Warriors drop one-point heartbreaker at No.18 Ithaca

Junior WR Mark Ryan catching 4th Qtr go ahead touchdown (c) WOL Photo

Junior WR Mark Ryan catching 4th Qtr go ahead touchdown (c) WOL Photo

ITHACA, N.Y. – The Lycoming College football team opened the season with a heartbreaking 17-16 loss at No.18 Ithaca on Saturday, Sept. 6. A blocked extra point and a costly defensive penalty proved to be the deciding factors in the game.The Warriors (0-1), entering the game as underdogs after last season’s 31-6 defeat at David Person Field, out-gained the nationally-ranked Bombers (1-0) with 322 yards of total offense to Ithaca’s 266. Both teams ran 67 plays in the game.

The first of two deciding plays occurred in the second quarter when the Warrior defense held Ithaca to a field goal from inside the red zone. The kick was good, putting the Bombers up 6-3, but Lycoming was called for roughing the kicker, giving Ithaca an automatic first down on the four-yard line. The Bombers capitalized with a touchdown to take a 10-3 lead into halftime.

A rejuvenated Warrior team opened the second half with back-to-back defensive stands, holding Ithaca scoreless in the third quarter. Lycoming opened the fourth quarter with a 62-yard scoring drive, marching down the field for the first touchdown of the season on a four-yard pass from junior quarterback Colin Dwyer (Dalton, Pa.) to junior receiver Mark Ryan (Philadelphia).

Another defensive stand for the Warriors put the ball back in Dwyer’s hands. Lycoming maintained momentum from the previous scoring drive and marched down the field again, this time scoring on a seven-yard pass from Dwyer to junior tight end Jimmie Stevenson (Pipersville, Pa.). The six-play, 63-yard drive gave the Warriors a 16-10 lead with 9:21 to play.

The second deciding play came on the point after attempt when Ithaca’s Jason Chier broke through the left side of the line and blocked the Warriors kick.

As momentum shifted, the Bombers mounted their only successful drive of the second half, driving 74-yards in less than five minutes to score and retake the lead, 17-16, with 4:24 to play.

Lycoming’s Ted Geurds (Douglassville, Pa.) was called for a personal foul and ejected from the game on the scoring play, moving the ensuing kickoff up to the 45-yard line. Warrior kick returner Josh Dixon (Fleetville, Pa.) dropped the kick in the end zone and the ball trickled out into the field, eliminating the chance for a touchback. Forced to pick up the ball, Dixon was tackled at the Lycoming four-yard line. The drive stalled out before reaching midfield and the Warriors were forced to punt with just over two minutes to play.

The defense flexed its muscle for the final time in the game on the next drive, shutting Ithaca down and forcing a punt.

Lycoming got the ball back with 1:11 left on the clock and started its drive from its own 19-yard line. Dwyer completed two passes to the 31-yard line before taking a sack for an eight-yard loss on the third play. On the next play, he completed a pass to sophomore running back Josh Kleinfelter (Bellwood, Pa.) just short of the first down and Kleinfelter then pitched the ball back to Brad Shellenberger (Lock Haven, Pa.) on the hook and ladder. Shellenberger advanced to the 50-yard line on the play before being pushed out of bounds with just under 30-seconds to play. Ithaca’s Jason Chier intercepted the next pass at the Bomber 28-yard line to seal the one-point win.

Ithaca opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 29-yard field goal. The Warriors responded at the beginning of the second quarter when senior Scott Erikson (New Providence, N.J.) connected on a 30-yard field goal to tie the game.

Dwyer posted career-bests in completions, attempts and yards, going 28-for-43 for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore Ryan Wagaman (Aspers, Pa.) led the team in receptions, pulling in a career-high 11 catches for 82 yards. Fellow sophomore Adam Paulhamaus (Watsontown, Pa.) caught two passes for 47 yards, both coming on the crucial drive that opened the fourth quarter.

Kleinfelter led the team in rushing, stacking up 85 yards on 17 carries. He also pulled down four receptions for 52 yards to lead the team in all-purpose yardage with 137 total yards.

Sophomore Ben Rosa (Honesdale, Pa.) led the defense with 12 total tackles, including seven solo and one tackle for a loss. Rosa was making his first defensive start after changing positions from running back to linebacker during the preseason. Senior captain Chris Smith (Philadelphia) had eight tackles.

Geurds recorded one sack and two tackles for a loss before his ejection. Senior captain Chris Tribanas (Lansdale, Pa.), making his first start at Lycoming after missing last season with an injury, also recorded a sack. The Warriors third sack of the day came from junior Matt Licci (Drexel Hill, Pa.)

The Warrior offense, architected by first-year head coach Mike Clark, posted 322 yards of total offense with 243 passing yards and 79 rushing yards. The offense was 50.0% on third-down conversions, going 8-for-16 in the game.
Lycoming’s defense held Ithaca, a team that averaged over 420 yards per game in 2007, to 226 total yards, including 142 passing yards and 124 rushing yards.

Bomber quarterback Dan Juvan put up career bests of 309 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Warriors in 2007 but completed just 11 passes for 142 yards and no touchdowns on Saturday.

The Warriors are off next weekend and will return to action at home on Saturday, Sept. 20, when Susquehanna travels to Williamsport. The game, one of the featured events of Lycoming’s Family Weekend, is scheduled to kickoff at 1:30 p.m. from Person Field.

Head Coach Mike Clark Comments
(Ref.: the blocked PAT)
“We had some trouble on the left side of our PAT unit on the first attempt and we just didn’t do enough to fix it before the second one and we got caught. We’re going to fix that before we hit the field again in two weeks.”

(Ref.: reflections on the team’s performance)
“I think today showed that we can compete with anyone. We set high goals this year to go after a MAC Championship and we’re going to stick to those goals.”
(Ref.: the game’s effect on the team’s outlook)
“We didn’t come here for a moral victory today, we thought we could win this game and we had our opportunities.”

(Ref.: things to work on before Susquehanna)
“We need to run the ball better, so we’re going to look at what we can do to be more productive in that aspect of the game. We also need to reduce the penalties. We had a couple very big penalties that killed our momentum today.”

(Ref.: the defense)
“Our defense was great today. Juvan threw for over 300 yards against us in the opener last year and our defense held the whole team to under 300 yards today.”

Josh Kleinfelter Comment
(Ref.: more room to run in the second half)
“We talked at halftime about how we thought we could get to the outside and exploit the secondary and it worked well for us.”

Colin Dwyer Comments
(Ref.: effect of the team’s performance)
“Coming in and hanging with the 18th ranked team in the country is good for the morale of the team.”

(Ref.: thoughts on his performance)
“I think I played pretty well today with the exception of a couple misreads.”

(Ref.: coach Clark’s new offensive schemes)
“Offensively, the team really showed how hard we worked in the offseason. We moved the ball very well after we made adjustments at halftime.”

(Ref.: throwing the ball a career-high 43 times)
“I didn’t feel like I threw the ball 43 times today. I was just in a rhythm and going with the flow of the game.”

(Ref.: the interception on the last play of the game)
“On the last play, I just had a misread. Brad ran the right route and I needed to throw it to his other side.”

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