Hill scores 4 TDs as Lancers earn win
SUNBURY – As the officials marched the football to the Loyalsock 11-yard line following a pass interference penalty, Lancers linebacker Simone Mileto turned toward his own sideline.
“It doesn’t matter, we’re going to stop them anyway,” Mileto said.
The senior’s matter-of-fact delivery oozed with the confidence of a unit which had already stopped Shikellamy once in the red zone in the second half. Facing 3rd-and-2 from their own 11 with an eight-point lead in this instance wasn’t nearly as stressful as facing first-and-goal from their own 3 earlier in the second half.
Mileto was right, though. Aiden Gair forced an incomplete pass when he popped the throwing Braves quarterback on third down. And a fourth-down pass to the flat fell incomplete. Six plays later, Loyalsock’s Davion Hill scored his fourth touchdown and the Lancers had put a tidy little bow on its eventual 30-12 win over Shikellamy on Friday night.
For all the explosiveness and excitement generated by Hill running for 134 yards and three touchdowns, and catching a 62-yard touchdown, those two second-half defensive stands were what pushed the Lancers to their second consecutive win.
“We’re a family. We fight together in tough situations,” Loyalsock lineman Malaki Parlante said. “We practice situations all the time at practice and it pays off. It always does.”
Loyalsock’s Achilles heel in recent years has been teams’ ability to run at them with a power running game. But they established early Friday night Shikellamy’s stout run game wasn’t going to be able to gain traction. Loyalsock forced the Braves into trying to throw the ball on those two crucial plays at the 11-yard line because it held the Braves to fewer than 2 yards per carry all night.
And when Shikellamy had first-and-goal from the 3 in the third quarter, two running plays couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. And when a false start penalty pushed the ball to the 6, a third running play gained just 2 yards. A fourth-down pass attempt didn’t stand a chance.
“I was very excited by the way the defense continues to play,” Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet said. “When we had adversity, our defense continued to step up. We were in a lot of bad situations as a defense caused by turnovers as well as flaws within our special teams. But our defense continued to carry us and bring us through to a victory.”
An offense which couldn’t get out of its own way in the third quarter losing three fumbles, finally found some footing after that defensive stop at the 11. Hill’s first carry went for 28 yards, and if not for a slight touch on the sideline, it would have been an 89-yard touchdown run. Three plays later Hill ripped off another 28-yard run. And on the next play, he hit a beautiful spin move at about the 7-yard line to escape a pair of tacklers and finish the drive with an 18-yard touchdown run.
That touchdown run, Hill’s third of the night, gave Loyalsock a 27-12 lead with 8 minutes, 46 seconds to play, and it was hard to envision a Shikellamy offense finding two scores against a stingy Sock defense.
Hill has announced his presence with authority in his first two varsity football games. After missing the opening-week game against North Schuylkill, Hill has carried 46 times for 234 yards (5.08 yards per carry) over the last two weeks and has scored four rushing touchdowns.
“Through all the running backs we’ve had, I’ve never seen anything like him,” Parlante said. “It’s really ugly, but it works. He’s a younger kid who is just building his confidence.”
“He’s another pop player on the offensive side, someone who when he has the ball in his hands, can make something happen,” Van Fleet said. “We’re lucky to have him because he can take soemthing that’s a simple process and turn it into a pop play. I’m very happy to have him.”