Defensive plays key Loyalsock over Troy

As Lucas Faubion launched for a fumble-forcing sack of Troy’s Jed Wright, it had to feel good for Loyalsock head coach Justin Van Fleet. As the ball bounced toward the Troy end zone, it had to feel even better. And as Mickey Haller scooped up the fumble and crossed the goal line for a game-clinching touchdown, that good feeling had to be instantly elevated to great.

The touchdown was Loyalsock’s second score in just 8 seconds, and it sealed and impressive 40-21 victory over the Trojans Friday night at Kenneth Robbins Stadium.

“That was the exclamation point on what we were doing,” Van Fleet said.

Was it ever.

The Lancers (4-2) were dominant in the second half after struggling to contain Troy’s run game and only leading 21-14 at halftime. Although the Trojan’s were able to move the ball, the Lancers proved opportunistic on defense and made game-changing plays when it needed to.

The offense, equally as opportunistic, turned each Troy turnover into a touchdown.

Perhaps the most important play of the game was a fourth-quarter goal-line interception by Omar Little on a pass that could have cut the Lancers’ lead to seven. The interception thwarted an 18-play drive, 69-yard drive by the Trojans.

Not to be outdone, the Lancers’ offense began the ensuing possession on its own six and methodically drove the ball 94 yards in 14 plays, while chewing up 7:30 off the clock. Robbie Klein’s second touchdown of the game extended Loyalsock’s lead to 34-14.

Eight seconds later Haller returned the fumble and the game was all but over.

“Troy’s a really good team. They score 40 to 50 points a game, Van Fleet said. “We know we can score a lot of points, but I was really proud of the way our defense bottled them up.”

Klein and Kyle Datres each rushed for over 100 yards, with 102 and 147 respectively. Datres scored from eight yards out for the game’s first touchdown and also connected with Caleb Robbins for a 25-yard touchdown that gave the Lancers the lead and the momentum heading into halftime. Robbins also added a 5-yard rushing score of his own.

The Lancers’ ground game racked up 293 yards.

“We want to be a run team,” Van Fleet said. “We searched for an identity earlier in the season, but when your able to run the ball you can control the clock and control the tempo and you can sustain solid offense in tough situations.”