Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy of Lycoming

GENEVA, N.Y. – The Lycoming College football team dropped a 33-15 decision at No.23 Hobart on Saturday, Nov.22, in the opening round of the NCAA Playoffs. The Warriors scored first, but the Statesmen rallied with 33 unanswered points to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Nick Reese returned an interception 55 yards to set up a Colin Dwyer touchdown run midway through the second quarter for the first score of the game, but Hobart rallied back with two touchdowns to close the half with the lead.

The Statesmen took advantage of four Lycoming interceptions and kept the Warrior offense off the field, running a total of 88 plays for over 400 yards of offense in the game. Hobart held the ball for 37:41 to Lycoming’s 22:19.

“We struggled offensively all day,” said head coach Mike Clark. “You can’t turn the ball over four times against a team that is 8-1 and expect to win. I thought they played a great game today and we just didn’t have our best effort of the season.”

The temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees with a wind chill that dipped into the teens. After a snow storm swept through the Finger Lakes region on Friday night, Hobart’s field was covered in snow. The yard lines and end zones were cleared prior to kickoff. It was the first time Lycoming played a game in the snow since the second weekend of December in 2003.

“The field wasn’t terrible,” said Reese after the game. “I was excited to play in the snow and it was better than playing in the rain because the ground was almost frozen. The footing wasn’t as terrible as we thought it might be.”

Lycoming won the toss and shocked the crowd in on the first play of the game when Colin Dwyer hit Josh Kleinfelter on a screen over the middle that went for 44 yards on the first play. The drive stalled at the Hobart 22-yard line and the Statesmen took over on downs.

Hobart responded by driving the length of the field to the Lycoming 20-yard line. On fourth down, quarterback Rich Doyle nearly connected with Tyler Vincent for a touchdown but Warrior safety Chuck Bellitto landed a solid hit that jarred the ball lose, saving the touchdown and turning the ball back to the Lycoming offense.

After each team was forced to punt on the next two possessions, Lycoming took over in its own territory and moved the ball back into Hobart’s end of the field, but Dwyer was intercepted at the Hobart 13-yard line to end the first quarter with the score tied 0-0.

After the Lycoming defense forced a punt, Dwyer and the offense took over at midfield. He hit Nate Robley and Brad Shellenberger on back-to-back completions to move the ball down inside the Hobart 30-yard line. After three incompletions and a delay of game call, Lycoming faced a fourth-and-ten from the 27-yard line and Dwyer’s pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs.

Hobart gained one first down before Doyle had a pass intercepted by Nick Reese at the Hobart 45-yard line. A block in the back call during the interception gave Lycoming the ball at its own 48-yard line to start the drive, but the Warriors could not manage a first down and were forced to punt.

Nick Reese pulled down his second interception of the day when he picked off Doyle at the 40-yard line and returned it 55 yards to the Hobart five-yard line to set up a first and goal for the Warriors. Lycoming got on the board when Dwyer rushed in from one yard out. Scott Erikson’s extra point put the Warriors up 7-0 with 6:10 left in the first half.

Hobart answered by driving down to the Lycoming 25-yard line. Doyle’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down but Lycoming was called for a pass interference penalty, giving the Statesmen a first down at the Lycoming 10-yard line. Hobart capitalized when Dwyer hit Zach Schulz on a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap an 11-play, 70 yard drive. Overdorf kicked the extra point to tie the game 7-7 with 1:58 left in the half.

The Warriors were forced to punt on the next possession and Hobart capitalized when Doyle hit Andy Schettine for 34 yards to the Lycoming 25-yard line. The Warriors were called for a personal foul on a helmet-to-helmet hit, giving Hobart the ball at the 10-yard line with the clock stopped. Doyle connected with Vincent for a 10-yard touchdown pass on the next play. Overdorf’s kick put the Statesmen up 14-7 with 25 seconds left in the half. The drive was six-plays, 65 yards and took just 35 seconds off the clock.

“I probably mismanaged the game at the end of the half,” said Clark. “We should probably have run the ball to kill the clock after they tied the game, but we threw a couple incomplete passes and had to punt. They hit some big plays and scored to take the lead at half. That really swung momentum in their favor.”

Dwyer’s first pass on the next series was intercepted at the Hobart 30-yard line and returned into Lycoming territory with nine seconds left on the clock. Hobart was called for holding on its first play, ending the half.

Hobart ran 44 plays for 208 yards in the half to Lycoming’s 33 plays for 138 yards. Both quarterbacks threw two interceptions in the first half with Dwyer finishing the half with seven completions for 109 yards and Doyle completing 13 passes for 136 yards and two scores.

The Statesmen opened the second half with the ball and wasted little time moving deep into Lycoming territory. Doyle connected on a deep pass to Schettine to bring Hobart to the Warrior 15-yard line, but the Lycoming defense held and forced a field goal attempt. Conor Callahan’s 22-yard kick was good, putting Hobart up 17-7 with 12:01 left in the third quarter.

The Warrior offense could not manage a first down, punting the ball back to the Statesmen to start their next drive inside Lycoming territory at the 49-yard line.

The Statesmen advanced to the Lycoming 16-yard line before the drive stalled. On fourth-and-five, Vincent took a reverse and threw the ball to the quarterback Doyle for a first down at the three-yard line. Two plays later, Andrew Marlier punched it in from one yard out. The extra point was no good, making the score 23-7 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

Again, the Lycoming offense could not manage a first down and was forced to punt back to Hobart. The Statesmen took over on their own 40-yard line. A holding call on the first play moved the ball back to the 30-yard line and the Warrior defense did not allow a yard, forcing a punt. Vincent landed his best punt of the game when he booted a 52-yard kick to put Lycoming on its own 23-yard line.

Dwyer hit Adam Paulhamaus for 22 yards on the first play to move the ball to the 45-yard line, but Lycoming was called for its third delay of game penalty on the next play. After the penalty, Dwyer’s long pass was tipped off the hands of Shellenberger and intercepted by Lance Boyington at the Hobart 28-yard line.

The Statesmen moved into Lycoming territory again when Kyle Tritten rushed 41 yards to the Warrior 20-yard line. Tritten and Marlier carried the ball twice to the nine-yard line setting up a first-and-goal. Chuck Bellitto and Scott Kish broke up back-to-back passes to hold Hobart to a field goal. Callahan’s 26-yard kick was good, putting the Statesmen up 26-7 with 12:52 left in the game.

Josh Dixon returned the ensuing kickoff to the Lycoming 43-yard line. The offense stalled after one first down, but Hobart was called for a roughing the kicker call on the punt, giving Lycoming a fourth-and-five. Dwyer’s pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs.

After the Lycoming defense forced a punt, the offense took over deep in its own territory. Dwyer was intercepted for the fourth time by Boyington at the Lycoming 34-yard line. It was Boyington’s third interception of the day.

Hobart moved down the field and took advantage of a defensive holding penalty inside the 10-yard line to set up a first-and-goal. Doyle rushed in from three yards out and Overdorf’s kick was good, putting the Statesmen up 33-7 with 2:24 to play.

Lycoming got the ball back and moved down the field into Hobart territory. The Warriors took a timeout with 14 seconds left in the game. Out of the timeout, Dwyer connected with Shellenberger on a 33-yard touchdown pass. The duo connected again on the two-point conversion, making the score 33-15 with five seconds left in the game.

Hobart totaled 424 yards of offense on 89 plays, while Lycoming finished the game with 249 yards on 61 plays.

Dwyer finished the game with a season-low 12 completions in 39 attempts for 190 yards and one touchdown with four interceptions. He also had a rushing touchdown.

Kleinfelter carried the ball 19 times for 49 yards.

Shellenberger caught three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Ryan Wagaman had three catches for 36 y ards and Kleinfelter had two receptions for 48 yards.

Pat McAfee led the defense with nine total tackles, including 0.5 tackles for a loss. Jim Daley and Ben Rosa each had eight total stops.

Reese finished the game with six total tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups.

“I really enjoyed this season,” said Reese, “especially after the last three years. Coach Clark came in and we were able to bring the MAC Championship back to Williamsport. I wish today would have gone differently, but I enjoyed being out there.”

Lycoming and first-year head coach Mike Clark finish the season with a 7-4 overall record. Hobart improves to 9-1 overall and will travel to Alliance, Ohio to face No.1 Mount Union next Saturday, Nov. 29. The Purple Raiders defeated Randolph-Macon 56-0 in the opening round game.