By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
After Friday’s game was over, Line Mountain’s seniors posed together for a photograph with assistant coach Darwin “Shubby” Marquette, who was being honored for his 50 years of service as a coach.
So it was only fitting then that on senior night, the seniors stepped up to deliver a solid all-around performance in honor of “Shubby” with a 42-14 rout of Upper Dauphin at Glenn Ressler Field at Eagle Stadium in a Tri-Valley League game.
“Other than Glenn (Ressler), you think Line Mountain football, you think ‘Shubby’ Marquette. He’s just a great person and he does it for the kids,” Line Mountain coach Rodney Knock said after the game as his players surrounded Marquette.
Those seniors who stepped up included quarterback Cole Rickert and receivers Dillan Michael, Codi Morris, Jeremy Renn and Erik Smeltz.
Rickert to Smeltz was a combination that Upper Dauphin (3-6, 3-5 TVL) could not stop. Smeltz reeled in seven receptions for a staggering 171 yards — 136 in the first half — and a touchdown. Smeltz caught majority of his passes lining up in the tight end position which the Trojans didn’t necessarily zone in on, leaving Smeltz open in the secondary and Rickert took advantage, such as a 77-yard slant on Line Mountain’s first possession.
Rickert ended the game tossing 245 yards on 13 completions.
Offensively, Rickert and the Eagles offense moved the ball with ease. The Eagles (8-1, 7-1 TVL) started the game with two straight drives of 88 and 68 yards, respectively, that lead to touchdowns before Rickert threw his lone interception.
After that? Four straight touchdown drives en route to a 42-0 lead.
“The line up front, they do great, they keep everyone out, they give me the time to throw. Our backs do a good job blocking when they’re not breaking into routes,” Rickert said. “Our receivers make me look a lot better than I really do sometimes.”
While the Line Mountain offense tallied 369 yards of total offense, the defense played just as well in the win.
In the first half, Upper Dauphin punted the ball away four times (going three-and-out three times) and quarterback MacKenzie Ney threw two interceptions — both to Michael — and had only 21 passing yards through the first half. The end result of all that was a total net of three yards.
“I thought overall tonight was our most solid game in all facets of the football game: offensively, defensively and special teams, even though we had a couple penalties,” Knock said.
With the win all but assured and Line Mountain’s second string in halfway through the third quarter, Upper Dauphin started putting some drives together, including two straight touchdown drives of 75 and 70 yards, respectively.
The main key offensively for the Trojans was junior Trey Campbell, who ran for 136 yards — almost all of which occurred in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles defense gave up little offensively to the Trojans in the first three quarters however, including not allowing the Trojans to convert a third down until 2:54 to play in the third quarter. Upper Dauphin ended the game going just 3-for-11 on third down conversions, found the red zone only once and had just one drive penetrate Eagles’ territory in the first half.
“Our defensive coordinator does a great job with the kids,” Knock said. “The kids, they play tough, they play hard, they played excited.”