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Happy Homecoming: Blue Raiders run wild over winless Trinity, 42-0

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 10/17/18

The sky cleared, football fans got a whiff of real football weather and the Blue Raiders treated the large home crowd to a 42-0 shutout victory over visiting Trinity High School on Saturday in the …

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Happy Homecoming: Blue Raiders run wild over winless Trinity, 42-0

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The sky cleared, football fans got a whiff of real football weather and the Blue Raiders treated the large home crowd to a 42-0 shutout victory over visiting Trinity High School on Saturday in the annual Homecoming weekend game at War Memorial Field.

The Middletown offense scored 21 points in the first quarter, 14 more in the second and 7 in the final period to post the win, the team’s seventh of the season against one loss.

The Blue Raiders ran for 421 yards. Jose Lopez had 14 carries for 104 yards, and Richie Sykes had 114 yards on just 4 runs.

Two more regular-season games remain, Friday’s contest at East Pennsboro and next week’s finale at home against Palmyra. Winning both will lock up the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division title and vault the Raiders into the District III-AAA playoffs.  They currently stand at No. 2 in the power rankings, behind Lancaster Catholic, with the top six teams making the playoffs.

On Saturday, the winless Shamrocks gave little resistance.

“Yes, that went as we thought it would. Trinity has some injuries and only dressed 23 players. They are struggling,” head coach Brett Myers said. “Our kids did what we wanted them to do.”

The Shamrocks won the pre-game coin toss, but little went right for them after that despite having a few good plays.

Following a three-and-out by Trinity to start the game, the Blue Raiders struck quickly. On the first play from scrimmage, sophomore Odell Greene ran for 32 yards. Scott Ash’s pass of 10 yards to sophomore Tim Wagner netted 10 more to the Trinity 16. Lopez ran twice for 8 yards each including his dash up the middle for the touchdown with 9:39 left in the opening quarter. Anthony LaVia added the first of 6 extra point kicks to make it 7-0.

Trinity’s offense showed some life following Avery Williams’ kickoff. The unit picked up a pair of first downs in a drive that reached the Middletown 40. But, on third and five, Cole Senior and Ethan Miller sacked Trinity quarterback Daniel Scott for an 8-yard loss, forcing a punt.

The Raiders took over at the 20 and picked up just one yard on two plays, bringing up a third-and-long. But Sykes took care of that on the next play as he broke free and raced 64 yards to the Trinity 15 to set up the Raiders’ next score.

Following a false start and an incomplete pass, Ash and Wagner hooked up again, for 14 yards to the 6. After an offsides penalty moved the ball to the three, Green went up the right side for the touchdown with 3:58 left.

Chris Joseph and Morgan Billman made defensive stops on second and third down to force another Trinity punt that went out of bounds at the Middletown 42 and the Blue Raiders struck again. Greene started off the drive with a 15-yard reception and ended it with a 27-yard touchdown run on a sweep left following a pair of Lopez runs. With 1:19 still on the first quarter clock, the home team had taken a 21-0 lead.

The ensuing Trinity drive that carried into the second stanza was aided by a pair of Middletown penalties but ended at the Middletown 46 as Adonis Taveras first sacked Scott for a 5-yard loss and Quincy Reinnagel dropped him again on third and 12.

With 8:23 left in the first half, the Middletown offense was back in business at its own 20. After Lopez carried three times for 19 yards and Ash took a keeper 10 yards to the midfield stripe, Sykes lit up the home crowd with another big run. Starting left on a sweep, Sykes picked up a great downfield block from Billman, made two quick moves cutting to the middle of the field and ducked under a would-be tackler at the 25 on his way to the 50-yard touchdown sprint. With 5:06 left, the home team had a comfortable 28-0 lead.

Two plays into Trinity’s next possession, Antonio Bryant intercepted Scott’s throw, returning the ball to the Shamrock 10. A face-mask penalty gave the Raiders a first and goal at the five. It took just one play, an Ash-to-Greene swing pass around the right end, that pushed the visitors into a 35-0 hole with nearly five minutes still left in the first half.

After going three-and-out on their next series, the Shamrocks got a big break when the Raiders lost the ball on a punt return. But the Middletown defense again took care of things, another sack stopping the drive at midfield. The Raiders nearly scored again but ran out of time after reaching the Trinity 9.

The 35-0 lead set the mercy clock in motion, and Myers played his starters just part of the third quarter. With Trayvon Joseph, Jeremy Wells and Gage Radabaugh leading the way, the defense stopped the Shamrocks at the 31 midway through the third and the Blue Raiders took over on downs from there.

With Dylon Zettlemoyer running the offense and feeding Wagner, the Raiders reached the Trinity 40 before a sack backed them up to midfield. The third quarter ended with the Raiders sitting at the 15 following runs by Greene and Zettlemoyer.

Two plays into the fourth frame, Wagner dashed 8 yards for Middletown’s sixth touchdown. Trinity made some headway against the Raiders’ second defense before Ryan Goff, Damien Willams, Ariel Paulino and Jarrod Pugh made key stops to halt the drive at the 35.

Keeping the ball on the ground, Wagner and Tajae Broadie shared the load and the Raiders ran out the final five minutes, denying the Shamrocks another chance at breaking their scoreless drought.

The solid work of linemen Billman, Miller, Senior, Joe Gusler and Collin Heffner up front helped Greene finish with 87 yards on 6 carries. Ash had 19 yards on two keepers, Wagner closed out the game with 47 yards and Broadie recorded 52 yards on 4 carries.

Ash completed 5 of 9 passes for 46 yards.