in excess of two hours, Speedway methodically tore apart the Greencastle defense with a two-pronged running attack en route to a 39-0 victory.

Under ominous skies, Speedway took nearly six minutes off the clock in the opening drive of the game to notch their first score when Jaron Avance hauled in a 19-yard TD pass from Sparkplug quarterback Kyle Linville.

The Tiger Cubs were unable to mount anything offensively in the first half. They did not secure a first down in the opening 24 minutes, and managed to net only two positive yards by halftime.

Meanwhile, Speedway scored on every first half possession, primarily with a pounding running game featuring Avance and Trai Jones. Utilizing a simplistic misdirection scheme, the Plugs were nevertheless able to keep Greencastle off balance defensively. The Cubs were never really able to make any adjustments to hinder the Speedway backfield.

The first delay of the game occurred at the 3:30 mark of the first quarter, when lightning caused the ballgame to be halted until nearly 9:00 p.m. Play resumed long enough for Speedway to connect on a 28-yard field goal by Grant Williams with 1:16 left. Shortly thereafter, another round of lightning interrupted play for an additional hour. The first quarter ended more than three hours after it had begun with Speedway leading 10-0.

It didn't take the Sparkplugs long to strike in the second quarter, as Linville evaded four tackles on a keeper and crossed the goal line from 12 yards out with 9:29 left. Less than four minutes later, Jones scored on a one-yard run. After Courtney Walton's PAT was blocked, it was 23-0 Speedway with 6:01 remaining.

After a Drew Evens fumble was recovered by the Plugs on Greencastle's ensuing possession, Speedway took advantage of a red zone opportunity when Avance once more found pay dirt on a 20-yard TD scamper. Avance finished the evening with 98 yards on 11 carries to lead all rushers.

After yet another Tiger Cub four-and-out, Williams booted a 44-yard field goal as time expired, leaving Greencastle with a 32-point halftime deficit.

An abbreviated intermission revealed a great many Speedway substitutions defensively, and the Tiger Cubs were able to take advantage by securing their initial first down of the contest at approximately the 10:00 mark of the third quarter. The drive stalled however, and the Sparkplugs were able to take advantage of good field possession after Greencastle was forced to punt. Speedway struck quickly, as Ethan Bartell connected with Linville on 30-yard TD pass on the very next play from scrimmage. Walton's successful PAT brought an end to the Plugs' offensive output for the evening, and Speedway led 39-0 with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter.

Greencastle controlled most of the fourth quarter offensively by utilizing Evens almost exclusively to carry the ball. He was responsible for the Cubs' only points of the evening when he capped a nearly seven minute drive with a 4-yard TD run at the 5:24 mark of the final stanza. Evens finished the game with 60 yards on 17 carries.

Nearly four and a half hours after it had begun, the game ended at 11:30 p.m. and left the Tiger Cubs searching for answers. Two blowout losses to open the season have all but eradicated any hope Greencastle had of capturing a WCC title. Nevertheless, Greencastle Head Coach Mike Meyer was philosophical at the game's conclusion.

"We're a young team searching for an identity, searching for leadership," Meyer stated. "We've got eight games to go, and we're getting better. I know it doesn't look like it on the scoreboard, but we'll get better."

At Greencastle

Greencastle 0 0 0 7 -- 7
Speedway 10 22 7 0 --39

S -- Jaron Avance 20 pass from Kyle Linville (Courtney Walton Kick)

S -- FG Grant Williams 28.

S -- Linville 12 run (Williams kick)

S -- Tra Jones 1 run (kick failed )

S -- Avance 20 run (kick failed)

S -- FG Williams 42

S -- Ethan Bartel 21 pass from Linville (Courtney Walton kick)

G -- Drew Evens 3 run (Buzz Deer kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing -- Speedway: Linville 3-38, Bartel 2-(-10), Jones 12-81, Avance 12-104, Jake Dunn 4-9, Keith McGavick 1-8, Tetris Moore 2-7.

Greencastle: Graham Shuee 3-15, Evens 18-55, Kendall Faust 3-(-4), Nate Lein 3-5, Jordan Hickam 5-32.

Passing -- Speedway: Linville 4-8-0 60, Bartel 4-6-1 48.

Greencastle: Shuee 8-13-0 42, Hickam 0-1-0 0.

Receiving -- SPeedway: Linville 1-31, J.T. Bowman 1-4, Jay Staton 2-38, Avance 2-35, Eric Law 1-5.

Greencastle: Evens 4-22, Andrew Birt 4-20.

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