By: Marion Valanoski | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | November 14, 2009
SHAMOKIN - Scott McLean hopes his team learned a lesson following Muncy High School's 21-14 Eastern Conference Class A Semifinal victory over Lourdes Friday at Leo A. Mulhall Stadium.
"We made too many mental mistakes and give credit to Lourdes," McLean said. "I thought we'd go down there and play well but again too many mistakes that after 11 weeks of football should not be happening. Their team deserves a ton of credit and we have to watch the game film and correct our miscues."
The Indians will meet the winner of today's other semifinal between Canton and Shenandoah Valley.
There was just a hair over three minutes left before the conclusion to Mike Klembara's 47 year tenure as a high school football coach, and yet with his team trailing by seven points and driving towards a possible tying touchdown the old sage was coaching like a first-year rookie.
Unfortunately, there would be no "miracle" comeback and an extension of at least one week when Andrew Murphy intercepted Jonathan Vanaskie's pass in the end zone to seal Muncy's win.
"I can't say enough about these players and their effort not just tonight but all season long," Klembara said. "It was a great run and yes had we scored I was going for the two points and the win."
Klembara went into the matchup with the Indians (6-5) knowing that the Red Raiders (7-3) would not necessarily have to play a perfect game but limit their mistakes. That did not happen as four turnovers in the opening half allowed the fourth seed to grab a 13-0 lead behind the outstanding effort of running back Ryan Hembury, who scored twice on runs of 17 and 5 yards.
The Red Raiders coughed up the ball on their opening drive on the Indians' 48-yard line. Hembury, who rushed for 151 yards in the win, carried four times for 18 yards and quarterback Matt Ring picked up a key first down on a five yard run.
However, on fourth down at the 20-yard line, Lourdes was whistled for a pass interference call putting the ball at the 10-yard line where two plays later the junior scatback bolted in from the five. Jake Heffner's extra point kick put the visitors on top, 7-0.
Cam Arthur ended the next drive for the home team with an interception and two more fumbles stopped the Red Raiders in their tracks.
"Their players were big and physical and we had trouble handling Arthur the whole game," Klembara said. "They are much better than their 5-5 record."
The Indians scored with 3:13 left in the half when Hembury took a pitch around right end cut back against the grain and outraced the secondary to paydirt for a 17 yard score.
"We didn't play well in the first half but we took advantage of their mistakes to put 13 points on the scoreboard," McLean said. "However, we also hurt ourselves with mental mistakes that had us wondering why as a coaching staff."
The second half the Red Raiders held the Indians on downs and put together an eight-play, 56 yard drive that culminated with Michael Bastian, who gained 141 yards on the ground, running around right end and receiving a punishing block from Matt Gilger to clear the way for the nine yard touchdown. Vanaskie's extra point kick cut the deficit to 13-7.
Muncy swept away the momentum on its next possession by answering back with a 63 yard scoring drive ending with Ring sweeping right and hitting Hembury out of the backfield for a four yard touchdown. Trent Sellers caught the two-point conversion pass for a 21-7 advantage.
"Even at halftime and down 13-0 I felt confident we could come back and score," Klembara said. "Our defense came up big on their first series of the second half and we capitalized but what hurt was their answering our score with a touchdown of their own."
The Red Raiders answered back with a drive of their own with the big play coming from Vanaskie, who hit Bastian on the fly for a 54 yard completion down to the 13-yard line. Four plays later the senior then bulled his way into the end zone on a great second effort to keep the game within striking distance.
On that final drive, Vanaskie again hit Bastian for a 26 yard gain to the 38-yard line and carried twice for nine before a facemask penalty advanced the pigskin to the 39-yard line. Another penalty on the defense moved the Red Raiders to the 23-yard line but fate had another ending for Klembara as Murphy's theft ended an outstanding coaching career just one win short of 150.
"That was one good football team," McLean said. "Bastian is a solid runner and their defense played us tough but I think we just wore them down in the second half and were fortunate to hold on for the win."
Muncy gained 232 yards rushing and another 82 in the air with Matt Hill contributing 73 while Lourdes picked up 161 on the ground but Vanaskie threw for 109.