Lycoming Thumps Westminster Titans, 40-14
Written by: William Albright on Saturday, September 11th, 2010
Prior to Lycoming’s matchup with Westminster Saturday afternoon, the traditional sound of the cannon was heard at Robert Person Field as the Warrior football team emerged from the locker room.
However, as it turned out, the cannon shot wasn’t the only big bang of the afternoon as the Warriors provided a few explosions of their own, helping them to get off to a fast start that resulted in a convincing 40-10 win over the Titans.
The Warriors wasted absolutely no time making their first big explosion visible right from the outset as Parker Showers took the opening kickoff and promptly ripped off 58 yards to the Titan 31.
“We had been looking at it all week,” said Showers. “They were kind of overplaying things and we saw that if they kicked the ball for a left return we probably wouldn’t make it to the sidelines, but the middle just opened up and I was able to cut through the seam.”
As for the second big bang of the game, that came on the very first play from scrimmage when quarterback Zach Klinger hooked up with Ryan Wagaman for a 31-yard TD toss, T. J. Chiarolonza tacked on the PAT, and just 17 seconds into the contest, the Warriors had a lead they would never relinquish at 7-0.
“When you get up 7-0 that early, that is certainly a big lift,” said Lyco head coach Mike Clark. “We wanted to get the ball to Ryan Wagaman which we struggled to do last week. He is our best wide receiver and an all-conference kid so we needed to get him involved. We knew there might be some good opportunities in the passing game so we took some chances. Going back to the spring when we knew we were going to have a new quarterback we felt we were going to have to run the ball. While we did that all right, we needed to do more.”
On the ensuing kickoff following Wagaman‘s score, the Titans coughed up the ball. Kabonga Bukasa forced the strip, Josh Borelli jumped on the elusive pigskin, and just like that, the Warriors were back in business at the Westminster 37.
Seven plays later, Klinger tossed his second TD aerial of the day, a 20-yard effort to Mark Ryan. Chiarolonza’s PAT made it 14-0 Lyco before the game four minutes old.
“The tempo right out of the gate is a tempo that can only help a quality team like Lyco,” said Westminster head coach Jeff Hand. “We had a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, but we just took those two things too far and we weren’t as disciplined as we needed to be.”
After things settled down somewhat, the two teams traded field goals to give the Lycos a 17-3 lead. The Titans put together a good drive that resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Trevor Young before Chiarolonza answered with a 29-yard field goal for the Warriors.
Just as it appeared that 17-3 would be the score at the break, the Titans put on a 70-yard drive in seven plays that resulted in their only touchdown of the game. The scoring play was a Shawn Lehocky to Collin Wallace 17-yard pass sending both squads to the locker room with Lyco still on top by a 17-10 count.
Coming out of the locker room with fire in their eyes, the Warriors took the second half kickoff and put together what has over the years become known as a vintage Lycoming Warrior drive.
“At halftime, I think Kleiny (running back Josh Kleinfelter) had 10 carries for somewhere in the high 30s,” said Clark. “When I sat there at halftime and looked at what I did and didn’t call, I just picked out first eight plays in the second half and six of them were going to be runs. We put ourselves in really manageable running situations so we just stuck it out. If you only need to throw the ball one time and you still score, those are good drives.”
Operating from their own 20-yard line, the Warriors put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive capped by Josh Kleinfelter bulling in from one yard out for the score. The kick was blocked, but with 5:22 left in the third period, the Warrior lead had grown to 23-10. During the drive, Kleinfelter lugged the pigskin nine times for 67 of the 80 yards.
Running behind his offensive line, Kleinfelter rushed for 209 yards for the game, the bowling ball running back amassing 103 yards in the third period alone.
“Our passing game was going good (in the first half) so we stuck with that and put up 17 points,” said Kleinfelter. “Every time we can get the running game, it keeps the defense off the field and keeps them fresh.”
Although Kleinfelter rushed for more than 200 yards, his touchdowns jaunts were the shortest possible, both for one yard. But the former Bellwood-Antis standout also had some big runs, including one of 33 yards.
“Any time you can get the big play, it just energizes everyone,” he said. “When we came out in the second half last week against Rowan, we made a lot of mistakes but were still able to put up 17 points against a real good team. We felt coming into this game that we could do both. It (him rushing for more than 200 yards) has been a while, but give credit to the offensive line because they did a good job today and they take a lot of pride when that happens.”
Trailing 33-10, the Titans drove deep into Warrior territory, but Ray Bierbach stepped in front of a Shawn Lehocky pass and picked it off in the end zone.
“I thought we could get that one, but give them credit because they are a very good, physical football team,” said Lehocky. “We were only down by seven at halftime and we knew we were going to get the ball so we felt we were right in the game. What it comes down to is the little things here and there that we have to work on for next week and our next game. We played a tough opponent today and in the end, they got the better of us.”
Following the turnover, the Warriors closed out the scoring when Warrior reserve running back Caleb Shertzer ran in from nine yards out with 1:49 left in the game, capping an 8-play, 80 yard drive. During the TD march, Shertzer carried the ball seven times for 45 of the 80 yards.
Now 1-1, the Warriors have two weeks to prepare for the Ithaca Bombers on Family Weekend. That game on September 25 is set to kick off at 1:30 p.m
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