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Wildcats' stand comes too late

October 24, 2004|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport football coach Adrian Custer is not even distantly related to the famous general with the same last name who had his last stand at Little Big Horn.

That Custer chose not to surrender.

Coach Custer can relate to that sentiment.

The Wildcats spotted Catoctin a 19-point lead before mounting a comeback that ultimately fell short in a 37-23 MVAL Antietam loss Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats (0-8, 0-5) thrilled the large Homecoming crowd by pounding in two late touchdowns by fullback Ian Hamilton.

"We will never quit on ourselves," Custer said. "These guys believe there is always hope."

But the Cougars answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tony Hall and a pair of interceptions by Brad Brown that halted Williamsport drives deep in Catoctin territory and sent the Wildcats to their 15th straight loss.

"Gosh, the momentum really shifted so quickly there at the end," Catoctin coach Doug Williams said. "We fumble, they score, then they get an onside kick.

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"I'll tell you, it made me nervous."

But for Williamsport, it was a case of fighting back only to fall short, a familiar theme that Custer wants deseperately to turn around.

"We played them head-to-head in that second half," Custer said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and these kids played their hearts out. There is no one in there hanging their heads. We answered the call every time."

Hamilton carried 31 times for 142 yards and the two second-half touchdowns.

But the Wildcats may have buried themselves too deeply in the first half as Catoctin (2-6, 1-4), behind freshman quarterback D.J. Doyle, put three scores on the board.

In the first quarter, Kenny Getzendenner slipped behind the Williamsport coverage for a 44-yard touchdown pass from Doyle.

The Wildcats got a 25-yard field goal from Scott Mumma on the next possession, but the Cougars came right back with a 1-yard Mike Lovejoy touchdown run for a 14-3 lead.

Doyle added a second touchdown pass - this one to Joe Rakoski for 10 yards - for a 21-3 lead.

The Wildcats drove to the Catoctin 15-yard line with less than a minute to play in the first half. On third-and-14, quarterback Ben Vatavuk rolled right and threw to the corner of the end zone. Brown tried to break up the play, but tipped the ball in the air and into the hands of Williamsport's Ryan Lee for a touchdown.

Down 29-10 in the third quarter, Williamsport came storming back again.

A Catoctin fumble turned into a 14-yard Hamilton touchdown. A recovery of an onside kick led to Hamilton's second touchdown and the Wildcats cut the lead to 29-23.

"Ian has come in here and really given us a nice dimension on offense," Custer said. "He hasn't been in the lineup that long, but he is really learning."

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