Lycoming Outlasts King’s For 31-24 Win
Written by: William Albright on Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
By BILL ALBRIGHT
WILLIAMSPORT — Maybe it was a little bit of a letdown on the heels of a huge, emotional win over nationally-ranked Ithaca last weekend. Or maybe it was that the Lycoming College Warrior football team might have taken the King’s College Monarchs a little too lightly.
Whatever the reason might have been, the Warriors built up a 31-13 lead over the Monarchs before King’s went on a 11-0 run in the fourth quarter to close the gap to a touchdown in the waning moments of the game.
However, not to let things and most importantly the win get away from them, the Warriors held off the stubborn Monarchs for the 31-24 win at sun-drenched Robert Person Field Saturday afternoon. For the Lycos, the victory was their third in a row following a season-opening loss to Rowan.
With the Monarchs still having one last gasp of making things more than just interesting, Mark Ryan, one of Lyco’s “hands team” members, pounced on an onsides kick attempt by King’s to “ice” the win with 40 ticks of the clock remaining.
When you have a 17-3 lead at halftime on the strength of 235 yards total offense, you should feel pretty good. However, even with that lead, there were a few things that bothered Lyco head coach Mike Clark about the execution, or lack of, during the opening 30 minutes.
“We might have been a little sluggish coming out, but the turnovers didn’t help us get things going,” said Clark. “One ball should have been caught, one that was intercepted should have been thrown away, they blitzed us quite a bit and they cranked it up (on defense) a little bit more than we thought they would. We moved the ball pretty well in the first half and by only giving up three points, I thought we were pretty solid on defense. But the big thing to me is that we didn’t finish drives and we turned the ball over. We had over 200 yards of offense in the first half, but the bottom line is that you have to finish drives and put points on the board.”
After the two teams exchanged field goals for a 3-all tie, the Warriors put on a 76-yard, 11-play drive, culminated with a 3-yard bolt into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. During the drive, Warrior running back Josh Kleinfelter ran the ball eight times for 61 of the 76 yards.
Following the game, Clark admitted that the Warriors sort of got an ear full about taking care of matters when they present themselves.
“I had some choice words when we got sacked late in the first half,” Clark said. “But in terms of play calling, I did a poor job in the first half and I did a bad job of calling plays late in the game. The thing that bothered me is that collectively, I think we can do a much better job. I ripped the ‘O’ line for giving up a sack right before the half, but they came out and were able to take advantage of some things we thought we could and that allowed us to score.”
Coming out of the locker room with a mission in front of them, the Warriors got the job done on both sides of the football.
The Warrior defensive unit did its part of the job by forcing King’s into a 3-and-out on the first possession of the half and the Lyco offensive unit took a cue from that effort to put more points on the board.
“We were making a lot of mistakes in the first half,” said Kleinfelter. “At halftime, we came in and talked about what were not doing and we were able to fix those mistakes in the second half and put more points on the board.
Taking over on their own 26-yard line, the Warriors only needed four plays to cover the 74 yards for the touchdown. Kleinfelter promptly ripped off his longest gain of the season good for 54 yards, and two plays, the shifty tailback scampered for the final 11 yards and the score. For the game, Kleinfelter rushed 29 times for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We were getting a real good push up front, and when that happens, it makes it real easy to run between the tackles,” said Kleinfelter. “We went over some of the mistakes we made at halftime and we came out and were able to run the ball pretty good.”
As is the case with any running back’s success, it is usually due to an outstanding job by the “Hogs” up front, rooting out defensive linemen to make a path for the back to maneuver through.
“A lot of the credit has to go to them, if not all the time, most of the time,” said Kleinfelter. “They are a hard-working bunch of guys and during the week, they watch as much film as possible, looking for weaknesses in the defense of our opponent. They also spend a lot of time in the weight room, just trying to make themselves better.”
Although it involved many more than just one player, in Saturday’s win, Kleinfelter had most of his success running off the tail of offensive center Glen Hughes.
“It is an absolute pleasure to be able block for a back like him,” said Hughes about Kleinfelter. “He is just a great, humble kid and all five of us (offensive linemen) just enjoy blocking for him. There is nothing better for us than to see him rip through the secondary while making big runs.”
As for the success the Warriors had running against the Monarch defense, Hughes felt it was due to the way King’s defensive front lined up.
“They ran a defense where they had their defensive linemen stand up all the time,” explained Hughes. “When they did that, we had that area (middle) open and we were able to run all of our inside plays with a lot of success today.”
The Monarchs tried to answer the Lyco touchdown with a field goal, but the Warriors came right back to answer that 3-pointer and more with another touchdown when quarterback Zach Klinger found Phil Peterson wide open in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard TD hookup.
Even though the Warriors held 18-point leads twice at 24-6 and 31-13, the relentless King’s squad came back to score 11 unanswered points to make things interesting in the final minute of the game.
“Give them credit because we allowed them to hang around and short of the officials making a mistake (on an inadvertent whistle that cost King’s an early score), that is a tie ball game,” said Clark. “We should have run the ball with eleven minutes to go, we should not have intercepted the ball (deep in Lyco territory on a fourth down play) and there are a lot of things we did today that were wrong that allowed the game to be much closer than it needed to be.”
Now 3-1, the Warriors will face another tough test Saturday when they travel to Reading to face the Albright Lions. Kickoff for that fray is set for 1 p.m.
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