By: Mitch Rupert | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | November 5, 2011
The football turned over, nose down, angling like an arrow aimed at the 5-yard line.beat Montoursville, 27-8, in Week 5.
"But we're a different football team," said Ott, whose only carry of the game was his 40-yard touchdown run. "We had a tough beginning of the schedule that really made us better for the end of the year. It helped us a lot and improved us. We should be good to go come playoff time."
"We're excited with where we are. This senior class, we're so excited and so proud for them," Montoursville head coach J.C. Keefer said. "The way they have worked, they deserve this. We're in the show. We got there. And once you're there, anything can happen. It's a one-game season every week now."
But even as Canton's lead over Troy was continually updated over the PA system last night, it never looked like a sure thing that Montoursville was going to be able to handle a Loyalsock team that finished 1-9. Montoursville finished with just four first downs. It had just 46 yards of offense at halftime and just 131 yards for the game.
The Warriors didn't run a play in Loyalsock territory until there was 8 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game. And only then it was because of the right foot of Clark, Montoursville's dynamic kicker/punter. He hit a 52-yard punt on the third play of the fourth quarter that was downed on the Loyalsock 20-yard line. The Montoursville defense - as it did the entire night sans two pass plays in the first quarter - didn't give up any ground and got the ball back on the Lancers' 47 following a Mike Kinney punt.
And after Montoursville's offense again failed to get its footing, that's when Clark unleashed his best punt, forcing Dougherty to field the backward bounce and pinning the Lancers in the shadow of their own goalpost.
"Their kid can kick the football," Loyalsock head coach Alex Jackson said. "That's a weapon. And we've had that. I know what it's like to have that kind of weapon on the field, and that's ultimately what changed the game."
"He made a beautiful punt," Keefer said. "We knew if we could get them to go three-and-out it would be critical to get the ball on their half of the field."
It was about the only opportunity Montoursville had to get creative and dig into the playbook since Loyalsock's stout defense forced the Warriors to continually drive the length of the field for points. So Keefer put Ott at the wing to the left of the formation. He came back to the right on a misdirection play hitting a hole just outside the right tackle, and he was almost instantly gone. He dove into the end zone, finally breaking a scoreless tie and allowing the Warriors to breathe a little easier.
"We can a couple counter plays earlier where we did pull our guards and (the Loyalsock defense) was able to shoot through where we pulled, so we were a little hesitant to run it," Keefer said. "But we felt it was there. I said to my guys maybe we should have run it a little earlier, but it was a good spot and we'll take it."
"That's just how the year's been," Loyalsock linebacker Mike Kinney said, "It's always just one play. We played so solid in the first and second and third (quarters), and then it's that one play and they score and it's like ..."
One touchdown was more than enough to seal a win for Montoursville with Loyalsock having struggled all year to move the football. Not even Spencer Underdown's season-best 101 passing yards was enough to spark an offense that gained just 33 yards on 39 rushing attempts.
The Lancers hit a big play in the first quarter when a 48-yard pass from Underdown to Kinney put the Lancers at the Montoursville 25. A 13-yard run from Dougherty even put the ball on the Warriors' 12 on the next play. But two running plays netting just 1 yard and a sack forced a field goal attempt that was blocked.
It was Loyalsock's best offensive opportunity.
"Everyone is saying in the huddle, too, we're gonna' score, we're gonna' score," Kinney said. "Three plays later it's fourth down and you're like what happened?"
"We knew our defense would keep us in it," Ott said. "We've been playing solid defense all year long and (Loyalsock) didn't really do much. They really only had one big play. We knew one touchdown was all we needed."