MANCHESTER – Rematches in high school football are pretty rare.
Rematches on consecutive weeks are almost unheard of in the sport.
Still, that's exactly the situation that the Northeastern and New Oxford football teams found themselves in Friday evening during the first round of the District 3 Class 5-A playoffs.
A week after the Bobcats earned a dominating win over the Colonials in their York-Adams League regular-season finale, the two sides were paired up this week in the district opener.
Given a second chance to work on some things, the New Oxford boys made sure the ending to Friday’s sequel was completely different.
Led by a big night from quarterback Brayden Long (two rushing touchdowns, three passing TDs) and a stout defense, the Colonials earned their revenge with a convincing 41-14 triumph.
New Oxford (7-4) moves on to the 5-A quarterfinals next Friday against No. 2 seed Cedar Cliff (8-2). That contest is slated for 7 p.m. at Cedar Cliff High School. Cedar Cliff had a bye in the first round.
“They’re a good team,” Northeastern coach Jon Scepanski said of New Oxford. “Yes, we won last week. And it’s difficult to physically and mentally prepare to play a good football team two times.”
The Colonials' defense was certainly a difference maker Friday. The New Oxford defenders held Manny Capo, the leading rusher in the York-Adams League, to just 93 yards on 19 carries.
It was Capo who ran roughshod over the New Oxford defense just a week previous with a monster game that included 261 yards on 42 carries.
“Everything was focused on (Capo),” New Oxford coach Jason Warner said. “I mean, we had to shut down the run. He rushed for close to 300 yards last week and we knew that we had to shut down their run game.”
Another difference maker was the inordinate amount of penalties that were called throughout the night. While both New Oxford and Northeastern (7-4) are Y-A squads, the crew that officiated the contest was from the Mid-Penn Conference.
In total, the two sides were called for more than 20 penalties for more than 200 yards on the night. The Bobcats alone were flagged nine times for 103 yards just in the first half.
While Scepanski was certainly not enamored by seeing so many yellow flags on the field – especially the ones against his club – he refused to blame the outcome on them.
“We put ourselves in many bad situations with the penalties,” Scepanski said. “It was all night long. And we have to just move on to the next play. We can’t control what happened and we needed to move on and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”
Miscues were also costly for the Bobcats, who turned the ball over three times.
Earning a decisive victory just a week ago, the Bobcat players were understandably upset on the field afterwards. That was especially the case with the seniors, who helped take this program to back-to-back district playoff berths.
“This group of seniors means everything,” Scepanski said. “I mean, this group has bought into the program pretty well. We’re going to miss them. We’ll miss them on the field, but also in the school. I told them: 'They’ll always be a Bobcat and we’re always here to support them.'"
Notes: Wide receiver Jordan Lagana scored both of Northeastern’s touchdowns Friday. Both, however, came on run plays. The Bobcats used the speedy wideout for sweeps throughout the night. Lagana tallied 123 total yards of offense (71 rushing, 52 receiving).
Noah Strausbaugh intercepted a pair of passes for the Colonials, which were turned into 10 points on offense.
Long, who broke the Adams County all-time career passing yardage record a week ago, drew to within one TD pass of the record (67) after tossing three Friday. Long finished the night 13 for 25 passing for 272 yards with zero interceptions. He also ran nine times for 49 yards. His favorite target, as normal, was Abdul Janneh, who had six receptions for 128 yards with a TD.
New Oxford 14 10 14 3 - 41
Northeastern 7 0 7 0 - 14
NO - Brayden Long 10 run (Patrick Parrish kick), 7:19
NE - Jordan Lagana 10 run (Alex Afata kick), 3:56
NO - Abdul Janneh 38 pass from Long (Parrish kick), 2:01
NO - Connor Herring 36 pass from Long (Parrish kick), 5:47
NO - Parrish 26 FG, :05
NE - Lagana 25 run (Afata kick), 4:52
NO - Tayshawn Golden 43 pass from Long (Parrish kick), 3:05
NO - Long 2 run (Parrish kick), 52.6
NO - Parrish 24 FG, 5:47
First downs 17 15
Rushing yards 28-121 37-177
Passing 13-26-0 12-19-2
Passing yards 272 122
Total yards 393 299
Penalties 7-90 15-173
Fumbles 1-0 1-1
Rushing: NO – Brayden Long 9-49, Erik Johnson 8-43, Hunter Sheaffer 7-39, Stanley Hedrick 2-(-4), Connor Beans 2-(-6). NE – Manny Capo 19-93, Jordan Lagana 10-71, Dalton Moyer 2-8, Zech Sanderson 2-(-6), Adam Stockbower 1-9, Bre’yon Moore 1-4, Nathan Toomey 1-(-2).
Passing: NO – Long 13-25-0 272. NE – Sanderson 12-19-2 122.
Receiving: NO – Abdul Janneh 6-128, Connor Herring 4-69, Tayshawn Golden 1-43, Dawaun Golden 1-35, Sheaffer 1-(-3). NE – Lagana 5-52, Kaden Hamilton 4-53, Cawon Chatman 1-6, Eric Davenport 1-6, Jackson Burnham 1-5.