Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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Eagles top Mounts


Two teams, the last game of the regular season and both with something on the horizon.
 
For one, Cocalico, the horizon is next week and the opening round of the District Three Class AAA playoffs. For Ephrata, the horizon is more distant. It's next season, one that may take it to a new section.
 
Cocalico rolled up 48 first-half points, putting the mercy rule in effect in the second half, en route to a 48-7 [box score] victory over Ephrata on Friday night in Denver.
 
Next week, the Eagles will host a yet to be determined opponent, likely Gettysburg, at 7 p.m.
 
Cocalico senior running back Spencer Moser said his team will be ready.
 
"Right now, it's our own destiny to go as far as a we want to go,'' he said.
 
Ephrata finished the season without a win. There is a move afoot to send the Mounts to Section Three next season. There, they should be more competitive.
 
"I think it would be a positive for our program,'' Ephrata coach Scott Shelley said.
 
The Eagles (6-1 Section Three, 9-1 overall) scored on first-quarter interception returns for touchdowns by Mitch Deering and Tucker Lescoe and added a pair of rushing TDs by Moser to take a 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
 
Cocalico needed just three plays in two possessions to score two more TDs early in the second quarter with Brad Whittaker going 26 yards around the left end and quarterback Jhett Janis keeping the ball on the option and heading down the left sideline for 59 yards and a score.
 
Janis (five carries, 97 yards), the Eagles' starting quarterback, was held out of the team's first offensive and defensive series due to "a team decision,'' according to Cocalico coach Dave Gingrich.
 
Before Cocalico played the second half with reserves, Devon Delpiano finished Cocalico's scoring with a 15-yard counter TD run.
 
The Mounts (0-7, 0-10) scored their lone TD early in the fourth with Dakota Keefer (16 carries, 89 yards) going in from the 3.
 
These types of games are never easy for either team. In this case, Ephrata didn't have the experience to stop Cocalico's first team and Cocalico doesn't want to run up the score yet they want to get sharp for the playoffs.
 
"I think we're better in some areas and not as good in others,'' said Gingrich, when asked how his team shapes up for the playoffs. "I think our defense is playing outstanding right now so we may be a notch above there. Special teams, we're a little better and offensively, we may be a notch down.''
 
Friday's win over Ephrata was the Eagles' seventh mercy rule game.
 
"Our starters want to play football and will be ready to go,'' Gingrich said. "I'm looking forward to the next several weeks, however long it is.''
 
Shelley will have a few months to get his team ready for next season. As inexperienced as the Mounts were this season, they could be just as inexperienced next season, which makes the move to Section Three that much more appealing.
 
"We've been devastated by injuries and the kids we're putting in there have given everything they can,'' Shelley said. "(Section Three) will help us compete on a weekly basis.''