Chambersburg running back Mike Harris rushed for three touchsdowns and kicker Dave Schminke booted two field goals to lead the Cardinals to a 55-0 rout over the Metro Buccaneers in the Interstate Football League championship game Saturday in Frederick.
The victory sends Chambersburg, which finished the season with a 12-0 record, into the first round of the national minor league football playoffs Saturday when the Cardinals host Delavan, Wis., at Chambersburg.
Despite the crushing defeat, the Washington-based Buccaneers, who include several Montgomery and Prince George's players, closed the season with a respectable 9-2 mark.
The Buccaneers never had a chance against the opportunistic Cardinals. Chambersburg, ranked second in the nation among semi-pro teams by Pro Football Weekly , gave the Washington club a clinic in capitalizing on opponent's mistakes in a title game.
Buccaneer quarterback Fleming Carey's first pass was picked off by Cardinal safety Mark Torquato, who returned it to the Buccaneer 10-yard line. Two plays later, Harris swept left end from five yards out to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead only two minutes into the game after Schminke, who accounted for a total of 13 points, booted the first of his seven conversions.
Schminke boosted the Cadinals lead to 10-0, kicking a 35-yard field goal after a Chambersburg drive stalled with eight minutes left in the first quarter. Four minutes later, Harris scored his second touchdown on an eight-yard rush up the middle.
The ineffective Carey threw three more first-half interceptions and the Cardinals turned them into 17 points. Four minutes into the second quarter, Chambersburg receiver Tom Hailey, alone in the buccaneers' end zone, caught a 27-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Greg hare. Then, with 2:14 remaining in the half, running back Jim Abraham romped six yards to score, giving the Cardinals a commanding 31-0 advantage in the locker room.
The hapless Buccaneers were able to produce only one first down in the first half and crossed midfield just once.
Chambersburg was clearly superior. On offense, the five-time Interstate League champions executed with precision, committing no turnovers and getting only one penalty.
Defensively, they controlled the line of scrimmage and allowed the Buccaneers less than 60 yards total offense while forcing eight turnovers, seven of which were converted into Chambersburge scores.
"They were without question a superior team in terms of personnel," said Buccaneer Coach John Vaughn. "I told the team at halftime that they had to play for pride and not to quit," Vaughn said.
Despite the pep talk, the Buccaneers played little better in the second half, giving up another 24 points to the potent Chambersburg offense which averaged more than 50 points a game this season.