Lycoming rally falls short at Rowan, 24-17

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GLASSBORO, N.J. – It took a defensive play to get the Lycoming College offense going on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Coach Richard Wackar Stadium. Unfortunately, the resulting furious second-half rally by the Warriors wasn't enough to get past a tough Rowan University, falling 24-17.

"I'm pleased with our ability to hang in there against a very good team," Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. "I'm disappointed because we made too many mistakes. This was a winnable game. They are good, but with penalties and dropped balls, it wasn't enough to beat a good team on their field."

Down 24-0, the Warriors (0-1 overall) got on the scoreboard thanks to its defense, as the team benefitted from a pair of penalties that pushed the Profs back to the 4-yard line for a third-and-21. Senior captain Chuck Bellitto (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley) picked the ensuing deep attempt at the 25-yard line and used the left sideline to trot in for the touchdown. Senior T.J. Chiarolanza (Warminster, Pa./William Tenet) rang the extra point off the upright, but it went through to cut the deficit to 17 points with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors kept the pressure on, turning the Profs (1-0 overall) away on a three-and-out and then quickly went on a 61-yard, three-play drive to score again, this time on a look over the middle by sophomore quarterback Zach Klinger (Halifax, Pa./Halifax), who found senior tight end Mike Reese (Shenandoah, Pa./Shenandoah) for a 20-yard touchdown. The drive also included a 31-yard reception by Josh  Dixon (Fleetville, Pa./Lackawanna Trail) and a 10-yard run by sophomore Parker Showers (Aspers, Pa./Biglerville).

The Warriors kept the pressure on after a pair of punts as junior Anthony Marascio (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) got to the Rowan quarterback on the weak side and forced a fumble into the waiting hands of sophomore Dillin Rudloff (Athens, Pa./Athens) at the Rowan 10-yard-line. Chiarolanza came on to convert the 27-yard-field goal to make it a 24-17 game with 6:56 left.

Rowan had a drive once again stall at the 35-yard-line as freshman Robbie Brodish (Middletown, Pa./Middletown) broke up a pass on third-and-five near the first down line, giving the Warriors a chance to tie the game with a drive that started at the Lycoming 20 after the Profs' punt went into the end zone. After a nine-yard run by Klinger on third down, the Profs stood tall, stopping the Warriors behind the line of scrimmage on fourth down with 3:01 left.

On a third-and-five for the Profs from the 25-yard line, sophomore Ray Bierbach (Hunlock Creek, Pa./Northwest Area) came up huge for the Warriors, hauling in an interception at the four-yard line, and returning it to the 15. On the first play of the ensuing drive with just over two minutes left, Klinger found senior wide-out Ryan Wagaman ( Apers, Pa./Biglerville) for a 20-yard gain to the 35. However, that was as close as the Warriors could get, with two incomplete passes and a scramble ending the Warriors' offensive day.

Both teams spent much of the first quarter struggling for field position, but a high snap that nearly went out of the end zone helped the Profs start a drive with 1:16 left in the quarter at the 25-yard line. The Profs spent little time going to work, with Justin Long catching a pass over the middle on 1-and-10 and moving to the one-yard line. Quarterback Kenny Brock scored on the next play on a bootleg.

The Profs kept the momentum going after the touchdown, with them executing a perfect on-sides kick attempt. Aided by a pass interference penalty, the Profs got into position for Antonio Regalbuto to hit a 35-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Profs also took advantage late in the half after the Warriors failed to convert on a punt fake, missing a first down by inches. Rowan started a 67-yard drive from there and even overcame a block in the back penalty on a 48-yard run by Keith Corcoran. With 14 seconds left, Brock found Lee on a quick slant for the six-yard touchdown, helping the Profs take a 17-0 lead into the locker room.

Senior Josh Kleinfelter (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) led the Warriors in the first half, posting 53 yards on 14 carries. Corcoran rushed for 52 yards and Brock completed 10-of-22 passes in the first half.

The Warriors' offense started to show signs of life in the third quarter, as Kleinfelter rushed for 62 yards into the end zone on the team's first possession of the second half, but a hold call brought the play back to midfield and the Warriors' drive later stalled.

Rowan's offense kept going in the third quarter, as Corcoron broke loose on a windy-twisting 73-yard run for a touchdown during the Prof's first possession of the third quarter, helping the Profs' take a 24-0 lead.

Kleinfelter finished the game with 91 yards on 24 attempts and Reese led the Warriors' passing game, catching three passes for 50 yards while Dixon added three catches for 40 yards. Klinger finished 12-for-31 passing for 145 yards and a touchdown. He did not turn the ball over.

Rowan's offense was led by Corcoran, whlo ran for 153 yards and a touchdown and receiver Khalil Wallace, who made five catches for 45 yards. Brock finished 15-of-34 passing for 135 yards. He was intercepted twice and passed for one touchdown.

Defensively, the Warriors got several standout performances, as sophomore Matt Talerico (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) posted eight tackles and two breakups, junior linebacker Chris Kish (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) added eight stops. Marascio also added eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble and Bellitto also posted eight tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception. Bierback also posted seven tackles, three breakups and an interception.

The Profs were led by 12 tackles from Jerome Gordon and Steve Hague added nine tackles and two for a loss.

Lycoming returns to David Person Field for its 2010 home opener on Saturday, Sept. 11, when Westminster College comes to town for a 1 p.m. game as part of the PAC/MAC Challenge. The game is also part of the NCAA Take A Kid To The Game initiative, with all children under the age of 14 will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.