2016 Mid-Penn Colonial Division Champions / Most Powerful Team
Now that the 2016 Mid-Penn Colonial Division regular season is over, it is time for The Wizard to announce his 2016 Champion (going forward this team will be known as The Most Powerful Team, but for familiarity sake, right now they will also be known as the Champion).
Unlike the Mid-Penn Colonial Division's decision to have Co-Champions - this year the Co-Champions were the Waynesboro Indians and the Shippensburg Greyhounds, The Wizard does not believe in participation trophies or that there is more than 1 Best Team, there can only be one Champion. Everyone else is a loser.
And the 2016 Mid-Penn Colonial Division Champion/Most Powerful Team is the Waynesboro Indians!
The Indians ended the 2016 football season with a Power Ranking of 124.99 with a record of 7-3 and 6-1 in the conference compared to the Greyhounds 122.64 with a record of 9-1 and 6-1 in the Mid-Penn.
How did the Indians beat out the Greyhounds?
Although Waynesboro had more losses than Shippensburg, 3 compared to 1, the Indians had a harder non-Conference schedule. Waynesboro was 1-2 in the non-conference but that non-conference schedule included -
1. A loss to Red Lion (10 - 0 record, ranked ranked #3 in AAAAAA in District 3)
2. A loss to Lancaster Catholic (7-3 record, ranked #5 in AAA in District 3)
3. A win to Gettysburg (6-4 record, ranked #12 in AAAA in District 3)
Whereas, although Shippensburg was 3-0, they played a weaker schedule -
1. A win to Dover (4-6 record, ranked 22nd in AAAAA in District 3)
2. A win to Chambersburg (1-9 record, ranked 16 in AAAAAA in District 3)
3. A win to Bermudian Springs (8-2 record, ranked 3 in AAA in District 3)
So here Waynesboro's losses to very strong opponents did not have a large negative impact on their power ranking. In addition, while Waynesboro lost to Shippensburg in the regular season, that loss was only by 3 points, which is near the expected home field advantage bias and therefore again would indicate that Waynesboro and Shippensburg are evenly matched.
The determining factor in this Championship calculation was that Waynesboro beat Mifflin County 35 - 5 whereas Shippensburg had a much closer battle with Mifflin County 35 - 30 and actually almost lost that game. Also Shippensburg fell to Northern York 16 - 17 whereas Waynesboro beat the Polar Bears 13 - 0.
Why were the Indians so strong?
While the Indians had a 1 - 3 start to the season, once the Indians found their groove, they were able to rack up some impressive numbers, starting with the fact that they out scored their opponents 226 - 37 over the last 6 games of the year.
The Passing Game - while the overall yardage has been on the decline - 2,400 yards in 2014 down to only 900 yards in 2016, starting QB Brady Riddell has not made the big mistakes that have plagued the Indians in the past and had a respectable 9 TD to 3 INT ratio compared to 16 and 18 INTs thrown by Boro QBs in the last 2 years. On the receiving side of things Cameron Keck has an amazing 26 yard per catch average - giving him 659 yards on only 25 catches. This is due to the downfield nature of the Waynesboro passing attack. You don't see many screens or short routes from this team.
The Running Game - a strong rushing game has been a staple of the Waynesboro offensive attack for many years and this year was no different. Brady Beckner took over where Jake Wertz left off last year - adding 1,390 yards rushing while average almost 11 yards or to look at it another way a first down each rushing attempt and also added 13 rushing TDs. Beckner also had a strong supporting cast of change of pace back Mason Frampton and a group of grinding backs - Forrest Rhyne, Dylan Cummings and also QB Brady Riddell. Combined this support cast has almost another 1,000 yards rushing and 16 TDs.
The Defense - on the defensive side of the ball Waynesboro the only stat that truly matters is how many points have you given up. And on this question Waynesboro has dropped the points given up per game from 21.9 pts per game in 2015 to 13.5 pts per game in 2016, or giving up less than 2 touchdowns per game and over the final 6 games of the season that numbers dropped down to 6.2 pts or less than a single touchdown. The defensive leader all year has been Forrest Rhyne who has 90 tackles including 63 solo tackles and 16 tackles for loss, all of which are team highs. Rhyne also got help from teammates Dylan Cummings, Mason Frampton and Daniel Worthy who all added 4 sacks to the defensive efforts.
Special Teams - Waynesboro could breathe easy after their touchdowns for the first time in a long time as George Souders has proven to be solid all-around kicker for the Indians. Souders was 41/42 on extra points and added 2 field goals for a total of 47 points. Souders was also strong in the kickoff and punt games as well, flipping field position for the Indians but averaging 38 yards per punt and providing consistent kickoffs.
Where to now?
The Indians will now face #1 Governor Mifflin (9-1) in the District 3 AAAAA playoffs next Friday, November 11 @ Governor Mifflin. The Wizard will be providing a blog article called Know Thy Opponent - Playoff Edition which will break down the teams each Mid-Penn Colonial Division team will be playing this coming week.