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High school football: Lions pounce on Wildcats' mistakes

September 01, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT — If anything, the Williamsport football team got a physics lesson on Friday.

Mark this down. It’s hard to get on a roll when you are constantly going uphill.

The Wildcats were definitely on the wrong end of the grade in their home opener as two critical fumbles led to Liberty’s first two scores in a 35-14 loss to the Lions.

Williamsport (1-0) fumbled at the Liberty 7 and tried to hold its ground as the Lions drove 93 yards for a touchdown, capped by a 36-yard, fourth-down scoring pass from Tim Anderson to Michael Reigner.

Then, after tying the game, Williamsport’s Kevin Zeger fumbled a punt at the Wildcat 10, only to have Daniel Bowen scoop it up and score for the 7 to give the Lions a 14-7 lead.

“Both of those plays were backbreakers,” said Williamsport coach Randy Longnecker. “We had a nice drive going and if we scored, we might have been able to turn it around. When we scored it could have been 14-0 us instead of trailing 14-7. It could have been different.

“We were battling uphill and when you have a young team, sometimes that’s hard to take. I challenged their mental toughness after the game.”

It was different for Liberty, which overcame first-game jitters in the opening possession and turned it into a solid performance.

And getting the two turnovers didn’t hurt.

“I know how those hurt. I’ve been on the other side of them,” said Liberty coach Jeff Kent. “We executed well during our scrimmage and we did it again tonight. Some mistakes cropped up, but those are things to watch on the film. We mixed the offense well.”

Williamsport got back into the game with a 13-play, 80-yard drive after Liberty’s first score. The Wildcats kept the ball for 6 minutes, 55 seconds, capped when quarterback T.J. Boyer dumped a short pass to Nick Berchock for a 33-yard scoring play.

The Williamsport defense stopped Liberty on its next possession, before the muffed punt put the Lions up 14-7.

Liberty tacked on a 3-yard scoring run by Cameron Forshee with 53 seconds remaining in the half to take a 21-7 lead at the intermission.

Liberty’s execution built two more second-half scores — a 1-yard dive by Forshee with 4:33 remaining in the third period and a 9-yard run by Henry Ball with 2:48 remaining — to take a 35-7 advantage.

Williamsport scored on the ensuing possession, using a 57-yard pass from Boyer to Jesse Zeger to get the final score.

Liberty’s Frank Coughlin led the Lions with 94 yards in 13 carries while Forshee had 46 yards and the two scores.

Boyer led Williamsport by going 13-for-19 for 200 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.

“That last touchdown gives us something to build on,” Longnecker said. “It was a lot of little things — execution and turnovers — that hurt us tonight.”

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