Saturday, October 26, 2013

Special OT performance lifts Warriors to 20-17 win over Lions

Jr Craig Needhammer scored one touchdown against Albright
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Down by three points in the fourth quarter, the Lycoming College football team used nine minutes to tie the game with a 35-yard field goal and then held on to win the game in overtime with another field goal, as the Warriors withstood a strong performance from Albright College to take a 20-17 Middle Atlantic Conference action victory in front of 3,478 Homecoming fans at David Person Field on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Special teams was critical in the final 10 plays of the game. First, despite two Albright (4-3 overall, 3-3 MAC) timeouts to ice him, senior Zack Czap (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) lined up from the right hash and drilled a 35-yard field goal into a 20-mile per hour wind with 18 seconds left to tie the game.

Then, a holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff helped keep Albright from making a last-second attempt at a win in regulation. In the overtime, the Lions failed to gain a first down, with sophomore Matt Malecki (Stevensville, Md./Kent Island) breaking up a pass headed for the end zone on third-and-seven. Then, senior C.J. Arhontakis (West Grove, Pa./Avon Grove) broke through the Albright line and blocked the Albright field goal attempt.

In Lycoming’s first possession of overtime, the Warriors turned to junior Craig Needhammer (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) to finish the job and he pounded the ball 15 yards on three carries before the Warriors (5-2 overall, 5-1 MAC) centered the ball to set up Czap, who calmly stepped into a game-winning 29-yard field goal.

It was the first overtime game in head coach Mike Clark’s six years as head coach and the first overtime win since a 33-30 upset over Ithaca on Oct. 15, 2005.

The Warriors fell behind early in the fourth when Vinny Williams received a pass behind the Lycoming defense and ran 76 yards for the score, giving Albright a 17-14 lead.

After the first two possessions of the game ended in interceptions, the Warriors were forced to punt from their five-yard line, giving Albright a short field to work with and the Lions converted when Daniel Sobolewski hit a 36-yard field goal with 9:32 left in the first quarter.

The next two drives resulted in touchdowns to start to get the offense rolling, as the Warriors got on the board with a nine-play, 75-yard drive. Junior Tyler Jenny (Coalport, Pa./Glendale) scored the touchdown when he found the edge on a career-long 23-yard run, giving Lycoming a 7-3 lead with 5:36 left in the first quarter.

The Lions responded with an 11-play, 63-yard drive, with Uriah Brickhouse scoring on a six-yard run with 14:21 left in the second quarter. The Warriors’ offense struck again to take the lead back before the half, though, getting started when a punt into the wind gave Lycoming the ball at their own 45-yard line to start a drive with 3:45 left.

Five plays later, the Warriors found paydirt, with Jenny hitting Needhammer in the flat and Needhammer finding the corner on a 17-yard reception.

The Warriors held the ball for 11 minutes in the third quarter, but couldn’t extend the lead while Albright’s first two drives in the second half ended in punts before the touchdown to Williams set up the concluding moments.

On the Warriors’ game-tying drive, Lycoming converted three straight third-and-long situations, as Jenny hit senior Matt Atkinson (Media, Pa./Penncrest) for 16 yards the first time, then getting a defensive holding penalty on the next one before Jenny rushed 12 yards for the third first down.

Needhammer finished with 27 carries for 109 yards and he added three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Jenny went 16-of-24 passing for 202 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once and sacked seven times. Jenny also ran 13 times for a net of 15 yards and touchdown.

Junior John Sibel (Morrisville, Pa./Pennsbury) caught three passes for 60 yards and Atkinson caught five passes for 53 yards.

Czap enjoyed a fine game in special teams, converting both extra points, two field goals and he placed three of six punts inside the 20 while averaging 36.2 yards per boot.

Senior Dwight Hentz (Halifax, Pa./Halifax) led the Warriors with nine tackles and seniorTyler Denike (South Boardman, Mich./Forest Area) added eight tackles. Junior Tanner Troutman (Hegins, Pa./Tri-Valley) posted seven tackles and a breakup. Freshman Tyler Smith (Sellersville, Pa./Archbishop Wood), sophomore Josh Cook (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn), sophomore John Ciurlino (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) and junior Zack McMenamin (Prospect Park, Pa./Interboro) each posted a sack.

T.J. Luddy finished 11-of-20 with an interception, a touchdown and 152 yards for the Lions. He ran 11 times for 34 yards. Ty Hughes led the rushers with 17 carries for 55 yards. Devron Clark led the receivers with three catches for 31 yards.

Levi Myers led the Lions with nine tackles and Matt Filosa added nine stops and a sack. J.T. Harding added six stops and 2.5 sacks.

The Warriors get back in action on Saturday, Nov. 2, when they head to King’s (Pa.) for a 1 p.m. Middle Atlantic Conference game.