HARRISBURG — McCaskey's football team, looking for a game this weekend after Penn Manor had to postpone its L-L League Section One clash against the Red Tornado because of positive COVID-19 tests in the school district, knew what it was getting into when it agreed to play Harrisburg.
Saturday afternoon, the Cougars lived up to all their hype.
Kiev Gregg rushed for 94 yards and four touchdowns, and Harrisburg's defense put on absolute clinic in a 49-0 victory over McCaskey at venerable Severance Field.
The Cougars (2-0) piled up 204 rushing yards, 325 total yards, 20 first downs and triggered the mercy rule with a 42-point first-half onslaught.
But it was Harrisburg's defense that shone brightest, stuffing McCaskey for minus-20 rushing yards on 18 attempts, to minus-8 yards total, and zero first downs. The Tornado crossed midfield one time, and that was after a first-half fumble recovery.
McCaskey dipped to 0-5 overall, and saw its losing streak hit 22 games in a row.
Harrisburg scored three times in the first 12:05 to open up plenty of breathing room. Gregg did all of the damage; his 1-yard dive made it 7-0, his 27-yard bolt made it 14-0, and his 2-yard run just five seconds into the second quarter gave the Cougars a commanding 21-0 lead.
Harrisburg, which never let the Tornado up for air, tacked on three more second-quarter touchdowns to trigger the second-half mercy rule.
Jaylon Johnston had an acrobatic 13-yard run with a leap over a McCaskey defender into the end zone, and a 2-yard pass made it 29-0. Later, Gregg had his fourth TD of the first half, a 2-yard dive, and the Cougars closed the first 24 minutes in style when John McNeil flipped a 14-yard TD pass to Markii Strawbridge and it was 42-0 at the break.
McNeil was 6 for 13 for 94 yards through the air, and Harrisburg, which held McCaskey to minus-29 yards in the first half, played its backups the entire second half.
Stars of the game
Gregg was unstoppable for Harrisburg with his four first-half TD runs. The Cougars' entire defensive unit also came up large, with two fumble recoveries plus an interception by Marquise McMillian, who capped the scoring Saturday with a 17-yard TD catch from backup QB Ryan Epps.
Harrisburg held McCaskey to 1-for-11 passing, and that completion didn't come until the fourth quarter. The Cougars' hard-charging defense also registered seven sacks.
"This was a good measuring stick for us, to see where we need to get to," McCaskey coach Sam London said. "I think the positive is that this gives us something to grow on. This is where we want to be. This is where we want to get our program, year in and year out."
McCaskey returns to Section One play on Friday with a visit to Manheim Township, while Harrisburg will play on Tuesday at Williamsport, which is 5-0, in hopes of getting the minimum four games played before Oct. 26 to qualify for the district playoffs.