Montoursville’s lead was 22 factors within the fourth quarter, nevertheless it nonetheless felt tenuous at greatest. That lead beforehand was 36 factors within the first quarter Saturday in opposition to Loyalsock. It had been whittled to as few as 15 within the third quarter.
When sophomore cornerback Marco Pulizzi jumped in entrance of a Chase Cavanaugh cross within the crimson zone with 8 minutes, 21 seconds to go at Memorial Stadium, the Warriors’ comfortably uncomfortable lead lastly felt strong. Montoursville capitalized on a Murphy’s Regulation first quarter for Loyalsock within the District 4 Class AA semifinal, constructing a 29-point lead and persevering with to step on the fuel for 4 quarters in a 57-28 win over the rival Lancers.
The roller-coaster sport for the Warriors mirrored the emotional ebbs and flows of every week the place its season was canceled Tuesday as the college district went to totally distant studying due to optimistic COVID-19 circumstances solely to have it restored in a board assembly at 1:23 a.m. Wednesday morning. Montoursville will host the district title sport Friday night time in opposition to Danville – a 43-0 winner over Athens on Saturday. The Warriors gained a matchup between the 2 groups in Week 4, 42-28.
“I’m not making excuses for anyone, nevertheless it was a protracted week,” Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer stated. “So was there a hangover? Possibly. I don’t know if it caught up with them right here. It was so emotional early after which all of it obtained drained. It’s inexcusable and it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky assembly right here after the sport, that’s for certain.”
Loyalsock was shell-shocked by a primary quarter which noticed the Lancers fumble on its first play of the sport solely to have the Warriors flip it right into a 1-yard landing run by Dylan Bennett. That was adopted by a Zack Schmalhofer stress ultimately zone which pressured an intentional grounding name and a security. Heath Jones then fought by way of almost a half-dozen tackles to drive his method into the top zone from 5 yards out on fourth-and-1.
So it was already 15-0 when Bennett blocked a punt and recovered it ultimately zone for a landing. And it was 22-0 when Loyalsock fumbled once more and Montoursville turned it right into a 16-yard landing cross from Maddix Dalena to Isaiah Fenner.
It was a stunning begin within the first 12 minutes from two groups which performed a 23-12 sport simply 14 days prior. It left the Warriors driving an emotional excessive it couldn’t presumably carry for 48 minutes. And it left Loyalsock trying to find solutions with out understanding what the questions have been.
It solely obtained worse when two performs after forcing a turnover on downs at its personal 11, Dalena discovered Fenner on a publish sample and the junior fought the ball away from a Lancer defender and completed off an 89-yard landing cross. Fenner entered the day with simply three catches for 20 yards this season. However he posted 5 for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday.
“If you happen to’ve seen me in any respect, I are inclined to drop the ball loads,” Fenner stated. “I used to be like, ‘Isaiah, you may’t drop this.’ I needed that ball greater than something, so I went up and obtained it and I took off.”
“The truth is when the wheels come off one thing, typically they actually come off. They usually did,” Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet stated. “No matter mishap could possibly be in place, it occurred.”
Fenner turned out to be one of many key items Saturday to a Montoursville offense which has needed to discover a method to change the productiveness of main rusher Rocco Pulizzi and jack-of-all-trades Dylan Moll, who have been each misplaced for the season within the first sport in opposition to Loyalsock. The offense didn’t essentially change for the Warriors on Saturday afternoon, merely the personnel making the performs.
Bennett, who has primarily performed tight finish this season, discovered some extra conventional work out of the backfield and ran for 91 yards on 9 carries. With the Lancers placing a lot of its defensive deal with Montoursville main receiver Dillon Younger, Fenner discovered himself in some one-on-one matchups on the opposite aspect of the sphere which he was capable of win, just like the publish sample which led to the second of his two touchdowns.
Fenner has been a constant presence defensively for Montoursville all season, however he was all the time the fourth or fifth possibility within the offense till Saturday. Dalena accomplished 10 of 15 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns, however solely two of these 10 completions went to Younger.
“Isaiah has been there all yr, nevertheless it’s getting him extra concerned now due to who we don’t have,” Keefer stated. “He’s one in every of our choices on the prime now.”
“I simply noticed it as a possibility to point out everyone within the district what I can do,” Fenner stated. “We will go from the highest of the depth chart to the underside and nonetheless have the identical end result.”
“It’s only a very sound offense,” Van Fleet stated. “They positively have a lineup full of fellows which can be very proficient at each place. They usually executed in a method (Saturday) that we didn’t.”
First quarters haven’t been form to Loyalsock in opposition to Montoursville this season. Of the 80 factors its allowed to the Warriors, 43 have come within the first quarter. And issues have been so dangerous Saturday folks requested Van Fleet on the sideline if the mercy rule kicks in within the first half. However in each video games, the Lancers discovered a method to reply over the ultimate 36 minutes and make the rivalry matchup a sport.
Making what seemed to be a runaway into an uneasy last three quarters began when Chase Cavanaugh discovered JerVal Weeks-Shuler down the left sideline for a 94-yard landing cross simply three performs after Fenner’s lengthy catch. That one play resuscitated a Loyalsock group which was destitute for the primary 17 minutes.
The Lancers then pressured a fumble when freshman Logan Bastian jarred the ball free and Aeden Holler recovered. A Loyalsock offense which didn’t document a single first down within the first quarter then recorded three in a drive which was capped by a Korie Mayer 10-yard landing run.
And though Montoursville nonetheless led 36-14, the Lancers had momentum. And never even a landing drive within the last 1:50 of the half by Montoursville might cease that momentum.
“There have been occasions I’ve seemed within the children’ eyes in conditions like this and stated we’re simply going to run the clock and preserve it shut. There have been occasions we go after it like gangbusters,” Van Fleet stated. “However we stated you guys are going to have to point out us what we have to do. Come out with fireplace and, as coaches, we’ll again you and we’ll go after it and take some probabilities. However in the identical sense, if we don’t come out with any fireplace, this sport will likely be transferring.”
“I feel we had the momentum going after we scored the primary time,” stated Cavanaugh, who threw for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Our guys performed tremendous laborious. We obtained again up after being down 36 and scored a pair touchdowns. I’m simply actually happy with our guys.”
Loyalsock made issues much more attention-grabbing within the third quarter when Cavanaugh capped a 50-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run. The Lancers then capitalized on a Rian Glunk interception when Cavanaugh once more discovered Weeks-Shuler for a 74-yard landing which obtained Loyalsock inside 43-28 with quarter-hour of sport left.
Weeks-Shuler caught six passes for 209 yards.
“They opened up loads for JerVal,” Cavanaugh stated. “He had loads of one-on-one protection and we took benefit of that once we might.”
With the sport in full uneasy mode for the Warriors, they responded with a 61-yard scoring drive capped by a C.J. Signor 7-yard landing. Then Pulizzi ended the following Lancer menace along with his interception.
And rapidly, a balloon which was slowly leaking air, was once more full. Keefer wasn’t blissful in his postgame dialogue along with his group, however he acknowledged with the yo-yoing of the group’s destiny in a 24-hour interval, it might have lastly caught as much as Montoursville.
“It’s been a extremely emotional week for a 43-year-old, not to mention a 16 or 17-year-old,” Keefer stated. “So I’m going to them somewhat bit extra of a cross and let’s hope subsequent week is a bit more structured.”
Montoursville 57, Loyalsock 28
Loyalsock 0 14 14 0 – 28
Montoursville 29 14 7 7 – 57
M – Dylan Bennett 1 run (kick blocked), 9:56
M – Security, intentional grounding ultimately zone, 4:08
M – Heath Jones 5 run (Dillon Younger kick), 2:39
M – Dylan Bennett recovered blocked punt in finish zone, 1:49
M – Isaiah Fenner 16 cross from Maddix Dalena (Younger kick), :24
M – Fenner 89 cross from Dalena (Younger kick), 7:03
L – JerVal Weeks-Shuler 94 cross from Chase Cavanaugh (Matt Barone kick), 6:11
L – Korie Mayer 10 run (Barone kick), 1:54
M – C.J. Signor 1 run (Younger kick), :14
L – Cavanaugh 1 run (Barone kick), 6:30
L – Weeks-Shuler 74 cross from Cavanaugh (Barone kick), 2:58
M – Signor 7 run (Younger kick), :41
M – Signor 3 run (Younger kick), 5:49
First downs 21 16
Rushes-yds 49-128 38-238
Com-att-int 18-27-1 10-15-1
Cross yards 312 212
Complete yards 440 450
Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-47 8-67
Dashing-Loyalsock, Korie Mayer, 26-83, TD; Chase Cavanaugh, 22-77, TD; Group, 2-(-32). Montoursville, Dylan Bennett, 9-91, TD; Isaiah Fenner, 4-44; Heath Jones, 9-38, TD; Maddix Dalena, 5-35; C.J. Signor, 9-32, 3 TDs; Group, 2-(-2).
Passing-Loyalsock, Chase Cavanaugh, 18-27-1, 312 yds., 2 TDs. Montoursville, Maddix Dalena, 10-15-1, 212 yds., 2 TDs.
Receiving-Loyalsock, JerVal Weeks-Shuler, 6-209, 2 TDs; Jalen Andrews, 5-52; Rian Glunk, 5-41; Logan Bastian, 2-10. Montoursville, Isaiah Fenner, 5-146, 2 TDs; Dillon Younger, 2-47; Ethan Lepley, 2-12; C.J. Signor, 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS – Loyalsock, Rian Glunk. Montoursville, Marco Pulizzi.
RECORDS: Montoursville (8-0); Loyalsock (4-3).