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Can’t beat Mechanicsburg team chemistry

Everything is in place for Mechanicsburg to rewrite much of its high school football program history.

  • In Aeryton Erwin, the Indians have a great junior running back who has surpassed 2,000 yards rushing.
  • Receiver Brandon Purk continues to deliver in the clutch, averaging more than 20 yards per reception and accumulating 700-plus yards receiving.
  • Freshman Kaleb Romero has thrown for 1,118 yards and 13 scores since taking over as starter early this season.
  • Defensively, back Luke Marsh has seven interceptions and linebacker Tyler Lauchard, with 129 total stops, is closing in on the school’s single-season record for combined tackles/assists.

But the best Indians’ quality can’t be measured in stats.

“Team chemistry obviously starts with your seniors, but it has to come from unselfishness,” Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest reflected this week. “You can never have chemistry with selfish people. We have a group of kids who are all about the team. The definition of team is a group of people who come together to achieve a common goal. When you get kids believing and understanding that, then that’s a very powerful thing.”

The proof is in the postseason results. Mechanicsburg (11-2) will play Haviland Wayne Trace (12-1) in a Division VI state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. today at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field. It’s the deepest into the playoffs that Mechanicsburg has ever ventured.

Mechanicsburg dodged Ohio Heritage Conference rival West Liberty-Salem 34-28 in double overtime in last week’s D-VI, Region 22 final, also at Wapak.

Kirtland (13-0) plays Columbus Bishop Ready (12-1) at Mansfield in the other D-VI state semi today. The winners will play in next week’s state championship at Massillon or Canton.

Wayne Trace is anchored in the tiny village of Haviland in Paulding County just east of Fort Wayne, Ind. Members of the Green Meadows Conference, the Raiders advanced by lighting up Ada 68-14 last week.

A prolific passing team that often sends out five receivers, Wayne Trace has scored 40 or more points in all but two games. Trace has been especially lethal in the postseason, scoring a combined 160 points in its three playoff wins.

This is just the second season for Wayne Trace to qualify for the playoffs, joining its 2005 team.

“There’s a reason that they’re in the final four,” assured Forrest. “They’re a darn good football team.”

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