For The Daily Item
ELIZABETHVILLE — Upper Dauphin is turning its offense into a pick-your-poison choice for opposing defenses.
Mac Ney tore apart the Line Mountain defense for 273 yards on the ground and three scores as Upper Dauphin defeated the Eagles 27-0 in a Tri-Valley League battle to help and solidify its District 3 Class A playoff seeding.
“The line really opened the holes for me,” Ney said. “I obviously had to run but there were holes there for me. I didn’t have to do much but get in space and take off and use my legs.”
After Trey Campbell ran for 265 yards in a win last week, Ney continued the streak of Trojans’ rushers to surpass 250 yards by routinely calling his own number out of shotgun and pistol formations.
“(Ney and Campbell) are a tough duo to stop,” Upper Dauphin coach Brent Bell said.
Bell credited his fullback, Cole Reed, for helping to open running lanes for Ney and Campbell.
“(Reed) just does a fantastic job,” Bell said. “He’s in there every play knocking people around and I just can’t give him enough credit.”
Once he found a seam, Ney gained a large chunk of yardage to keep the chains moving and keep the Line Mountain (3-6, 2-6 TVL) defense off-balance. When Ney handed the ball off, the Trojans (6-3, 5-3 TVL) found similar success with Campbell finishing with 146 yards and a touchdown.
Starting with the opening play from scrimmage, Ney made the Eagles’ defense chase him down the field, giving a glimpse of the type of night that the Eagles had in store.
Ney found a hole on the right side, tight-roped the sideline and sprinted into the end zone. A penalty took the touchdown off the board but kept the ball in Line Mountain territory, where unfortunately for the Eagles, the Trojans spent much of the night.
The Eagles forced the Trojans into a fourth-and-four just into the red zone at the 20, but Ney turned the tables with his legs, scrambling ahead to escape a pass rush and finding open space for the score.
While Ney and Campbell each having a productive game could have been enough of a problem by itself, the Upper Dauphin defense was equally as tough.
After the Ney score, the Trojans stacked the box against the Line Mountain running game after a reception for a first down to force the Eagles into a quick punt.
While the Trojans did not score on the possession, they were able to flip the field, moving the ball deep into Eagles territory before giving the ball back on downs.
Throughout the game, the Trojans did not allow the Eagles to gain any traction running the football, save for a 23-yard run by Ryan Reed after which the Trojans forced a fumble to stall an early second-quarter drive.
Ney and Campbell went back to work after the ensuing punt, with two bruising runs by Campbell allowed Ney to use his speed and elusiveness to finish the drive.
After extending the possession with a 16-yard run to convert a third down from their own 22, the Trojans did not waste plays before hitting a home run.
Ney broke free with his linemen and Cole Reed springing him forward and sprinted 62 yards for a score to put the Trojans ahead 14-0 midway through the second quarter.
While the Eagles were unable to find the end zone, Cory Warford finished with 75 yards on the ground to pass 1,000 yards on the year after entering the game with 999.
The tandem in the backfield for the Trojans continued to break the game wide-open on the first possession of the second half.
His line opened a large hole and Ney took advantage, blasting his way upfield and turning on the jets to race in for another score. Four minutes later, Campbell found the end zone from 45 yards out off a handoff up the middle to put the Trojans ahead by 27.
With a fumble recovery late in the third quarter, the Trojans started a time-melting drive, taking eight minutes off of the clock to help and seal the win.