Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lycoming Warriors’ comeback slips out of reach at Stevenson

A MAC Football News file photo
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – On fourth-and-goal from the nine-yard line, a pass flew just out of reach of a Lycoming College football team receiver with less than a minute remaining, ensuring that Stevenson University would be able to sneak out of its 2017 season finale with a 20-14 win at Mustang Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Warriors finish the 2017 season with a 4-6 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the Middle Atlantic Conference, finishing tied for sixth. The Warriors dropped four of their six games by six points or less. Stevenson improved to 6-4 overall and 6-3 in the MAC.

Down two scores late in the third quarter, the Warriors got a break when senior Chase Williams (Damascus, Md./Damascus) was hit as he attempted a pass and as the ball flew sideways, the officials ruled it an incomplete pass. On the next play, Williams reloaded and hit junior Nick Costello (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) for an 80-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-14 with 1:47 left in the period.

The play changed the momentum of the game, as Lycoming got interceptions on its next two drives, one from sophomore Sam Pawlikowski (West Creek, N.J./Seneca) in the end zone and one from junior D.J. Boyd (Seat Pleasant, Md./Fairmount Heights) and forced a three-and-out to get the ball back with 8:27 left in the fourth quarter. Aided by some crafty quarterbacking, Williams rushed for nine yards on a third-down play to get a first down and he threw a 30-yard pass inside the left corner of the end zone, drawing a pass interference on fourth-and-12 to get the ball to the eight-yard line, where the drive stalled. The team’s rushing game accounted for 40 yards on the drive.

Williams finished 9-of-24 for 147 yards and a touchdown and Costello’s lone catch was the 80-yard touchdown. Junior Mike Mulvihill (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) led the receivers with three catches for 26 yards and senior Sam Dressler (Riverside, Pa./Danville) finished his career with 15 carries for 48 yards.

Lycoming played inspired in the return game, posting 249 return yards, with 143 coming on four kickoff returns from senior Mike Ward (Edgewater, Md./South River) and 72 coming on two punt returns from sophomore Dante Gipson (Bordentown, N.J./Bordentown Regional).

After Stevenson got on the board during their second drive of the game with Devin Salisbury scoring from a yard out, Ward got the ensuing kickoff at the 16-yard line and found the second level before finding second gear, dodging around the kicker and taking off down the right sideline for his first career touchdown in his last career game.

Neither team was able to get back into the scoring column until the final two minutes of the period, as Lycoming had a 48-yard field goal attempt blocked before Daqwan Hill capped a 56-yard Stevenson drive with a  24-yard rushing touchdown to make it 14-7 at the break.

The Mustangs added another score with a 19-yard field goal on their opening drive of the second half after getting the ball deep in Lycoming territory after a fumble. The Warriors responded with a 14-play, 62-yard drive that saw the team get five first downs, but a missed field goal stalled the drive. Stevenson drove all the way back to the 11-yard line, where another field goal gave Stevenson a 20-7 lead late in the third quarter.

Hill rushed 18 times for 85 yards and a touchdown for the Mustangs, while Dan Williams finished 32-of-46 for 287 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted twice and fumbled once. Salisbury caught 12 passes for 49 yards and a score.

Ward, as usual, was outstanding defensively, finishing with nine tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to finish sixth in school history with 263 career tackles. He is the first Warrior to lead the team in tackles for three straight years since Bill Small did it from 1989-91.

Senior Caleb Robbins (Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township) posted eight tackles and a breakup and Pawlikowski had eight stops and an interception. Boyd also posted six stops and a pick. Freshman Kyle Pierce (Berwick, Pa./Berwick Area) and junior Sam Romanofsky (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) each had a sack.

Cory Pitrzyk led the Mustangs with 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks and Ashton Leschke added eight stops. Kyle Pieet also added a sack and six stops.

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