Wednesday, October 29, 2014

1999 Flashback - Warriors Upset As Offense Struggled in 14-7 loss to W&J

Warriors Upset As Offense Struggled
W&J Presidents Advances With 14-7 Victory
By John Green

Lycoming Blocks Field Goal Attempt

NCAA Division III Playoffs
Qtr 1Qtr 2Qtr 3Qtr 4Score
Washington & Jefferson077014
Lycoming College70007
Coach Frank Girardi Hugs WR Tim Dumas With QB Ryan Swailes In The Background

WILLIAMSPORT, PA -- Washington & Jefferson is no stranger to Lycoming College Football as the two teams have played four times before, each winning two NCAA Division III playoff games.  Today, one team would walk off the field headed for another week of practice and continue down the road to a second round Division III playoff game.

With a defense ranked nationally and an offense that can strike at any moment, the Warrior hopes were dashed however, in this physical playoff battle. "You cannot blame it on the rain" said Ryan Swailes taking the blame for missing open receivers and completing only 14 of 40 and two interceptions.  All day long it seemed the Lycoming offense had a short in the wiring and eventually blew the fuse.  Add to that, the fact Washington & Jefferson upped the stakes a little as their defense played brilliantly all game long.  Also, the Presidents offense was able to complete two long drives and hold on for the upset victory against Lycoming.

Sean Graf Returns A Punt ReturnLycoming scored first late in the first quarter as W&J started a drive on their own 42 yard line after a punt by Lyco's John Shaffer.   The President's quarterback Chris Locker rolled out and was tackled for a 5 yard loss. On second and 15, QB Locker hit his favorite receiver Ryan Silvis for 16 yards and a first down.  Lycoming's defense held on the next two plays as W&J's running back Joey Nichols was stuffed for no gain and Chris Locker's pass was broken up by Todd Riescher.  On third and 10, Sean Graf picked off Locker's overthrow and ran for 56 yards and a Warrior score.  The extra point was good and Lycoming held a 7-0 lead at 3:00 left in the first quarter.

W & J's First TouchdownPerhaps a sign of the character of the Presidents team, Washington & Jefferson did not wait long to answer Lycoming's celebration.  On their next offensive series, they would let the Warriors know they were in this game for keeps.  John Shaffer's kick off to the W&J 22 yard line was returned 18 yards.   A 15 yard pass interference call against Lycoming gave W&J a first down at the Warrior 47 yard line.  Then Locker connected to Ryan Silvis for 12 yards.  After a three yard loss, Ryan Silvis carried the ball for 13 yards and another first down at Lyco's 22 yard line.  Quarterback Chris Locker repeated the play for second consecutive 13 yard gain at to Lycoming's 9 yard line. On first and goal, Chris Pushic ran for 1 yard and Locker's next pass was incomplete.  Jon Pons slid down and out to the left side goal line an pulled in an 8 yard throw for the touchdown.  The extra point was good and at 14:15 of the second quarter the game was tied Lycoming 7 - W&J 7.

Lycoming's next two drives stalled.  The first drive used 11 plays and ended at Washington & Jefferson's 24 yard line.  Lycoming held the Presidents who punted to the Lycoming 29 yard line.  Fifteen plays later at W&J's 6 yard line, John Shaffer's field goal attempt was blocked and the first half ended.

Halftime Statistics
Washington & Jefferson Vs Lycoming
First Downs1010
Rushes-Yards (Net)21-5114-27
Passing Yards (Net9658
Passes Attempted-Compete-Intercepted15-9-120-5-0
Fumble Returns-Yards0-00-0
Punt Returns-Yards1-11-4
Kickoff Returns-Yards1-182-38
Interception Return-Yards0-02-38
Punts (Number-Avg)2-35.52-33
Possession Time16:4613:14

Who would believe that on the first drive of the third quarter the scoring would be complete?  Well, that is how the game would play out today.  Lycoming kicked off to W&J's 21 yard line and Jon Pons returned the ball 10 yards.  The combination of Locker Silvis continued as they teamed up for a 15 yard pass play and a first down.  Pons then ran the ball another 14 yard for another first down.  W&J threw in a running play, a screen pass and two more ground plays.  Suddenly, they were at Lycoming's 18 yard line.  With second and ten on the 18, Chris Locker found Silvis wide open on a busted defensive play over the middle. The Presidents would lead the game for good at 14-7.

Ryan Silvis Wide Open For The Score

The game seemed to continued to sputter for the Warrior Offense.  On Lycoming's next series, Ryan Swailes was intercepted by free safety Owen George for no return.  The Warrior defense held forcing a punt by Jordan Genis and Sean Graf returned it 36 yards (See Photo Above) to W&J's 20.   On the first play from scrimmage, Tim Deasey lost 2 yards, then Ryan Swailes passed to Tim Dumas went incomplete.  Third and 11 found Lycoming penalized for a hold and Ryan threw his second interception of the day..  Perhaps the biggest disappointment for Lycoming was the next series of plays.  Lycoming's offense had to punt the ball on their last series of the third quarter and W&J's Joey Nichols fumbled the ball which was recovered by left end Todd Riescher on W&J's seven yard line.  Lycoming failed to score on three plays and John Shaffer missed the field goal attempt, wide to the left. 

The last glimmer of hope for the Warriors came when John Shaffer punted the ball 61 yards to the Presidents five yard line.  After three good defensive plays by the Lycoming, Genis punted to Lycoming 46 yard line and the Warriors had great field position.  Lycoming moved the ball to W&J's 34 yard line, but on fourth and six, Swailes pass to Joe Hanna was incomplete.  Tack on a 15 yard un-sportsman like conduct penalty and this game was all but over the the MAC Champions.   When you scanned the field at the close of the game, you could see how dejected and shocked the Lyco players were with the out come.  For the Warrior seniors, this would be only their 4th loss.  Coach Girardi probably summed up the day for most Lyco fans after being asked a question in the post game press conference.  Asked what he was going to do now that Lycoming was out of the playoffs so early, Coach Girardi gazed out into the bare wooded hilly backdrop North of the press box and said, Rake leaves ... and I hate to rake leaves."

Team Statistics
Washington & Jefferson Vs Lycoming College
First Downs1816
Rushing Attempts4726
  Yards Gained Rushing14380
  Yards Lost Rushing3828
Net Yards Rushing10552
Net Yards Passing137134
  Passes Attempted2340
  Passed Completed1314
  Had Intercepted12
Total Offensive Plays7066
Total Net Yards242186
Average Gain Per Play3.52.8
Fumbles: Number - Lost3-10-0
Penalties: Number - Yards5-536-74
Number of Punts - Yards7-2474-158
  Average Per Punt35.239.5
Punt Returns: Number - Yards1-15-46
Kickoff Returns: Number - Yards2-283-53
Interceptions: Number - Yards2-01-56
Fumbles Returns: Number - Yards0-00-0
Possession Time32:5127:09
Third-Down Conversions6 of 153 of 15
Fourth-Down Conversions0 of 02 of 5
Sacks By: Number - Yards2-91-7