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Wolfpack Dominate Defensively, Win Class D Title

The CSP Wolfpack came to Syracuse with one goal in mind – returning home as state champions. Mission accomplished.

The Wolfpack rode a stellar defensive effort and timely scoring to defeat Moriah of Section VII 26-6 to emerge as Class D’s state champion – the first in the history of the program and it couldn’t have come any sweeter than it did, according to coach Ty Harper.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Harper said. “Our kids have been incredible… this is surreal right now. It’s not going to sink in for a few days, but it feels every bit as great as everyone tells you it’s going to feel.”

Junior quarterback Gerrit Hinsdale, the game’s most valuable player, wholeheartedly agreed.

Photo by Mark Adair / Football Weekly

“We’re going to soak up this feeling until probably February,” Hinsdale said. “When I knew we were going to win, I went straight over to my brother – who’s our team manager – and just started thinking about us throwing the ball around the backyard when we were kids. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and without my coaches and teammates.”

The first half of the Wolfpack’s win was characterized by two factors – defense and penalties. CSP allowed just 153 total yards of offense throughout the contest and each unit recorded multiple sacks and turnovers and didn’t allow a score.

“Our defense has been incredible the entire year,” Harper said. “We went a span of four weeks where we gave up only seven points, and it’s a credit to (defensive coordinator) Chris Payne and the kids with their preparation at practice. They’re so tenacious and they really kept us in the game and gave us a chance.”

Neither side was willing to give in. But it didn’t last, as Gerrit Hinsdale connected with Cameron Barmore on a 32-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.

More of the same occurred throughout the third quarter as neither offense could get on the board and CSP allowed just 153 total yards of offense throughout the contest. However, a lateral from Cameron Barmore to John Swabik on a hook and ladder play went 23 yards for a CSP touchdown with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter, and the rout was soon on.

Photo by Mark Adair / Football Weekly

It was a gutsy call to make given the circumstances, and Harper had a strong feeling that it would pay off.

“The play call was ‘Trips Gun Right Rip Hitch and Pitch,” Harper said. “We used the same play last year against Maple Grove in the semifinals. It’s my favorite big-game trick play to use, but it hadn’t looked good in practice for the last three weeks. It finally started to work the last couple of days, and we thought if there was a moment where we needed a big play, why not give it a shot?”

“Our two playmakers made huge plays there. Barmore’s our go-to receiver and Swabick’s our fastest guy. There’s no way it would have worked if they didn’t make it happen.”

“When coach made the call to use the hook and ladder, I remembered that we used it last year in the playoffs and it worked,” Hinsdale said. “I was like, ‘This better work or we’re going to be in trouble.’ Thankfully it was the right call, and it was probably the turning point of the game.”

Robert Overton increased the lead to 19-0 with a three-yard touchdown run four minutes later and Michael Beatman recorded a pick-six to seal the win for the Wolfpack with 2:57 left.

Jerin Sargent notched the lone score for the Vikings with a four-yard touchdown reception.

Photo by Mark Adair / Football Weekly

What made this championship so special for CSP is how quickly it came together for them. Four years ago, Clymer, Sherman and Panama merged their football programs; not many thought they would have the success they have had. According to Harper, it was a dream come true.

“To go from a newly-merged program four years ago to walking off the Carrier Dome field as state champions? I mean you couldn’t write that story,” Harper said. “I guess you can now.”

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