Eric Foust guides Shippensburg to historic season
When Shippensburg football coach Eric Foust woke up on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 19, he immediately grabbed his phone.
He took to social media, thoughts running through his head.
Did that really happen? Did we really beat Bishop McDevitt? Did we really have a comeback like that?
Yes, Foust realized, the Greyhounds did.
The night prior, Foust made a gutsy call, sending Cameron Tinner out with 17 seconds left to attempt a two-point conversion that would put Shippensburg ahead by a digit in the District 3 Class 4A semifinals. This was after being down by two scores fewer than two minutes prior.
It could've been a terrible decision. But it wasn't. Foust led the Hounds to their first-ever district championship game, and he is the Public Opinion Football Coach of the Year.
When Foust reflected on this historic season, he hesitated for just a moment about his favorite memory.
"It has to be the end of the McDevitt game," Foust said. "No, actually, it was the morning after. Honest to goodness, I had to check to make sure what happened actually happened. That was tough to believe that night. I honestly felt, 'Did I just dream that?'"
There were a lot of dream moments for Foust and the Greyhounds in the coach's 15th season at the helm.
After rocketing out to a 7-0 start, the Hounds were humbled in a one-point loss to Northern York. But they quickly, pulled themselves together, winning their last two and setting up a much-desired rematch with the Polar Bears in the first round of the playoffs.
They scooted past Northern before gutting out the unbelievable victory over McDevitt and advancing to the program's first district title match.
"A lot of things happened well for us this year," Foust said. "We have very good athletes, and I've had the same coaching staff in place for a number of years, so that helps things a lot. Also, our community is great right now."
Over the past few years, Shippensburg has morphed from a traditional run-heavy, wing-T offense to a scheme that catered quite well to its last two quarterbacks, Tyler Gustafson and Carter Van Scyoc. The two combined for 4,389 passing yards over the last two years.
"I'm a defensive guy first, so to me, ball control is very important," Foust said. "For me to be willing to throw as much as we have, it has been a bit of an adjustment and time-change type thing.
"But if you ask us, we'll still tell you we run the wing-T. Our personnel dictates that we run the wing-T our way. We aren't traditional. In years past, we've been different depending on our kids. We've always adjusted."
It certainly worked this year for Foust, who had his best record since joining the Greyhound coaching staff. He has amassed an 89-72 (.553) career record in 15 years, and was also named the Mid Penn Colonial Division Coach of the Year.