Williamsport’s offense sputters in loss
The Williamsport Millionaire football team took the field Friday evening ready to bounce back after a shutout loss to Altoona a week prior. As the Millionaires walked off the field with a 1-2 record at the hands of a 41-17 loss to Berwick, dejection wasn’t in the air, pity wasn’t desired, and frustration wasn’t evident.
“We played better than we did last week. We got beat by the better team. I’m not gonna be upset that the better team won. I stand in front of you, I take your best punch, and you give me your best punch but you knock me down. I’m supposed to be upset about that?” Williamsport coach Chuck Crews said following the game.
His sentiment resonated. The coaching staff challenged this Millionaire squad and was not here to have a pity party after their second straight loss.
“I have to point out to them that this is only Week 3. We can still go out here, we can still win the league, we can still districts. The only thing we can’t do is be undefeated. I’m okay with that,” Crews continued while proudly boasting about the positives from Friday evening.
Although the final score may not show it, Williamsport challenged a very good and extremely solid defensive Berwick team. The Millionaires jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after Treyson Potts had an electric 64-yard punt return to the Berwick 4. The Millionaires were unable to punch it in and came away with a 3-0 lead in what would be a gritty first-half battle.
Berwick answered with two quick touchdowns on the heels of a Williamsport fumble and most importantly Berwick’s Owen Shoemaker and his 244 yard rushing night. Not fearing a team that hadn’t allowed a point through the first two weeks of the season, Williamsport exchanged scoring possessions that were powered by Joe Fagnano and a 61-yard rush that was eventually capped off with a gritty touchdown from Potts as he put his head down and pushed through two defenders from the 2-yard line. At halftime, the Millionaires trailed only by three points after a huge goal line stand and interception by Marcus Simmons and after three quarters were still exchanging blows and only trailing by 10 to a hard hitting Bulldog team.
By the end of the game, the fatigue of a small Williamsport team and the toll from the battle seemed to start to wear down, as did a lopsided penalty discrepency that had Crews begging for an explanation from the referees on multiple occasions.
“How do you throw a flag on my team and I’m the head coach and I can’t get an explanation? We’re not making excuses, even without the penalties they beat us,” Crews said.
Penalties tallied up to 120 yards against the Millionaires, and some mental mistakes were clear throughout the game in key moments.
“I have to step up as a leader and make the guys believe in what the coaches are telling us. Make sure they know every little thing that they ask us to do is worth it. We have alot of young guys on the team so they’re not used to the atmosphere and how fast the game is going, we have to stay focused,” Potts said reflecting back on a game less productive than he’s used to.
Aside from Simmons interception the Williamsport defense forced Berwick to turn the ball over on downs close to or in the red zone on three different occasions. The majority of Berwicks scoring came on big plays of 64, 51 and 21 yards.