It was a tale of two halves for the Loyalsock Lancers on Friday night and when the half that mattered most ended the Lancers were on the short end of a 25-14 loss at the hands of reigning HAC-II champs Central Columbia.
The Bluejays dominated Loyalsock on both sides of the line of scrimmage to the tune of 277 rushing yards, while also putting constant pressure in the face of Lancer quarterback Kyle Datres.
"I don't know who No. 66 is and I don't think I should know who No. 66 is," Loyalsock head coach Justin Van Fleet said, referring to Central Columbia, senior lineman Jake Klinger.
Loyalsock quarterback Kyle Datres is knocked out of bounds by Steve Shannon of Central Columbia in the first quarter Friday at Loyalsock. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
Klinger, the anchor on both sides of the line for Central Columbia was a thorn in the side of Datres, while also opening gaping holes on offense for the Bluejays' dual rushing attack of Danny Koch and Cody Bowman.
Koch had 123 yards at halftime and finished the game with 154 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. Bowman chipped in with 16 rushes for 80 yards and two touchdowns, one on the ground and 5-yard first-quarter touchdown reception that gave Central a 7-6 lead.
Loyalsock scored just three minutes into the game on a 67-yard drive keyed by a 54-yard connection from Datres to Omar Little that set the Lancers up with first and goal from the 9-yard line. The Lancers scored three plays later when Datres hit Philip Krizan from 5 yards out.
"We had a real nice first drive and after that we just didn't capitalize," Van Fleet said. "We just couldnt get into any kind of a rhythm."
Bowman's second touchdown of the game extended the Central Columbia lead to 13-6 with 2:36 left in the first half.
Loyalsock needed just 44 seconds to reclaim the lead though as Fletcher Quigley returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to the Central Mountain 43 and Datres, after buying time with his feet, found a wide open Mickey Haller for a 35-yard touchdown. Datres then connected with Krizan on a 2-point conversion, propelling the Lancers to a 14-13 halftime lead.
It was all downhill for Loyalsock from there.
Central Columbia took the opening drive of the second half on a methodical 15-play scoring drive that chewed up 6:58 on the game clock.
On first and goal from the 2, Danny Koch fumbled at the goal line; a scrum ensued with Central Columbia lineman Matt Chamberlain recovering the ball in the end zone for the touchdown that gave the Bluejays the lead for good at 19-14.
Koch redeemed himself with a fourth-quarter touchdown run from nine yards out that extended the Central Columbia lead to 25-14.
"Central Columbia are the champions of this league," Van Fleet said. "Last week they got killed by turnovers and penalties, but guess what. They didn't make them this week."
Penalties did, however hamper the Lancers as multiple offensive offensive holding penalties backed the Lancers up into unmanageable down and distances throughout the contest.
"Penalties killed us," Van Fleet said. "Ten yard penalties, 15 yard penalties... they killed us."
"I always want to try to improve and this week we just didn't do that," Van Fleet added. "So we're going to work hard and we're gonna' become a better football team this week. That's the focus."