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Cougars take advantage of Wildcats' early gifts

October 19, 2008|By Mark Keller

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Williamsport Wildcats knew they were going to have to work to keep up with Catoctin in Saturday's Homecoming football game.

The problem was the Wildcats didn't make the Cougars work very hard.

A fumble on the first play from scrimmage and two short punts into a stiff wind gave Catoctin outstanding field position in the first quarter.

From there, it took the Cougars just seven plays to score their first three touchdowns on the way to a 37-7 MVAL Antietam victory over the Wildcats.

"You don't want to give any team a short field like that and Catoctin's a heck of a ballclub," Williamsport coach Adrian Custer said. "We put our defense out there and pinned them deep three times. You can't give up that kind of field position that often."

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Williamsport (2-5, 1-2) returned the opening kickoff to its own 31, but on the first play of the first drive, Joey Sutch coughed up the ball and Catoctin's Matt Nesbitt recovered at the 26.

The Cougars (5-2, 2-0) quickly established their running game as Bryce McGuire ran 9 yards on a sweep, Sean Chilson went 9 yards on a counter play and McGuire finished the minidrive with an 8-yard touchdown on another sweep for a 6-0 lead.

The Wildcats' next two drives also stalled and Andrew Likely's punts both hung up in the wind, traveling just 11 and 18 yards and setting up Catoctin with great field position again.

First, Dylan May connected with Nick Nowaczyk for a 30-yard touchdown pass and a 12-0 Cougars lead. Then Nathan Lenhart broke off runs of 25 and 5 yards before plowing in from the 1 to give Catoctin an 18-0 advantage just 6 1/2 minutes into the contest.

"Andrew pointed his toe, kicked it as hard as he could, but he got it up into that wind a little bit too much and the ball just died," Custer said. "That's high school football. You've got to live with that and come out and play defense."

The Wildcats struggled to get moving offensively, gaining just 36 yards in the first half. When they did string together a couple of first downs -- as they did late in the second quarter -- the Cougars ramped up the pressure on quarterback Blake Bandeff.

Bandeff completed three straight passes to move Williamsport to the Catoctin 22. But he was sacked on three straight plays, losing 17 yards in the process and halting the Wildcats' brief momentum.

Bandeff completed 7 of 16 passes for 95 yards, but was sacked seven times.

Catoctin led 31-0 at halftime and activated the running clock in the third quarter on Lenhart's second touchdown run.

Williamsport avoided the shutout when Sutch rolled right to try a halfback pass, but instead tucked the ball away and ran left, outsprinting the defense to the pylon for a 15-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds remaining in the game.

"Our kids fought hard. They could've quit when they got down, but they stuck in it and punched one in at the end," Custer said. "I'm really proud of that, but we have to build on it for next week."

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