Sunday, October 15, 2017

Warriors Football Comes Up Short Against Widener

#22 Junior DB Joe Pinzka
CHESTER, Pa. – Junior Joe Pinzka (Perkasie, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) forced a fumble and recovered another one on special teams to help the Lycoming College football team score two touchdowns, but Widener University came back from a 10-point first quarter deficit to post a 31-17 Middle Atlantic Conference win at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Down by two touchdowns early through the fourth quarter, the Warriors (3-4 overall, 3-3 MAC) caught a huge break in special teams after being forced to punt from deep in their territory. The punt was muffed and Pinzka was there to fall on it at the 24-yard line. On the next play, senior Collin Wright (Secane, Pa./Ridley) found junior Kyle Slivka-Fralin (Bristol, Pa./Bristol) over the top for a beautiful touchdown as he was hit to make it 24-17 with 11:03 to play.

The Warriors halted the Pride (5-2 overall, 5-1 MAC) on their next three drives, but couldn’t get the ball past its 43 on any of them, which led to a Widener punt that was returned to the Widener five-yard line with 1:10 left. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Justin Hardy stepped in front of a pass and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown to seal the win.

Both teams’ defenses played well in the game, with neither one getting more than 300 yards of total offense, as Widener held a slim 287-250 advantage in the department. Widener held a 141-42 advantage in total rushing, but Lycoming led 208-146 in passing yards. Lycoming was hurt by three interceptions, two that were returned for touchdowns, while Widener was forced into one interception and two fumbles, both of which led to touchdown drives.

On their second drive of the game, the Warrior offense got going when senior Chase Williams (Damascus, Md./Damascus) found junior Brock Zollicoffer (Owings Mills, Md./Owings Mills) in the flat and Zollicoffer got to the sideline, running 49 yards to the Widener 12. A holding call stalled the drive, but sophomore Jamie Fisher (Folsom, Pa./Ridley) drilled his 12th field goal of the game, a 28-yarder to get on the board.

The Warriors took advantage of a Pride miscue on the ensuing kickoff, with junior Joe Pinzka (Perkasie, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) forcing a fumble on the kickoff that sophomore Keith Batkowski (Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville Area) was there to suffocate at the 14-yard line. Three plays later, Williams had a five-yard rush to get to the three-yard line on 3-and-4, losing his helmet as he sold out for the first down. Two plays after that, senior Sam Dressler (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) found the end zone from two yards out for the score to take a 10-0 lead.

The Pride got back into the game thanks to a pair of defensive plays, using a 40-yard interception return from Jordan Powell with 6:18 left in the second quarter to make it 10-7. On Lycoming’s next series, a high snap on a punt attempt when into the end zone for a safety, making it 10-9 at the break.

Widener’s offense was able to get going in the second half, driving 86 yards on eight plays to open the half, with McGaughey finding Montrell Hicks-Taylor on a post rout for a 35-yard score with 7:55 left in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Chris Randle capped a 15-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run and added a two-point conversion to make it 24-10 with 12:06 left.

Dressler finished with 61 yards on 12 carries and sophomore Dante Gipson (Bordentown, N.J./Bordentown Regional) had 26 yards rushing on nine carries, 49 yards on three receptions, 62 yards on five punt returns and 36 yards on two kick returns. Zollicoffer added four receptions for 68 yards and senior John Kim (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) had three catches for 41 yards.

Williams finished 6-of-14 for 91 yards passing before Wright came on to finish 8-of-20 for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Rob Ennis Jr. led the Pride with 22 carries for 91 yards and Randle had 17 rushes for 50 yards and a touchdown. James Gillespie posted three catches and 33 yards. Quarterback Sean McGaughey finished 11-of-16 passing for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Senior Mike Ward (Edgewater, Md./South River) moved into the top 15 in school history in career tackles to lead the Warriors, as he notched 10 and added a breakup in the game to give him 231 in his career. Junior Sam Romanofsky (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) added eight tackles, 2.5 for loss and 0.5 a sack to give him six this year. Junior Jarrell Payne (Jersey City, N.J./Liberty), junior Ahmad Curtis (Effort, Pa./Pleasant Valley) and freshman Kyle Pierce (Berwick, Pa./Berwick Area) each had seven tackles a piece. Sophomore Trey Smith (Hughesville, Pa./Hughesville Area) added five tackles and an interception and Pinzka posted three tackles, the forced fumble and the fumble recovery.

Casey Kerschner finished with 16 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble for the Pride and Vince Char added nine tackles, 1.5 for loss and 1.0 sack. Alex Kauffman added two sacks.

The Warriors will now enjoy their bye week before getting back on the field on Saturday, Oct. 28, when they host Misericordia University on Senior Day at 1 p.m. at David Person Field.