Lyco completes second straight losing season as Stevenson wins MAC
Lycoming and Stevenson were in unfamiliar positions as each completed the handshake line following Saturday’s game at David Person Field. The Warriors slinked to their locker room, trying to grasp all the missed opportunities in their second consecutive season.
Stevenson players jumped, danced, hugged and generally celebrated as it gathered for a postgame talk. The sixth-year program program had never before had a Middle Atlantic Conference championship to celebrate. But that changed following yesterday’s 28-10 win over Lycoming.
Lycoming’s eternally frustrating season came to a close Saturday at the hands of the team which will represent the MAC in the NCAA tournament beginning next week. There were more coulda, shoulda, woulda moments in this latest loss, not unlike the other six the Warriors suffered this year.
In an 8-minute span in the third quarter, the Warriors went from cutting its deficit to four points to trailing by three scores thanks to a pair of brilliant touchdown drives from Stevenson. And for the first time since 2006-2007, Lycoming has back-to-back losing seasons. The Warriors’ 3-7 mark is just the program’s sixth losing season since 1975.
Stevenson, which played its first season of varsity football in 2011, won its first MAC title Saturday, establishing a program record for wins in a season.
“We were back in year one talking about winning 10 games because it takes nine or 10 wins to win this conference,” Stevenson head coach Ed Hottle said. “It’s something we’ve talked about a lot. We talk about it in recruiting. We talk about it to the media. Early on I think people probably laughed at us a little bit, but this is what we’ve worked for and this is what we’ve envisioned since the day I was hired.”
“We had a phenomenal offseason. The kids were outrageous after last year,” Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. “By far the best offseason we’ve had in a long time. But that shows you that you’re not guaranteed to be successful just because you work hard. And that’s a tough lesson. But we’ll regroup and hopefully be more competitive because we’re not going to change the expectations.”
Lycoming outgained No. 23 Stevenson in almost every offensive category Saturday. The Warriors had more first downs (20-13), offensive snaps (75-54), total yards (344-297), and nearly 10 more minutes of possession.
But Lycoming was 2 for 4 in the red zone, and once had to settle for a field goal. The Warriors missed a 34-yard field goal in the first half after driving to the Stevenson 17-yard line. They settled for a field goal on their first possession of the second half after reaching the Mustangs’ 3-yard line. And a drive which reached the Stevenson 12 resulted in a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter.
On the flip side, the Mustangs were 3 for 3 in the red zone and added an 80-yard touchdown throw from Dan Williams to Preston Addo (4 catches, 115 yards) to complement the offensive consistency. The 80-yard touchdown play was the third 80-yard scoring play the Lycoming defense allowed in the last two weeks.
“We’ve been playing good defense all year. But it comes down to those one-play series where they get a big play,” said Lycoming linebacker Zach Smith, who had five tackles. “We had to keep our heads up and keep going out there and playing after that.”
“That deep pass is something we wanted to do when we put the gameplan in on Monday, particularly with Preston because we feel like he’s a pretty explosive and pretty dynamic player,” Hottle said. “If given the right opportunity, we felt we could slip him past a defender, and Dan threw him a nice ball and Preston was able to run under it.”
Lycoming quarterback Chase Whiteman did his best to keep the Warriors in the game. After going down 14-0 in the first half, Whiteman engineered a 76-yard scoring drive in which he completed all four of his passes for 42 yards, and ran another four times for 34 yards. His final carry was a 5-yard scoring run in which he dove Superman style to the left pylon for the score.
Whiteman completed 26 of 40 passes yesterday for 260 yards. It was the second-most completions of his career and the eighth-most in a game in school history. And it was much-needed as the Warriors’ offense was held to just 84 rushing yards on 34 carries.
“He played really well. He made some plays with his feet, and he always does,” Clark said. “It’s been one of his strong points. He had some big shoes to fill a couple years ago. At times he’s played really, really well, and he did his best to keep us in the football game.”
“We’ve had so many drives this year get inside the 30-yard line and we can’t maximize,” Whiteman said. “But that drive, we made some plays with our feet. Guys got open when things broken down and we were able to get in the end zone.”
Lycoming had a chance to follow up that score with another stellar drive to start the second half. Whiteman had completions of of 14 yards to Mike Mulvihill, 10 yards to Chase Williams, and 21 yards to Keeghan Morrison (7 catches, 88 yards) to put the Warriors in a goal-to-go situation.
But a 1-yard run, an incompletion and a dump off pass left the Warriors facing fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line and Clark opted for a 20-yard field goal attempt, which Devon Flynn drilled to cut the Lycoming deficit to 14-10.
But Stevenson responded with an eight-play drive which ended in a touchdown pass from Williams to Devin Salisbury. And after Austin Tennessee recorded the first of two Stevenson interceptions in the half, the Mustangs scored again with a 1-yard run from Dontea Ayres to push their lead to 28-10.
“We thought about (going for it on fourth down) briefly, but I just thought getting a couple points was the best decision at the time,” Clark said. “As disappointing as it was to get three there, if you don’t get anything there it’s worse. We probably could have been more aggressive, I mean, what do you have to lose at that point? But we felt getting points at that point was the best decision.”
Stevenson 0 14 14 0–28
Lycoming 0 7 3 0–10
STE-Devonte Williams 1 yd run (Tim Sternfeld kick) 11:41
STE–Preston Addo 80 yd pass from Daniel Williams (Tim Sternfeld kick) 07:16
LYCO -Chase Whiteman 5 yd run (Devon Flynn kick) 01:55
LYCO-Devon Flynn 20 yd field goal 10:10
STE-Devin Salisbury 3 yd pass from Daniel Williams (Tim Sternfeld kick) 06:49
STE-Dontea Ayres 1 yd run (Tim Sternfeld kick) 02:30
TEAM STATS STE LYC
FIRST DOWNS 13 20
RUSHES-YARDS (NET) 34-107 34-84
PASSING YDS (NET) 190 260
Att-Comp-Int 20-12-0 41-26-2
Return yds 39 98
Punts (Number-Avg) 6-31.8 4-33.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-Yard s 2-25 4-39
Possession Time 25:04 34:56
RUSHING: Stevenson-Devonte Williams 19-108; Dontea Ayres 7-22; Daniel Williams 4-minus 3; TEAM 4-minus 20. Lycoming-Blake Bowman 10-41; Chase Whiteman 15-27; Dante Gipson 7-13; Sam Dressler 1-2; Brock Zollicoffer 1-1.
PASSING: Stevenson-Daniel Williams 12-20-0-190. Lycoming-Chase Whiteman 26-40-1-260; Collin Wright 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: Stevenson-Devin Salisbury 7-60; Preston Addo 4-115; Dequan Ellison 1-15. Lycoming-Keeghan Morrison 7-88; Mike Mulvihill 4-52; Dante Gipson 4-23; Erik Wagner 4-22; Blake Bowman 2-13; Brock Zollicoffer 2-12; John Kim 1-26; Kyle Slivka-Fralin 1-14; Chase Williams 1-10.
Records: Lycoming 3-7, 2-7 MAC. Stevenson 9-1, 8-1