Turnovers lift Warriors past No. 21 Aggies, 19-16
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Junior Tanner Troutman (Hegins, Pa./Tri-Valley) picked off his second pass of the day at the Lycoming 32-yard line with 91 seconds remaining, just one series after he was called for targeting and temporarily ejected from the game, as the Lycoming College football team held on for a 19-16 Middle Atlantic Conference win over 21st-ranked Delaware Valley on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 5, at a packed David Person Field.
With Lycoming (4-1 overall, 4-0 MAC) leading by 10 points with 5:18 left, Delaware Valley (4-1 overall, 3-1 MAC) mounted a rally, as Aaron Wilmer found Rasheed Bailey over the middle for a 26-yard completion. At the end of the play, Troutman hit Bailey and drew a personal foul call for targeting. He was initially ejected, but after a conference between the officials, the call was changed to a late hit personal foul and Delaware Valley took the ball at the 24-yard line. Wilmer found the end zone on a four-yard rush just three plays later.
The Warriors ran 1:07 off the clock with three running plays on its next drive before senior Zack Czap (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) launched a 29-yard punt out of bounts at the Delaware Valley 29. The Aggies immediately fell into a hole on fourth-and-15, but Wilmer found Bailey for a 23-yard pass, putting the ball at the 47. Two plays later, though, Troutman dropped in front of a pass intended for Bailey and picked off the pass, setting off another celebration on the Lycoming sideline.
With the win, the Warriors moved into sole possession of first place in the MAC for the first time since holding a half-game lead during the ninth week of the 2008 season. The Warriors also beat a ranked opponent for the second straight week after beating 24th-ranked Widener, 16-14, in Chester, Pa., on Sept. 28.
It was a game marked by missed opportunities during the first two and a half quarters, complete with two missed Lycoming field goals, one missed Delaware Valley field goal, three Delaware Valley turnovers in Lycoming territory and one Lycoming fumble at their own 43-yard line.
All of that missed opportunity led to a 6-0 Lycoming lead, as the Warriors scored on the first drive of the game, an 11-play, 71-yard march that was capped by a six-yard rush from junior Craig Needhammer (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn).
Finally, Delaware Valley's Brandon Snyder hit a career-long 42-yard field goal, starting an 18-minute period that saw 29 points ring up on the scoreboard. The Warriors went nine yards on three plays on the ensuing drive, but chose to punt on fourth-and-one. The Aggies struck quickly, with Wilmer finding Bailey on a 55-yard pass down the sideline, putting the ball at the Lycoming 13. Two plays later, Wilmer found James Norton in the center of the endzone for an 11-yard score, giving Delaware Valley a 9-6 lead with 4:20 left in the third.
The Warriors started the ensuing drive at the 24-yard line and on first down, junior quarterback Tyler Jenny (Coalport, Pa./Glendale) rolled away from a sack and moved to the right sideline, where he lofted a perfect spiral to sophomore Ryan Umpleby (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) for a 24-yard completion. Jenny, who went just 5-of-12 for 76 yards in the first half, quickly completed two more passes for 23 yards and moved the ball to the 24. On third-and-six, he tossed a ball to senior Matt Atkinson (Media, Pa./Penncrest) that drew a pass interference call, giving Lycoming a first down at the 19. The Warriors moved nine yards on the next two plays, but Needhammer was stuffed on third-and-one, setting up a fourth-and-one at the 10-yard line as the fourth quarter began.
An illegal procedure penalty on the field goal try by Delaware Valley gave Lycoming another set of downs and on the first play with the second chance, Needhammer dove in from four yards out to help Lycoming retake the lead, but another muffed snap occurred on the extra point, keeping it 12-9.
The Warrior defense followed with its only three-and-out of the game and the resulting punt and 19-yard return by Atkinson put the ball at the Delaware Valley 45-yard line. Lycoming converted two third downs and a fourth down to drive within the 10-yard line and on third and goal from the three, Jenny found sophomore Corey Talerico (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) over the middle to give Lycoming a 19-9 lead, setting up the dramatic end.
Despite being outgained 345-296 in total offense, the Lycoming offense did manage 169 yards of positive yardage on 44 carries on the ground and 170 yards through the air. Jenny, who completed 11-of-12 in the second half, finished 16-of-24 for 170 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked once.
Needhammer rushed 32 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns, as he crossed the 100-yard barrier for the fourth straight game, moving within one of the school record held by Josh Kleinfelter set in 2010.
Atkinson led the receivers with six catches for 86 yards, Umpleby added three catches for 44 yards and Talerico finished with three catches for 44 yards.
Wilmer finished 23-of-36 for 265 yards and a touchdown, but he was hampered by three interceptions. Returning all-conference running back Kyle Schuberth was held to 71 yards on 14 carries and the mobile Wilmer was held to 14 yards on 10 carries. Bailey finished with 108 yards on four catches and Lewis Vincent posted six catches for 56 yards.
Defensively, the Warriors got a career game from junior Kyle Sullivan (Coatesville, Pa./Bishop Shanahan, as he posted 12 tackles, 2.5 for loss. Troutman, who also added a first-quarter interception in the end zone, had eight tackles along with senior Tyler Denike (South Boardman, Mich./Forest Area). Senior Kabongo Bukasa (Sharon Hill, Pa./Academy Park) added six tackles and a pick and senior Dwight Hentz (Halifax, Pa./Halifax Area) added four tackles, one for loss and one fumble recovery.
Ken Kenner-English led the Aggies with 13 tackles and Danny Wynne added 10. Matt Hoch posted seven stops and one tackle and John Marcelline added four tackles and a forced fumble.
The road to Lycoming's 15th MAC title is not even half over, though, and will include another tough test on Saturday, Oct. 12, when the Warriors head to Lebanon Valley for a 1 p.m. tilt. It will also serve as Homecoming for the Dutchmen, who enter the game with a 4-1 overall mark and a 3-1 league mark.