Saturday, September 3, 2016

Warriors run past River Hawks in Stagg Hat Trophy game

9th Yr. Head Coach Mike Clark with the Stagg Hat
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Senior Blake Bowman (Valley View, Pa./Tri-Valley) rushed 28 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns, including a two-yard scamper midway through the fourth quarter that helped the Lycoming College football team ward off a late rally from Susquehanna University in a 27-24 win in the 20th addition of the Stagg Hat Trophy rivalry on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 3, at David Person Field.

The Warriors (1-0 overall) took advantage of two River Hawk fumbles in the first half to score two touchdowns, while managing their own miscues, fumbling four times but losing none.

“Coming out and starting 1-0, it reconfirms what we thought about our team,” ninth-year Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. “There are obviously a lot of things we need to work on – we put the ball on the ground a lot today. Fortunately, we didn’t lose one. We won the turnover battle – plus-three, so that helps. Overall, we’re pleased.”

Sr RB Blake Bowman
Bowman, meanwhile, helped the Warriors stay in control of the game, posting touchdown runs of 25, one and two yards to give him 22 in a career. He became the ninth running back in school history to post 20 rushing touchdowns in a career, entered the top 10 in school history with 24 career touchdowns scored, and he became the 12th Warrior to cross 1,750 rushing yards in the game. He finished with 185 all-purpose yards, adding 21 receiving yards.

Senior Chase Whiteman (Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg Area) was effective in the pocket for Lycoming, completing 15-of-18 for 138 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 14 times to finish with 46 yards. Sophomore Nick Costello (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) caught five passes for 52 yards and sophomore Kyle Slivka-Fralin (Bristol, Pa./Bristol) added five catches for 47 yards.

The Warriors got a big break on the fourth play of the game, when the River Hawk quarterback fumbled the ball on a keeper and junior Mike Ward (Edgewater, Md./South River) dove on it at the Lycoming 44-yard line. With Bowman starting the ensuing drive with four rushes for 19 yards, the Warriors took just eight plays to find the end zone when Whiteman found Slivka-Fralin for a 13-yard score.

Susquehanna fought back to take the lead, using a 10-play, 71-yard drive to take a 7-6 lead after a one-yard sneak into the end zone by Matt Thies. After a punt, Susquehanna completed an 88-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown reception by Tommy Bluj to take a 14-6 lead with 12:13 left in the second quarter. The Warriors answered back, though, as the River Hawks kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. With the shortened field, and the aid of a holding penalty, the Warriors kept the drive alive long enough to set up Bowman, who capped the drive with back-to-back runs of 17 and 25 yards.

Lycoming got a break late in the quarter, as Susquehanna drove to the 21-yard line, where freshmanA.J. McAleer (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) sacked the River Hawk quarterback and forced the ball out, with sophomore Sam Romanofsky (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) falling on it. Running the two-minute drill to perfection, Whiteman found Costello for a 20-yard reception and played the sidelines well, completing three passes with receivers going out-of-bounds after the catch. A Susquehanna late hit after the third of those, a 17-yard catch by Slivka-Fralin, put the ball at the four, and two plays later, Bowman punched it in to make it 20-14 with 23 seconds left in the half.

After both teams struggled to find their footing in the third quarter, Susquehanna embarked on a 16-play, 63-yard drive to open the fourth quarter, with Evan Argiriou hitting a 31-yard field goal to bring the River Hawks within three at 20-17.

Whiteman and Bowman responded, though, running an option-offense drive, with Whiteman completing one pass for 12 yards and rushing twice for 36 yards during the drive. Bowman took it from there, rushing four times for 24 yards, including a two-yard score.

“When we started that drive with a pass and Chase completed a pass to Kyle, we thought, ‘OK, we can make a first down,’” Clark said. “Then we ran Chase on some designed runs that we hadn’t done, and that gave them some problems.”

The Warriors stopped Susquehanna on their next drive, thanks to a nine-yard sack by freshman Zach Kovach (Duncansville, Pa./Hollidaysburg Area), but when forced to punt on their ensuing drive with 3:36 left, a muffed snap led to Susquehanna getting the ball at the Lycoming 35. Two plays later, Chris Beals caught a 42-yard touchdown to bring Susquehanna back within three points at 27-24.

“In the second half, other than the bad snap that led to the touchdown, I thought we were pretty good defensively,” Clark said. “We talked about some things at halftime that we got to in the third and fourth quarter, which really helped us.”

Susquehanna’s onside kick attempt flew out of bounds, though, and given the ball at midfield with 2:38 left, the Warriors were able to run out the clock, thanks to three more rushes for 11 yards from Bowman.

Ward led the Warrior defense, which allowed 357 total yards, but just 118 on the ground, as he posted seven tackles, 0.5 for loss and a fumble recovery. Sophomore Joe Pinzka (Perkasie, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) added five stops and a breakup while sophomore D.J. Boyd (District Heights, Md./Fairmount Heights) notched five tackles and two breakups. Kovach and junior Mike Palmer(Chester, Pa./Monsignor Bonner) each added five tackles and a sack.

Thies finished 15-of-22 for 196 yards and two touchdowns and Bobby Grigas finished 6-of-11 for 43 yards for the River Hawks. Diamente Holloway caught six passes for 61 yards and Luke Robertson rushed 15 times for 58 yards. C.J. Williams led the River Hawk defense with 10 tackles and a sack and Connor Thompson posted eight tackles.

Lycoming gets back on the field on Saturday, Sept. 10, when they host King’s in the Middle Atlantic Conference opener as part of Family Weekend at 1:30 p.m.

Box Score (Final)
Susquehanna vs Lycoming (Sep 03, 2016 at Williamsport, Pa.)

Score by Quarters            1              2              3              4              Score
Susquehanna    7              7              0              10           24           Record: (0-1)
Lycoming             6              14           0              7              27           Record: (1-0)

Scoring Summary:
1st          10:02     LYCO      Kyle Slivka-Fralin 18 yd pass from Chase Whiteman (Devon Flynn kick blockd), 8-56 3:36, SUS 0 - LYCO 6
                06:51     SUS        Matt Thies 1 yd run (Evan Argiriou kick), 10-71 3:05, SUS 7 - LYCO 6
2nd        12:13     SUS        Tommy Bluj 18 yd pass from Matt Thies (Evan Argiriou kick), 17-0 7:59, SUS 14 - LYCO 6
                08:26     LYCO      Blake Bowman 25 yd run (Devon Flynn kick), 17-0 7:59, SUS 14 - LYCO 13
                00:23     LYCO      Blake Bowman 1 yd run (Devon Flynn kick), 10-74 1:21, SUS 14 - LYCO 20
4th         10:36     SUS        Evan Argiriou 31 yd field goal, 16-63 7:00, SUS 17 - LYCO 20
                07:12     LYCO      Blake Bowman 2 yd run (Devon Flynn kick), 7-72 3:18, SUS 17 - LYCO 27
                02:38     SUS        Chris Beals 42 yd pass from Matt Thies (Evan Argiriou kick), 3-35 0:58, SUS 24 - LYCO 27