MECHANICSBURG – Unbeaten Mechanicsburg hosts Williamsburg (8-2) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a first-round Division VI, Region 22 playoff matchup.
The Indians have been operating at an extremely high level all season, activating the running clock in all 10 regular season matchups. That rule, in its second season of existence, only comes into effect when a team leads by 30 or more points in the second half. Only one team in the state had 10 running clock games last season, failing to activate it in Week 11.
From an offensive perspective, M’burg looks like a juggernaut led by junior quarterback Kaleb Romero, who owns the school’s career offensive yardage record and has been building on it since midseason.
“From an offensive standpoint, we really feel like having an athletic quarterback like Kaleb, the numbers game is always in our favor,” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest explained.
When teams are playing defense against the Indians, they are forced to account for Romero’s superlative running ability, which often means loading up the box and playing man-to-man on the outside.
But that also spells doom for opposing defenses, because M’burg can beat you with a handful of athletes on the left, the right or up the middle. The offense is like a hydra, but nobody has figured out how to cut off even a single head so far this season.
“We feel like there’s always one or maybe more that will be able to get open,” Forrest said. “It’s a testament to the athleticism and skill of our kids, but also their unselfishness.”
During the year, M’burg averaged more than 10 yards per play on offense.
“It’s a testament to how complete this team is. Every position on this football team has a very good football player in it,” Forrest said. “Our kids understand that it’s not easy to do that. They have a healthy respect for how hard it is to move the football. There’s a lot of humbleness that goes into their blue collar work ethic.”
On defense, the Indians are a fundamentally sound group that will have to stick to that blueprint against a run-heavy Williamsburg team that features a pair of 1,000-yard backs and a capable running quarterback.
“They don’t throw the ball a lot, but they’re very deceptive. They’re very tricky, with a lot of misdirection,” Forrest said.
And defensively? Will the visitors pose a threat to the Indians’ high-octane attack?
“I see a group of kids that play really, really hard and really, really fast,” Forrest said, adding that if his squad does what they’re supposed to, he’ll be happy.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller