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Rollers flatten Millersburg, 21-0, reach Class A district final

Tyquan Walker ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns as Steelton-Highspire eliminated Millersburg, 21-0, in a PIAA District 3 Class A semifinal playoff game on Friday, Nov. 16 at Cottage Hill in Steelton.


steelpic11 21 12Photo by John Diffenderfer- Steelton-Highspire’s Dywan Blanding, right, makes a catch against the Millersburg defense.The Rollers (8-3) will play Delone Catholic (8-3) in the Class A championship game at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 at Hersheypark Stadium.

Delone eliminated Columbia, 28-16, in the other Class A semifinal on Nov. 16.

It marks the Rollers’ return to the Class A district championship game since 2008, the second year of a two-year reign as Class A state champions. Steel-High won state titles in 2007 and 2008.

The Steelton-Highspire defense shut down the high-powered offense of Millersburg (7-4) throughout the game, holding the Indians to barely more than 100 yards and six first downs. After two season-opening shutouts, the Indian offense had averaged more than 30 points a game against seven Tri-Valley League foes.

But against Steel-High, Millersburg did little on the ground or in the air. Quarterback Josh Howard threw only three completions in 14 attempts for 34 yards, while rushing 16 times for 44 yards to lead the Indian running attack. The Roller defense, meanwhile, snagged four interceptions.

The Rollers struck late in the first quarter, when Walker ran 8 yards for a touchdown to give Steelton-Highspire a 6-0 lead. The kick failed.

Walker, a sophomore, struck again in the second quarter, scoring on a 2-yard run with about 10:30 left in the second quarter. Dywan Blanding’s 2-point conversion run gave the Rollers a 14-0 lead.

Millersburg couldn’t stop the Rollers’ passing attack, which burned the Indians early in the game.

Blanding caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Roller quarterback James Warren with less than a minute left before halftime, giving Steelton-Highspire a 21-0 lead at intermission. He was the Rollers’ leading receiver, with 4 catches for 73 yards, while Anthony Ferguson caught 4 passes for 71 yards and Jaki Haywood caught 3 for 57 yards.

Warren completed 10 of 17 passes for 162 yards, while Walker completed a pass for 39 yards.

The Rollers have won five in a row, and stingy and quick defense has played a major part in their winning streak.
Steelton-Highspire claimed regular season victories over Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division rivals Middletown (27-7), Camp Hill (25-6), Milton Hershey (21-7) and Boiling Springs (40-13) to roll into the playoffs.

Against Middletown, a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown by Blanding sealed the Rollers’ victory, despite 189 yards rushing by the Blue Raiders’ Chris Holloman and 82 yards rushing by Josh Matinchek.

The Rollers’ last loss was a 28-14 defeat at the hands of Susquenita on Oct. 5.