Penalties and turnovers cost Warriors in MAC loss at Wilkes

Josh Kleinfelter appears to have scored a TD but Ref's say NO!

Josh Kleinfelter appears to have scored a TD but Referees say NO!

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Lycoming College football team dropped its first Middle Atlantic Conference game of the season on Saturday, Oct. 18, at Wilkes, falling by a final score of 27-13. Costly penalties and five Warrior turnovers proved to be the deciding factors in the game.

For the sixth-time this season, Lycoming outgained its opponent, finishing with 346 yards of total offense to Wilkes’ 294, but the Warriors were penalized seven times for 85 yards and lost five turnovers, including four interceptions and one fumble.

The team finished with a season-low 34 yards rushing and a season-high 312 passing yards. Wilkes ran for 119 yards and threw for 175.

The Warriors opened the game with a defensive stand, forcing a punt after a three-and-out on Wilkes’ first possession. The offense capitalized with a 12 play, 48 yard drive to set up Scott Erikson for a 28-yard field goal, putting Lycoming up 3-0 midway through the first quarter. 

The defense forced another punt on the Colonels’ second possession. Mario Della Fortuna, the leading punter in the MAC, pinned the Warriors on the two-yard line to start the drive.

On Lycoming’s first play from the two, Colin Dwyer (Dalton, Pa.) connected with Brad Shellenberger (Lock Haven, Pa.) on a 98-yard touchdown strike, the longest passing touchdown in Lycoming history. Erikson’s extra point put the Warriors up 10-0 with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.

Wilkes advancing to the Lycoming 20-yard line on its next drive before Matt Licci (Drexel Hill, Pa.) recorded a nine-yard sack to force a field goal. Chris Horn, the leading kicker in the conference, connected on a 35-yard attempt to bring to score to 10-3 in favor of the Warriors at the end of the first quarter.

Wilkes carried momentum into the next Lycoming possession, forcing a Jake Lamphere (Monroeton, Pa.) punt. Lamphere landed his best kick of the year, placing the Colonels inside the one-yard line. They advanced the ball to the two-yard line before being forced to punt back to the Warriors.

Lycoming started its next drive on the Wilkes 37-yard line, but Colin Dwyer’s first pass was intercepted at the 16-yard line by Kevin Gerhart and returned to the Wilkes 47.

The Warrior defense gave up three yards to midfield before Wilkes was forced to punt for the third time in the game. Dwyer and the offense took over at their own 10-yard line, but could not gain a first down and were forced to punt. Lycoming was called for a holding penalty on the punt return, setting up the Colonels with a first down at the Lycoming 22-yard line.

Wilkes capitalized on the field position when Rob Thomas hit Jason Prushinski on a 22-yard touchdown pass. Horn’s kick tied the score at 10-10 with seven minutes left in the first half.

Lycoming went 44 yards down the field before the drive stalled. Erikson kicked a 40-yard field goal to put the Warriors back up 13-10 with 3:30 to play in the half. His 40-yard effort tied his career long, set last season.

After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, Lycoming was hit with a 15-yard penalty for a late hit out of bounds, advancing Wilkes to the Lycoming 35-yard line. The Colonels converted when Johnson hit Jonathon Kocher for a six-yard touchdown pass. The extra point put Wilkes up 17-13 with 1:21 remaining in the half.

The Warriors turned the ball over for the second time on their final possession of the half when Dwyer was intercepted at the Wilkes 23-yard line.

A personal foul call on Lycoming on the first Wilkes play of the next possession advanced the ball past midfield for the Colonels, but Chris Tribanas (Lansdale, Pa.) recorded an 11-yard sack on the next play, moving the ball back to the Wilkes 41-yard line and effectively ending the half with Wilkes leading 17-13.

The 17 first half points by the Colonels were the most points given up by Lycoming in a half all season.

The Warriors outgained Wilkes with 232 yards of total offense to 168 in the half, finishing with 222 passing yards and just 10 rushing yards while the Colonels ran for 56 yards and threw for 168.

Lycoming opened the second half by marching down the field into Wilkes territory, but a holding call brought back what would have been a first down inside the 10-yard line. Scott Erikson attempted a 47-yard field goal that missed short, giving the ball back to Colonels.

Wilkes was called for its first two penalties of the game, a holding call and a false start, on their next possession, forcing a punt and giving the ball back to Lycoming at its own 49-yard line.

The Warriors marched down the field to the Wilkes two-yard line before Josh Kleinfelter (Bellwood, Pa.) dove over the pile into the end zone. The officials did not signal for a touchdown, and after a short meeting, ruled that Kleinfelter fumbled the ball in the air before he crossed the goal line. The call awarded the ball to Wilkes on the four-yard line.

The Warrior defense flexed its muscle when Chuck Bellitto (New Holland, Pa.) intercepted a pass at midfield on the next play, but again Lycoming was charged with a personal foul, giving the ball back to Wilkes with a first down on the 21-yard line.

After Wilkes advanced past midfield, T.J. Doyle (Douglassville, Pa.) intercepted a pass to give the ball back to Lycoming at its own 36-yard line, but the Warriors could not advance the ball, forcing another punt. Wilkes was charged with its first personal foul on the play, a roughing the kicker call, keeping the Warrior drive alive.

The drive, however, stalled just past midfield, forcing another Lamphere punt.

The Warriors were charged with another personal foul on the first play of the next drive, giving Wilkes the ball at midfield, but Nick Reese (Shenandoah, Pa.) broke up a pass to end the drive and force a punt. Della Fortuna pinned the Warriors at the two-yard line for the second time in the game.

Again, Lycoming could not manage a first down and was forced to punt out of its own end zone. After the return, Wilkes began its possession at the Lycoming 27 yard-line.

The Colonels capitalized on the field position when Johnson connected with Jordan D’Emilio for a 27-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the next series. The extra point put Wilkes up 24-13 with 8:53 left in the game.

On the first play of Lycoming’s next possession, Dwyer was intercepted for the third time, giving the ball back to Wilkes at the Lycoming 40-yard line.

The Colonels moved into field goal range for Horn, who connected on a 25-yarder to put Wilkes up 27-13 with 4:23 to play.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ray Bierbach (Hunlock Creek, Pa.) threw a cross-field lateral to Jim Daley (Warrington, Pa.), who advanced the ball to the Wilkes 45-yard line before being stopped.

The Warriors advanced down to the Wilkes 12-yard line before Dwyer was intercepted for a fourth time, turning the ball back to the Colonels with just over two minutes to play in the game. Wilkes gained a first down and was able to run out the clock and seal the 27-13 win.

The 27 points were the most scored on the Warriors all season as Lycoming entered the game allowing no more than 17 points in any contest this year.

Dwyer completed 21-of-41 pass attempts for a career-high 312 yards and one touchdown, but was intercepted four times.

Shellenberger caught eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Kleinfelter pulled down five passes for 60 yards while finishing with 17 carries for 47 yards on the ground.

Pat McAfee (Warrington, Pa.) led the defense with eight total tackles. Bellitto and Chris Smith (Philadelphia, Pa.) each had seven tackles. Tribanas and Licci each had one sack with Licci recording three tackles for a loss.

With the loss, Lycoming drops to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Middle Atlantic Conference while Wilkes improves to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in the MAC.

The Warriors will return home next Saturday, Oct. 25, for a 1 p.m. showdown with No. 14 Delaware Valley at Person Field. The Aggies will likely drop in the polls after being upset on Saturday, 19-14, at FDU-Florham.

Notes: The Warriors have outgained their opponents in all six games this season … the offense has put up over 300 yards in each game this season … the defense held the opposition under 300 yards for the fifth time this season … 34 rushing yards is a season low … 312 passing yards is a season high … Dwyer’s 98-yard touchdown pass to Shellenberger is a school record for longest TD pass … Erikson’s 40-yard field goal ties his career long … Saturday marked the second week in a row that Lycoming lost a fumble in the end zone … with action around the league, five teams are now tied atop the MAC at 2-1 in conference play … Jake Lamphere had his best punting performance of the year, kicking four times for an average of 34.5 yards … Lycoming now holds a series advantage of 33-15 against Wilkes … The Warriors have not scored a touchdown in the second half since the third quarter against Susquehanna in the second game of the season … Kevin Hoben made his first start at sam linebacker … Nate Robley had a career-high three receptions for 40 yards … Wilkes’ Kevin Gerhart (LB) had three of the team’s four interceptions in the game.

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