Shikellamy coach Todd Tilford watched Loyalsock quarterback Kyle Datres on film against Mount Carmel from a week earlier and gained a clear understanding how dangerous the sophomore quarterback was with his feet.
Some of the runs Datres completed against the Red Tornadoes were breathtaking, and there was Tilford on the sidelines Friday night holding his breath with the ball in Datres' hands again.
Tilford's Braves led Loyalsock by two points deep into the third quarter, but faced the possibility of a tied game when the Lancers called a timeout and went for a 2-point conversion.
Mike Dougherty of Loyalsock drags down Shikellamy’s Garrett?Kemberling Friday at Loyalsock.
No doubt the ball was going to stay with Datres. He took the snap and darted over the right side of the offensive line and closed in on the end zone, but as he did the Braves closed on him and stopped him short. Datres desperately stretched for the goal line, but came up inches short.
The stop didn't push all the air out of the Loyalsock balloon, but a 64-yard touchdown pass less than a minute later and a 7 minute, 53 second drive in the fourth quarter surely did as the Braves defeated the Lancers, 21-12.
"The biggest play of the game was the 2-point conversion stop," said Tilford. "We were kind of hanging our heads a little bit and my assistants got on them and were telling them this is a big play and they got re-focused and made a big stop because if it's tied there I think both sides probably have a different outlook."
Loyalsock (2-3) was coming off its biggest win of the season and one of the most surprising upsets in District 4 last week at Mount Carmel. Coach Justin Van Fleet, however, said his team prepared well all week and downplayed any effects of a letdown. He explained it more as a young team trying to find a level of consistency.
"We've been on a roller coaster," said Van Fleet. "We're up. We're down. We've got to flatline that a bit more and stay at a high level at a consistent pace.
"The kids worked very hard throughout the week and I was happy with a lot of things they did. I'm not going to say there was anything, but a very good Shikellamy team,"?said Van Fleet.
Both teams turned the ball over four times and had touchdowns called back due to offensive penalties. Loyalsock's offense also lost 38 yards on two bad pitches on option plays in the first half, including one when the Lancers were in inside the Shikellamy 20.
Datres, who scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter, pulled Loyalsock to within 14-12 with 2:12 in the third quarter on a 7-yard run. But his outstretched arm on the 2-point conversion fell short and the Braves escaped with the lead.
The Braves (2-3), who had a three-and-out in its previous possession before Datres' second touchdown, caught the Loyalsock secondary off-guard with their second play on their next possession.
Tilford called for a halfback option pass on a second-and-4 from Loyalsock's 36-yard line, but the call was miscommunicated in the huddle and the Braves were forced to call timeout. Tilford walked into the huddle, stuck with the play and the Braves executed to perfection with Garrett Kemberling receiving a handoff and finding Scott Snyder down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown reception.
"We had some success with the sweep tonight and they were flying up to stop it, so we figured to beat a good team like Loyalsock that we had to take a shot," said Tilford.
Kemberling, who has moved to quarterback within the past couple of weeks, lined up behind and to the left of the quarterback before receiving a handoff, rolling to the Shikellamy sideline and raising up quickly to fire the pass down the field.
Loyalsock still had time to mount a comeback and penetrated inside the Shikellamy 20-yard line again, but another mistake - a fumble - gave the ball back to the Braves.
"I said throughout the week in every interview I did that Shikellamy was a very good team that we were playing, but they just had so many small things to overcome and it was a matter of time until they put it together - it happened this week," said Van Fleet.
Shikellamy didn't score any points off the mistake, turning it over itself, but ran 14 plays, took 7:53 off the clock and advanced the ball to the Lancers' 12.
"That brought a smile to us on the sideline," said Tilford, whose team had lost consecutive games in a five-day span before last night's win.
Shikellamy's Dwayne Pepper, who ran for two first-half touchdowns, ran nine times during the time-consuming drive that needed just one third-down conversion. Pepper finished with 165 yards on 26 carries.
Datres and wide receiver Omar Little also put up some big numbers. Datres added 189 yards passing to his two rushing touchdowns and Little has 112 receiving yards on seven catches.