Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lycoming Football - Needhammer hammers down records in 45-27 win over FDU

Sr RB Craig Needhammer becomes one of the greatest running backs (Image: John Green)
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Senior Craig Needhammer (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) ran for a school-record 299 yards to level a bevy of records in his final collegiate game, smashing the school’s career record for rushing yards with his last run, a 50-yard touchdown with 2:47 left to lift the Lycoming College football team to a 45-27 win over FDU-Florham in Middle Atlantic Conference action on Friday, Nov. 14, at Shields Field.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Needhammer said. “All the guys I’ve played with, before, the seniors especially, and the guys now, it’s been a fun ride."

Under the Friday night lights, Needhammer shined for the Warriors (8-2 overall, 7-2 MAC), smashing the school record for rushing yards in a game of 253 set by Tim Deasey in 2001, doing it on 30 carries. He broke Josh Kleinfelter’s record of 3,664 career rushing yards, finishing with 3,713 yards in his career.

Sr RB Craig Needhammer hold ball that broke
the rushing record. (Image: John Green)
“It’s been a pleasure,” Needhammer said. “All the guys I’ve played with, before, the seniors especially, and the guys now, it’s been a fun ride. A big thank you to the big boys in front of me who do all the work and don’t get the credit. This record is as much theirs as it is mine. They work just as hard at practice as I do, if not harder every day. They fought through injuries to help me out. My hats off to them, all the guys I have played with the last four years.”

After FDU-Florham (0-10 overall, 0-9 MAC) scored an improbable touchdown on a nine-yard pass with 3:01 left that ricocheted off a Warrior defender before Joe LeBlanc hauled it in, the Devils were forced into an onside kick, which juniorCorey Talerico (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) smothered.

On the next play, Needhammer hit the right sideline, breaking free with a set of blocks and ensuring the Warriors their third eight-win season in four years on the last carry of his career.

“It was awesome,” Needhammer said. “After the play, I heard (senior tight end) Matt Cookson and (sophomore tackle) Bailey Hughes made an adjustment in who they were double-teaming. In week  11, they make that adjustment right as we snapped the ball because they have been working together so long. It helped seal the edge for me, and then (senior center) Casey Strus comes around the corner pulling and a couple guys came inside and Casey took them out. (Junior wide receiver) Pat Whalen makes a great block on the corner, I cut inside and there was nothing but green. I just didn’t want to get caught again.”

In the end, Needhammer finished his career with a school-record 42 touchdowns, 39 rushing touchdowns and 5,291 all-purpose yards. He set single-season records for rushing touchdowns (13), all-purpose yards (1,867) and kick return yards (482). He also set the single-game all-purpose yardage record of 339 yards, breaking his own record of 305 set against Misericordia.

It was a game of big numbers for the Warriors, as senior Tyler Jenny (Glasgow, Pa./Glendale) became the third player in school history to pass for 6,000 yards in a career while finishing his career 23-7 as a starter, and junior Ryan Umpleby(Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) became the third player in school history to post 1,000 receiving yards in a season, finishing the season with 1,022 yards on 66 catches.

“I didn’t want the records to be cheap,” Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. “If there was a way, we wanted to get Tyler to 6,000, Ump to 1,000 and we wanted to get Craig his records. Blake Bowman grabbed me at the end of practice the other day and said if it was close, he wanted to see Craig play and get the record. I said we’re not going on this trip to get Craig the record. As he ripped off the one long run, we knew he was close and we knew he had a chance. He earned it. They scored, we needed to answer and luckily, we had him.”

FDU-Florham also had its own impressive numbers, as Malik Pressley finished with a MAC record 18 receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Maurer finished 34-of-58 for 354 yards and four touchdowns.

The Devils took an early lead on an 81-yard touchdown by Pressley on their first play, but it took Lycoming just four plays to answer, as Jenny found Umpleby for a 12-yard score with 11:09 left in the first quarter. After three failed drives, the Warriors drove 63 yards on eight plays, with Needhammer rushing four times for the last 19 yards, scoring on a three-yard rush to give Lycoming a 14-6 lead heading into the second quarter.

Lycoming kept the pressure on, as junior Phil Schron (Albrightsville, Pa./Marian Catholic) picked up a blocked punt by sophomore Joe Pawlowski (Shamung, N.J./Seneca) and he brought it 14 yards in for a score.

The Devils closed within eight with Pressley’s second score of the game on a four-yard touchdown to cap an eight-play, 77-yard drive, but the Warriors responded with a 12-play, 51-yard drive that freshman Devon Flynn (Levittown, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic), who nailed a 30-yard field goal to take a 24-13 lead into halftime.

The Devils closed within five points with their first drive of the second half, as Pressley scored on a 13-yard touchdown to make it 24-19. The Warriors came back quickly, though, as Needhammer went 23 yards up the middle untouched to cap a seven-play, 62-yard drive to make it 31-19.

The Warriors got another score early in the fourth quarter, as Jenny found senior Nick Mongiello (East Windsor, N.J./Hightstown) for his final career touchdown pass, a one-yarder.

FDU posted an eight-play, 41-yard drive late in the quarter to close within nine points at 38-27, but Needhammer’s score closed out the win.

Jenny finished 13-of-21 passing for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Umpleby posted eight catches for 75 yards and his 10th touchdown of the season.

Anthony Ognibene led the Devils rushing attach, which posted just 26 carries with 74 yards, as he notched 11 carries for 44 yards. Ognibene added four catches for 62 yards.

Freshman Michael Ward (Edgewater, Md./South River) led the Warriors with 13 tackles and senior Tanner Troutman(Hegins, Pa./Tri-Valley) notched 11 tackles and an interception, finishing his career with 16. Junior Matt Malecki(Stevensville, Md./Kent Island) notched 11 tackles and an interception and senior Braden Zeiner (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall-Coplay) finished with eight tackles, 2.5 for loss and two sacks.

Chris Fitzgerald led the Devils with 11 stops and Rob Savacool posted eight tackles, 1.0 for loss.