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Lycoming football scores 28 unanswered points in second half to rally past Albright

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lycoming's Cole Senior (90) brings down Albright's Kareem McCoy (43) during their game on Saturday.

Stationed 10 yards out from Albright’s end zone, Elijah Shemory surveyed what stood between Lycoming and some much needed momentum.

The Warriors finally put together a smooth, surgical drive with three first down runs from Kyle Powell and a large rush from Shemory himself. The deficit was only 7-0, but after a first half with only five first downs and just a doink from a field goal attempt to show for it, Lycoming needed to finish its opening drive of the half better than it had.

Shemory took the snap, the rain picking up over a muggy David Person Field, and faked it to Tre’ Leach. A hole in the trenches opened up, and the senior signal caller once again took a keeper to go the distance and knot the game.

“Even in the first half, we were able to move the ball, just shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties,” Shemory said. “The fumble on the long run I had was just not great.”

After coughing up the ball at the end of a long run in the first quarter, the Jersey Shore grad scored four touchdowns — two in the air and two with his legs — to put up 28 unanswered points and rally past the Lions, 28-7 on Saturday. Shemory posted a 150.5 QBR with 12 of his 20 passes completed for 137 yards.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lycoming's Aaron Wolcott (85) picks up yardage during their game against Albright on Saturday.

Two possessions later, Shemory threw a dart to junior tight end Aaron Wolcott for a 31-yard dash up the sideline and into the end zone to take what became a permanent lead.

Wolcott reached playdirt once more with just five minutes left in the game on a 10-yard reception to cap off a 10-play, 35 yard drive that was set up by an interception from Austin Rowley.

“I think part of it was the defense taking over,” Shemory said on finishing drives in the second half. “They gave us a nice big stop on that turnover and set up a touchdown. It was the O-line just taking over, moving dudes and opening up holes for our running backs.”

Wolcott, Leach and Tyjah During all had a team-high three receptions each, and Wolcott led the trio with 50 yards. Getting the tight end position into the mix of the passing game was a unique adjustment after the first 30 minutes.

“We’ve had that concept in, we’ve thrown it to Tyjah During a couple times, it’s just another way when you’re running the quarterback, sometimes the tail back has it, sometimes you block a guy, sometimes he gets read and the quarterback keeps it, sometimes he gets read and instead of the quarterback running you throw it, so it all works together,” Lycoming coach Mike Clark said.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lycoming's Elijah Shemory (19) gets his foot in the end zone on a keeper during their game against Albright on Saturday.

Clark added, “I think it’s a really hard conflict on the defense and we thought as a tendency breaker, we don’t really throw to tight ends a ton, so how do we get those guys involved, and it worked today.”

Albright (2-6), after allowing 100 first downs on the ground heading into the contest, came into Williamsport with a much sharper run defense. The Warriors (5-2) finished with 233 rushing yards, but most of them came after the break.

Following a scoreless first quarter, the Lions found their lone score when senior quarterback Todd Shelley threw a 17-yard pass to a wide open Lucas Roselli in the end zone with 10 minutes left in the second frame. It was the first trip to the red zone for either team to end the scoreless stalemate.

While limiting Lycoming’s run, Albright also found success in the air.

“The energy when we first came out, everybody was a little down,” Powell said. “Just seeing how they came out the first play, the first play I realized they were here to win, they wanted to win. We had to turn it up basically coming out of halftime.”

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lycoming's Aaron Wolcott (85) dives into the end zone during their game against Albright on Saturday.

The first offensive snap of the game for Albright was a 15-yard pass from Shelley to senior tight end Micah Starkey over the middle. Shelley threw 16 of 30 for 167 yards.

“I give them a ton of credit, they came out and played hard,” Clark said on Albright. “We were flat. I thought the bye week would help us and we healed up, but we were noticeably flat in pregame and that’s fine, we’re not always the most fired up or energetic group, but they challenged us and we didn’t respond. At halftime, we just talked through it a little bit and figured it out.”

Cole Senior and David Tomb combined for a sack on Shelley for a huge loss, forcing a three-and-out on Albright to kick off the fourth quarter. With good starting field position, Shemory ran in on a 3-yard scamper five plays later.

The Warriors made a strong defensive stand in the red zone late in the fourth quarter. With the Lions facing 1st and goal at the 5-yard line, Albright turned it over on downs with a pass that fell incomplete.

Across the entire team, Lycoming rushed the ball 40 times as it began to find more success pounding the drum.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lycoming's quarterback Elijah Shemory drops back to pass during their game against Albright on Saturday.

“Our mindset coming into the game is to run the ball. Get 40 carries a game, that’s our mindset, and that’s through our running backs, the quarterback and the receivers, so that’s our mindset every week we came in,” Powell said. “Today was a day it was just clicking for us, not because they’ve been struggling against the run, but because it was a good way for us to establish the run as well.”

With the win, Lycoming is 5-2 for the first time since 2014.

“We’re where we want to be,” Clark said, “so we’ll enjoy this tonight.”

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