Mounts show progress but fall to Garden Spot

By on September 12, 2012

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Ephrata quarterback Justin Mease (18) looks for running room against Garden Spot. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ephrata definitely made some progress between Weeks One and Two of the high school football season.

No question about that.

The Mounts not only cut down on some of the mistakes they made in a 42-0 loss to Exeter, but their defense allowed just one score and forced four turnovers Friday night in the home opener vs. Garden Spot at War Memorial.

Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough to result in a victory.

Garden Spot returned a punt for a score and added an interception for another touchdown. And the Spartan defense was stout, limiting the Mounts to just 111 total yards to key a 21-0 shutout victory over Ephrata.

Despite the loss, Ephrata Coach Scott Shelley said he continues to see positive signs as his team moves forward.

"I’m not real concerned at this point," Shelley said Tuesday. "I think we are going to continue to improve and I see every week that we are having improvement and that’s all we can ask for. We are improving. They are starting to see things when they make mistakes…We are getting better, but it’s just going to take time."

Friday night after a scoreless first quarter, the Spartan defense struck first when Seth Rehrer stepped in front of a Justin Mease pass and returned it 29 yards for the score to give Garden Spot a 7-0 lead.

After Ephrata’s next possession stalled, Adam Haas made it 14-0 when he returned a punt 53 yards for another touchdown.

Then in the third, the Spartans got the final points of the night when quarterback Mitch Martin (7-14-2 89) hooked up with Mike Harrison on a 22-yard touchdown pass.

Haas led the Spartans offensively with 132 yards on 18 carries.

As for the Ephrata offense, the Mounts had just eight first downs and for the second-straight week failed to get into the endzone. Blake Weaver was the leading ballcarrier, finishing with 25 yards on nine carries.

‘I think the problem we are having with the offense is we are just inexperienced," Shelley said. "It’s just a learning curve that we have to go through to give the kids an understanding of how to block properly, and to make sure they are driving people out of the hole instead of into the hole. They are working hard to get there…It’s just taking time."

The Mounts will look to get on track this Friday in Lititz when they renew one of the longest standing rivalries in the state as they battle host Warwick with the George Male Trophy on the line.

In a series that dates back to 1931, this one has been one-sided in recent years as Warwick has taken the last seven contests and 10 of the last 13.

Shelley, a 1971 Ephrata graduate, was asked his feelings on playing the Warriors.

"(When I played) Warwick was always our biggest rival," he said. "Nowadays it’s Cocalico for a lot of these kids, but Warwick was always the big game for me. All my cousins went to Warwick and I got to play or coach against them. It always meant a little more to me just from that aspect of it. It’s a lot of fun."

As for facing this year’s Warwick team, which is 1-1 and coming off a 21-20 victory over Conestoga Valley Friday night, Shelley said it will be a challenge.

"They have an excellent line," he said. "They have the (Tom) Devenney boy (at running back), and looking at the quarterback (Zack Hurst), he’s good. And I think they have running backs who really go hard and some real good receivers. They have a good defense that was able to hold CV and (Anthony) Brown down.

"For us, it’s another bar. It’s up there and we got to get up to it and meet it. That’s where we are at with it. What we really have to do is take care of ourselves. We’ve got to look at ourselves and make sure we are improving every week and doing things the way they are being taught. That’s what we really have to look at at this point in time." More MOUNTS, page B-4

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