FOOTBALL: Hempfield surges past Lampeter-Strasburg, 41-21
The prevailing word here is "finish."
The Hempfield football team worked true to their mantra in week 1 of the 2015 high school football schedule, racking up 500-plus rushing yards as the Black Knights (1-0) bested the visiting Pioneers of Lampeter-Strasburg (0-1) by a 41-21 final.
That, after a 7-7 halftime deadlock in which a 17-play Hempfield drive at the end of the second quarter came up empty.
"Coming up short on that drive, we just got reminded of that goal. Finish, finish the drives and just no let up," said quarterback Sam Kramer, who engineered Hempfield's option run game to perfection with both he and running back Will Blair breaking 200 yards.
The third quarter so Blair (21 rushes, 222 yards, 3 TDs) and Kramer (25-201, 2 TDs) each score touchdowns only to have the Pioneers strike back quickly. After Blair's two-yard plunge with 6:29 left in the third, Lampeter-Strasburg returner Shawn Lawler took the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to the two-yard line, with Lawler eventually finding the endzone for a 1-yard touchdown.
Lawler finished with 54 yards rushing and two touchdowns on eight totes, also catching 7 passes for 96 yards from dynamic quarterback Collin "Bear" Shank (13-25, 214).
"We didn't really have any specific scheme, we knew (Shank) was a great player," said Blair, who serves as linebacker on defense. "We didn't blitz as much, we just wanted to stop the pass more."
After Kramer scored on a 25-yard scamper, Shank found tight end Darren Metz for an 85 yard touchdown on a seam route on the Pioneers' very next play from scrimmage.
"We have more weapons than some people give us credit for," L-S coach John Manion said. "We're not just Bear Shank. We have to find a way to get that ball in everybody's hand, we have to mix the run and pass a little bit better. We had too many big plays; we needed to keep our defense off the field."
But the Pioneers' defense, consisting of several two-way players, would succumb to both cramping issues and the Hempfield ground game in the fourth quarter.
After Kramer's 31-yard run to take the lead for good, 28-21, Tyson Jackson ran a sweep around the end for a 47-yard score before Blair capped things off with his third touchdown, a 9-yard burst.
"Finish," Manion borrowed, regarding what he wants to see the most out of his team heading into next week. "Finish all of it, plain and simple. Finish our blocks, finish our tackles, and finish with the guys we have in the game."
Blair also opened the scoring on the Black Knights' second play from scrimmage with a 58-yard score to pay-dirt.
"Certainly Will can find the creases," said Hempfield head coach Ron Zeiber. "The outside plays they were putting seven in the box and we thought we could take advantage of that."
"We have a good veteran (offensive line) who just play lights out up front, and also the little things with wide receivers blocking on the edge and the running backs giving good fakes just to setup the play," Kramer said of the success on the ground. "It's completely a group effort and it's nice to see that come together."
As for Kramer, the veteran signal-caller took the fourth quarter into his own hands.
"The whole fourth quarter, Sam called everything, I didn't make a single call," Zeiber said. "I said, 'Sam, here's the four plays we have based on what we were getting.' He's a smart football kid and he's practically a four-year starter for us. He wanted to play at more pace. Guys pride themselves on the fact that come fourth quarter, we can still go and actually increase the pace."
Which allows for an exciting finish.
"He was making great reads all night," Blair said. "He was making his own calls at the end of the game. It was just a really impressive night by Sam and I'm really proud of him."
The victory was also special for Hempfield as they were playing in honor of teammate Evan Pritchard, whose father passed away a week ago. "It was just a little extra motivation, we already had motivation but we just wanted to play for Pritchard and his family," added Blair.
"It was a great family moment," Kramer said of the post-game celebration in which Pritchard was honored, "and a great momentum builder into next week."
FIRST DOWNS 13 27
RUSHES / YARDS 21-85 55-514
PASSING YARDS 214 30
TOTAL YARDS 299 562
COMP / ATT / INT 13-25-1 2-9-1
SACKED / YDS LOST 0-0 0-0
FUMBLES / LOST 0-0 0-0
PUNTS / AVG 3-35.3 1-53
PENALTIES / YARDS 5-43 4-36
SCORE BY QUARTER:
|Q1| |Q2| |Q3| |Q4| --- FINAL
LS 00 07 14 0 --- 21
HM 07 00 14 20 --- 41
Q1 - HM - 11:23 W. Blair 58-yd run (C. Kosmela kick) 0-7
Q2 - LS - 7:32 S. Lawler 3-yd run (P. Denlinger kick) 7-7
Q3 - HM - 6:29 W. Blair 2-yd run (C. Kosmela kick) 7-14
Q3 - LS - 5:33 S. Lawler 1-yd run (P. Denlinger kick) 14-14
Q3 - HM - 2:34 S. Kramer 25-yd run (C. Kosmela kick) 14-21 Q3 - LS - 2:16 D. Metz 85-yd pass from C. Shank (P. Denlinger kick) 21-21
Q4 - HM - 11:52 S. Kramer 31-yd run (C. Kosmela kick) 28-21
Q4 - HM - 7:18 T. Jackson 47-yd run (try failed) 34-21
Q4 - HM - 4:22 W. Blair 9-yd run (C. Kosmela kick) 41-21
LS - C. Shank 13-25-1-214
HM - S. Kramer 2-9-1-30
LS - D. Metz 1-85, C. Gaudino 2-13, S. Lawler 7-96, K. Metz 0-0, G. Grau 1-6, J. Jennings 0-0, A. Hay 2-14
HM - W. Miller 1-19, B. Sahd 1-11
LS - C. Shank 8-16, G. Groshong 2-2, C. Gaudino 3-13, S. Lawler 8-54
HM - W. Blair 21-222, S. Kramer 25-201, A. Green 3-19, B. Flores 3-20, D. Powers 1--3, M. Himmelsbach 1-8, S. Whitehead 0-0, T. Jackson 1-47