Millionaires look ahead after 3-7 finish

It’s difficult to win football games when your opponent scores more points than your team gains yards.

That’s exactly what happened Friday night at Millionaire Stadium as the Millionaires’ 30 yards of offense were no match for Wyoming Valley West’s 44 points in a shutout loss that closed out the Millionaires’ 2013 season.

The Millionaires struggled all night to block a relentless Spartans’ rush, fumbling three times and only managing four first downs. Williamsport didn’t record a single first down until a 16-yard run by Isaac Foust on the final play of the first half. By then the score was 37-0.

The lone bright spot in the game came from the kick returns of Malik Wilson, who averaged 32 yards per return, including a long of 49. He also intercepted a pass late in the second quarter. Unfortunately for the Millionaires, the offense fumbled the ball away on the next play to help set up a Spartan touchdown.

By then the game was already out of hand.

It’s not all bad news for Williamsport, however. After a winless 2012 the Millionaires closed out 2013 with three victories and a foundation for the future in place.

“We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity and lower numbers by not having a ninth-grade program the year before,” head coach Kevin Choate said. “But now we’ve got a great ninth-grade program coming up and it looks like this Williamsport Area Middle School is really coming along and hopefully we’ll have a great feeder system into it.”

Choate also pointed out his pleasure with the progress of his defense, but admitted that offensively the squad still has much to improve upon.

“I saw a lot of individual improvement [this season] with our defensive backfield and defensive line, Choate said. “Now obviously we have a long way to go with our offensive line, but that’s what the offseason is for. The good news is they’re all young and they’re all coming back.”

But for seniors like Wilson, quarterback Dale Berkheimer, leading rusher Isaac Foust and a slew of others on both side of the ball there is no “coming back.”

Choate did, however, have a message for his graduating class.

“[They] were the ones that started the first steps forward,” Choate said. “I told them to keep their heads up.”

But the fact remains that many of the Millionaires most-talented players will not be with the squad next season and Choate knows that he needs to work hard to “restock the cupboard.”

“When I got here the cupboard was bare so we’ve got to continue to sure up the foundation, he said. “We need to make sure doing the things we need to do to recruit the best athletes we can. But we want to recruit not only athletes, but athletes with character.”