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Wildcats rally but lose on a late TD

September 11, 2010|By MARK KELLER

ACCIDENT, Md. -- Last-minute losses are becoming just too commonplace for Williamsport coach Randy Longnecker's tastes.

One week after watching the Wildcats let a victory slip away in overtime, their coach stood helpless on the sideline again as Northern Garrett's Alex Baker connected with Jake Bosley for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 27 seconds remaining to lift the Huskies to a 21-16 win.

Longnecker was quick to point out, however, that what happened in the first seconds of the game was just as critical to the outcome as what happened in those final seconds.

"We didn't get off the bus in the first half and I take full responsibility for that," Longnecker said. "As the head coach, it's up to me to have them prepared to play, and they were not. Northern Garrett came out and played with heart, and that's something we didn't do until the second half."

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The disappointment of another late-game letdown overshadowed a strong second half by the Wildcats, who rallied from a 15-0 deficit to take a 16-15 lead with just over 5 minutes left in the game.

The Huskies (1-1) marched down the field using the same formula they used in gaining their 15-0 lead: The running of Josh Mason and Baker and the short-passing game led by Patrick Sines and Bosley.

The Wildcats (0-2) had chances to put Northern away on that drive, most notably on a second-and-goal play at the Williamsport 5.

Sines was under heavy pressure and had the ball stripped. Williamsport's Nate Willis tried to pick the ball up to run with it rather than covering it. He couldn't get a handle on the ball and Northern recovered.

On third down, Alex Fridley sacked Sines for an 8-yard loss to put Northern in a desperate spot. But on the fourth-down play, Baker got the ball for a halfback pass and Bosley broke free behind the defense and caught the ball in the back of the end zone.

"We put ourselves in position to win and we let them drive right down the field, we try to pick up a fumble rather than fall on it, we let a receiver get behind the DBs," Longnecker said. "You can't do that. We're having too many breakdowns and they are killing us."

Northern's effective running game opened up the pass, and the Huskies got all three of their touchdowns through the air -- and all were in long-yardage situations.

The first came on a third-and-9 play in the first quarter. Sines dropped back and lofted a high pass toward Bosley streaking down the seam. Williamsport's Tyler Shank went up to knock the pass away, but the ball got through to Bosley, who tipped it in the air to himself before hauling it in for a 29-yard touchdown with 2:46 left in the period.

The second capped a 17-play, 66-yard drive, with Sines causing the defense to hesitate with a pump fake, then finding Cody Rodeheaver for a 10-yard score on fourth-and-goal with 6:14 left in the second quarter. Sines ran in the two-point conversion for a 15-0 lead.

Williamsport escaped further damage late in the second when Josh Miller intercepted Sines inside the Wildcats 10-yard line.

"We basically peeled the paint off the wall in the locker room at halftime," Longnecker said. "We can't play the game for them. We can't get them up for every play of every game. At some point, they have to want to go out there and play."

Tyler Wise ran the Wildcats offense out of the shotgun for most of the second half. He connected on 3 of 7 passes in their first drive and was helped by a pass interference call. Alex Fridley got Williamsport on the board with a 4-yard run and Wise found Nate Willis on the two-point conversion to make it 15-8 midway through the third quarter.

The next five drives ended in punts as both offenses stalled. The Widcats corrected their pursuit issues and began to contain the Huskies' running game.

Midway through the fourth, Wise moved the Wildcats from their own 22 to the Northern 36 with two long scrambles. Reggie Russ connected with a wide open C.J. Ezidemina for a 32-yard gain on a halfback pass, then finished the drive himself with a 4-yard scoring run. Wise and Willis hooked up again on the conversion to give Williamsport a 16-15 lead with 5:12 left.

It didn't last long.

"We're 0-2 now and we have no business being 0-2," Longnecker said. "They have to find the will inside themselves to turn this around and do what we set out to do at the start of the year."

Northern Garrett 21, Williamsport 16

Williamsport 0 0 8 8 -- 16

N. Garrett 7 8 0 6 -- 21

NG -- Jake Bosley 29 pass from Patrick Sines (Zach Meyers kick)

NG -- Cody Rodeheaver 10 pass from Sines (Sines run)

W -- Alex Fridley 4 run (Nate Willis pass from Tyler Wise)

W -- Reggie Russ 4 run (Willis pass from Wise)

NG -- Bosley 16 pass from Alex Baker (kick failed)

Will NG

First downs 10 21

Rushes-yards 25-113 59-224

Passing yards 68 129

Comp-Att-Int 4-11-1 13-21-1

Total offense 36-181 80-353

Punts-avg. 4-42.0 3-39.0

Penalties-yards 2-10 3-40

Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-1

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing--Williamsport, Wise 11-72, Russ 9-29, Fridley 3-12, Davis 2-0; Northern Garrett, Mason 26-127, Baker 19-81, Sines 11-(minus 7), Bosley 3-23.

Passing--Williamsport, Wise 3-9-0-36, Russ 1-2-1-32; Northern Garrett, Sines 12-20-1-102, Baker 1-1-0-16.

Receiving--Williamsport, Ezidemina 1-32, Baker 1-21, Davis 1-13, Russ 1-2; Northern Garrett, Bosley 8-70, Rodeheaver 3-27, Rosenberger 1-26, Mason 1-5.

Records: Williamsport 0-2; Northern Garrett 1-1.

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