TUNKHANNOCK - Williamsport came into its game against Tunkhannock Area on Friday night prepared to stop the Tigers' balanced rushing attack.
What they were not prepared to stop was the play-making ability of wide receiver Josh Colley, who led the Tigers to a 35-14 victory over the winless Millionaires on Homecoming night with more than 200 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.
"Josh is a very special player," Tunkhannock coach Rod Azar said after his team's second win of the season. "He is a college-caliber player. We wanted to get him more involved in our passing game tonight to help balance our rushing attack."
He did that and more.
Colley started the game's scoring midway through the first quarter with a nice over the shoulder catch in the end zone on a beautifully thrown pass from quarterback Brian Beauchemin.
Colton Coolbaugh's first of five extra points put the home team up 7-0.
Colley came back at the end of the quarter, showing his versatility by hitting fellow receiver Brett Stage with a 56 yard scoring strike on an end-around pass to make 14-0 at the end of first quarter.
"We've run that play before," Colley said. "I just put it up there and let Brett make a play."
Williamsport got the offense going behind the running of senior tailback Devin Miller. The lightning-quick back led all rushers with 192 yards and scored the Millionaires first touchdown from 5 yards out with 9:45 remaining before halftime.
Austin Robinson's extra point closed the lead to 14-7.
Tunkhannock came back the best way it knew how. Twice on third-and-long, Beauchemin found Colley for big gains. The senior wide receiver made a circus catch on one tipped pass and hauled in another catch to bring the ball deep into Williamsport territory.
From there, the duo hooked up again from 5 yards out and a 21-7 lead.
The Millionaires came back strong, however. Behind the running of Miller and a nice pass-and catch from quarterback Sadiq Burkholder to receiver Tanner Bashnick, the visitors drove the ball down to the 1-yard line. From there, fullback Isaac Foust carried the ball across the goal line and the Millionaires closed the gap to 21-14 with 3:16 to go before intermission.
That was the last time they made it to the end zone all evening.
"Our defense hasn't been playing well in the second half but we played great tonight," coach Azar said happily. "Their running back is very special and we really stepped up our play."
Josh Robinson and PJ Dietz came up with interceptions for the Tiger defense and senior linebacker Andrew Muckin forced Burkholder into making some errant throws, while also adding a sack.
Dietz's fumble recovery deep in Williamsport territory set up Colley's third touchdown and pushed the lead to 28-14.
After Beauchemin recovered a botched Williamsport punt, the sophomore quarterback scored from the 1 yard line to cap the night's scoring with 3:09 remaining in the third period.