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Wildcats punch themselves in the foot against Huskies

September 15, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER

WILLIAMSPORT - The Northern Garrett football team won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff Friday night from Williamsport.

The Wildcats continued to give.

Williamsport committed three personal fouls and gave up a total of 50 yards in penalties on the Huskies' first possession, and the Wildcats never got turned around in a 12-0 loss.

"On the first drive, we punched ourselves in the foot," said Williamsport coach Adrian Custer. "We've got to (stop) the little things, like the penalties for first downs. You just can't give varsity teams second and third chances like that."

The Wildcats (0-2) started strongly, forcing a punt after three Northern Garrett plays gained just seven yards. But unnecessary roughness during the punt gave the Huskies a new set of downs. Two plays later, Northern Garrett (1-1) failed to convert on third-and-11 - still in its own territory. But a Williamsport personal foul - this time a late hit - moved the chains. And before the Huskies broke their huddle, the Wildcats were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, which moved the ball to the Williamsport 29.

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"We had them stopped and then just gave it away," Custer said. "It's a frustration thing, but we have to be more disciplined in how we act."

Four plays later, Blair Silbaugh scored on a 10-yard run to give Northern a 6-0 lead with 6:10 remaining in the first quarter. Silbaugh led the Huskies with 72 rushing yards.

Williamsport appeared to have an answer as it spent each of its three first-half possessions in Huskies territory. But each time, the Wildcats came away with nothing.

On their opening drive, the Wildcats drove the ball to the Huskies' 26 before turning it over on downs. Then, Northern Garrett recovered a Mike Russ fumble at the 9-yard line - a drive that started at the Williamsport 33 - to end a scoring threat. And finally, the Wildcats attempted a fourth-and-16 at the Huskies' 33 with less than a minute remaining, only to once again turn the ball over on downs.

In eight possessions, Williamsport had four turnovers and failed to convert on fourth down four times. The Wildcats totaled just 142 yards of offense - two yards better than the Huskies' offense.

Northern scored on its first drive of the second half after an unconventional onside kick. What appeared to be a botched kickoff rolled to a stop at the Williamsport 31, where it was recovered by a hustling Eric Espada. Five plays later, quarterback Garrett Gulledge connected with Ben Diehl for a 15-yard touchdown to up the lead to 12-0 with 9:35 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats never drove farther than the Northern Garrett 42 after halftime.

Kyle Cunningham led the Wildcats in rushing with 46 yards. Kyle McDannell added 40 yards.

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