SELINSGROVE — It’s been a difficult season for Loyalsock. The Lancers acquired a late begin to the season because of COVID-19, after which have battled a number of accidents to some key gamers all through the season.
Even so, heading into the ultimate week of the shortened common season on Friday, Loyalsock was in place to get the ultimate playoff berth in District Class AAA, however couldn’t make certain until they got here away with a win towards Lewisburg.
That didn’t appear like a positive factor till the ultimate kneel-down as Loyalsock scored a fourth quarter landing to flee with a 21-14 win over the Inexperienced Dragons and with it, a berth within the AAA playoffs.
“We’re down 22 guys from the beginning of the yr because of a sequence of various issues, however the youngsters got here out to play,” stated Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet. “We’ve acquired lots of younger guys on the market studying on the go, however I’m so happy with them. I stated the factor I’ll bear in mind about this staff triumphing over adversity and discovering a method when issues had been all the way down to handle enterprise. Their will is one thing that’s going to be remembered.
“We’ve by no means missed the district playoffs since I’ve been right here and I’d have hated a pandemic to have precipitated us to overlook it, so we’re within the match and while you’re in, issues can occur and off you go, so we’re going to be able to play.”
What appeared like it could be a shootout early was a stalemate after a livid begin, and three performs specifically seemingly ended up being the distinction. Two of these performs got here within the fourth quarter and one late within the second. With Lewisburg main 14-7 and showing prefer it may experience the fast begin right into a halftime lead, Chase Cavanaugh hit Rian Glunk on a brief sideline sample on a third-and-6 play, showing to get a primary down however not way more as Glunk was close to the sideline and surrounded by at the least three Lewisburg defenders. However Glunk managed to flee a number of missed tackles and elude the sideline, and he went 66 yards for a landing, which tied the sport 14-14 with 2:22 earlier than the half.
With the sport nonetheless tied about halfway via the fourth quarter after each groups basically stalemated following that landing, Loyalsock took over at its personal 39 following Lewisburg’s solely turnover of the sport. On the second play of the drive, Cavanaugh took the ball himself and gained 17 yards earlier than going out of bounds — the place he was tackled by Jack Landis, leading to a 15-yard penalty, after which one other half-the-distance penalty of 12 yards was assessed to Lewisburg for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, giving the Lancers a primary down on the Lewisburg 12-yard line. 4 performs later, Cavanaugh discovered the tip zone once more from a yard out, giving the Lancers their first lead of the sport.
“That was a important level within the recreation giving up these two fouls on the identical play and it was a scoring drive, so would they’ve scored – no one is aware of, however that’s arduous to get better from,” stated Lewisburg’s Mark Burrows, who served because the staff’s coach for the sport as head coach Marc Persing was unable to attend.
The Inexperienced Dragons then took their ensuing drive and had a fourth-and-3 from their very own 44 to increase their drive and try and tie. Cam Michaels took a handoff and was met with a wall of Lancer defenders round the correct facet of the road, so he reserved discipline and tried to get the primary down across the left facet, however was stopped on the sideline simply shy for a two-yard acquire, which gave the Lancers the ball again close to midfield, they usually picked up a pair of first downs to expire the clock.
“That fourth-down cease was a factor of magnificence,” stated Van Fleet. “We had a freshman nook dash throughout the sector. We had a defensive sort out, Jeffrey Hamilton, go from his inside sort out place, run as arduous as he may to make him (Michaels) suppose after which Jalen Andrews zipped throughout the sector and made an incredible play.”
The turnaround for Loyalsock late adopted a livid begin to the sport that appeared prefer it may flip right into a shootout. Lewisburg scored on its first two possessions of the sport, which had been sandwiched round a Lewisburg landing. The Inexperienced Dragons amassed six whole first downs on their first two drives, however solely seven for the rest of the sport.
The Inexperienced Dragons went 51 yards in eight performs on their first drive, capped by a Max Moyers seven-yard landing. On that drive, Michaels picked up 48 of his 90 speeding yards on the night time.
Loyalsock then acquired a 77-yard kickoff return by Naz Smith to start out their first drive on the Lewisburg 21, after which wanted simply 4 performs for Cavanaugh to seek out the tip zone from a yard out to tie the sport.
Moyers then ripped off a 53-yard landing run on the third play of Lewisburg’s subsequent drive to offer the Inexperienced Dragons the lead again 14-7 with 5:45 left within the first quarter.
“We put our free security (and quarterback) at mike linebacker and he performed a heck of mike linebacker for the remainder of the sport,” stated Van Fleet. “Chase Cavanaugh is in regards to the hardest human being anybody will ever meet.”
However that will be all till Glunk’s 66-yard landing reception late within the second quarter, because the groups traded punts or turning it over on downs for many of the the rest of the primary quarter and second quarter, and the groups did a lot of the identical within the third and first a part of the fourth quarters.
“We didn’t execute as effectively, their protection clearly adjusted to what we had been doing, and once we get backed up because of a penalty, we’re not in nice form,” stated Burrows. “Our protection performed effectively, however we simply couldn’t make the performs once we wanted to make them. We tried to remove what they do finest and for probably the most half, I believe we did that, however they hit us with that huge play within the second quarter and we couldn’t get off the sector on some third-and longs a couple of instances and ultimately, that may catch as much as you.”
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