Story and photo courtesy of Lycoming Athletics
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – For the second straight game, the Lycoming College football team rushed for 198 yards and for the second straight game, the team held its opponent to seven points, helping add up to a 32-7 win over Stevenson University in Middle Atlantic Conference action at David Person Field on Saturday, Nov. 3, helping the Warriors stay in the picture for the school’s 15th MAC title entering the final week of the regular season.
Lycoming (7-2 overall, 7-1 MAC) will now get set for a regular-season ending game at Misericordia (0-9 overall, 0-8 MAC) on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. Meanwhile, Delaware Valley (7-2 overall, 7-1 MAC) will head to No. 12 Widener (8-0 overall, 7-0 MAC). While Widener clinches the conference’s NCAA Division III Tournament bid and the title alone with a win, a Delaware Valley and Lycoming win would create a three-way tie for the conference title. The NCAA Tournament bid would be decided on a point differential in games between the three teams, with Lycoming earning the bid if Delaware Valley wins by 15 points or less and the Aggies earning the bid with a win by 16 points or more.
Sophomore Craig Needhammer (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) led the Warrior ground game against Stevenson (1-7 overall, 1-6 MAC), rushing 19 times for a team-season-high 127 yards and a touchdown. Senior Parker Showers (Aspers, Pa./Biglerville) added 18 carries for 78 yards and two scores.
“We ran the ball so well on our first drive and then we had a couple miscommunications on our next drive, so we thought we’d make them stop our running game,” Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. “Part of that is that we are more experienced than they are, but we played three sophomore lineman today, so that bodes well for us, too.”
Showers got the Warriors started with a 47-yard kick return to start the game, as a penalty tacked onto the return helped Lycoming start with the ball at Stevenson’s 36. Lycoming went straight to work with the ground game, rushing six times on the next nine plays before Showers plunged in from five yards out with 10:22 left in the first quarter to make it, 6-0.
After two stalled drives by Stevenson and one by Lycoming, the Warriors once again went back to the ground game after getting the ball at their own 39. Rushing the ball six straight times, the Warriors got the ball to the Stevenson 25-yard line, setting up a 25-yard completion from sophomore Tyler Jenny (Coalport, Pa./Glendale) to sophomore Nick Mongiello (East Windsor, N.J./Hightstown) in the end zone to make it 13-0.
“We had never run that play ever before,” Clark said. “Nick can really run and catch. Craig had a nice catch today, too. When you have a good run game, you have to be able to throw those guys the ball. We got a good play fake and the safety was out of the way. We knew when we got the ball inside the 30 we wanted to get to.”
The Mustangs answered back quickly, marching 70 yards on six plays thanks to a 40-yard completion to Anthony Smith at the Lycoming three-yard line, which set up a touchdown reception by Jarrett Bragg. The Warriors retook a nine-point lead, though, as junior Zack Czap (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) hit a 32-yard field goal, capping a 33-yard, nine-play drive.
As the half wore down, the Warriors benefited from a short punt, taking the ball at their own 45-yard line with 4:50 left. A 22-yard reception by senior Greg Kovacs (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) got the ball to the Stevenson 22-yard line, setting up a 22-yard touchdown run by Needhammer, helping the Warriors to a 23-7 halftime lead.
After a Stevenson three-and-out started the second half, the Warriors marched 37 yards on nine plays, setting up a 37-yard field goal from Czap.
An interception by senior Caleb Shertzer (Mifflintown, Pa./Juniata) helped the Warriors get the ball back at the 46-yard line, setting up an eight-play touchdown drive, with Showers rolling into the end zone to round out the scoring with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
Stevenson held the ball for 8:10 in the fourth quarter, but gained just 67 yards, giving it 221 yards of total offense in the game while Lycoming pulled in 302 yards. In the process, the Warriors held the league’s top rusher, K.K. Smith, to just 66 yards on 24 rushes.
Jenny finished 9-of-19 for 104 yards and a touchdown, as the Mustangs snapped Jenny’s school-record streak of seven straight games of completing better than 60 percent of his passes. Needhammer and junior Matt Atkinson (Media, Pa./Penncrest) caught two passes for 24 yards and Mongiello added 25 yards and a touchdown on one catch.
Sophomore Ryan Mihoci (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) finished with 10 tackles, 0.5 for loss, and sophomore Kyle Sullivan (Coatesville, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) added eight tackles, 1.5 for loss. Senior Roger Jayne (Harveys Lake, Pa./Lake Lehman) posted three tackles and a sack and Shertzer finished with two tackles, one for loss, one interception and three pass breakups.
Stevenson quarterback John Gasparovic finished 9-of-22 for 84 yards and an interception and Anthony Reid, the option quarterback, finished 6-of-10 for 52 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Smith caught seven passes for 79 yards.
The Mustangs were led by Tim Campbell defensively, as he posted 11 tackles, and Razonte Dunn finished with 10 stops and one for loss. Chris Coffie posted five tackles, two for loss, and a sack.
Before the game, the Warriors honored the team’s 23 seniors, who have helped the Warriors win 25 games during their careers, including 12 at David Person Field.