By: Matt Beltz | Towanda Daily Review | October 31, 2015
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — It was the type of play that could swing the momentum one way or the other. South Williamsport, holding a 14-0 lead, had called its final timeout of the half and had the ball at the Sayre 1 yard line on third down with just a few seconds left in the first half.
There would only be time for one more play so either the Mounties would score to take a three-possession lead or Sayre would stop them and head into the locker room having made a goal line stand and about to receive the second half kickoff.
Unfortunately for Sayre, it was the former that occurred as Gideon Green broke it over the goal line to give South a 21-0 lead and that was the back breaker for the Redskins as they were unable to dig themselves out of the hole as the Mounties dealt Sayre a 35-12 loss and with it, a blow to Sayre’s playoff hopes.
"We're not a fast-paced offense. We have had games where we've scored fast but against a team like this, you can't give them a lead like that," said Sayre coach Steve Satterly. "Offensively, we didn't do very well in the first half. The second half we were better but by then it was already 21-0 and we’re not the type of team that can play from behind."
South averaged nearly 6 yards per carry, and that was even after leading running back Nate Koletar left the game with an injury late in the first half after rushing 15 times for 82 yards. In his absence, Green took the role as the lead back and finished with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Three of South Williamsport's scoring drives were at least 10 plays and the Mounties had 27 first downs to just 11 for Sayre.
"We couldn't get off blocks," said Satterly. "We need to practice getting off blocks better and if you can't get off blocks you're not going to be able to make tackles."
In what would be a omen of things to come on the evening, South received the opening kickoff and started at its own 22. It then put together a 15-play, 78-yard drive, all of which were rushing plays, that took over half of the quarter.
The teams then exchanged interceptions, which resulted in Sayre getting good field position after its pick on the South 27. But the Redskins were only able to gain 6 yards on three downs and settled for a 37-yard field goal attempt by Mitchel Ward, which was missed to the left.
The Mounties were able to take advantage with another long drive, this one spanning 80 yards and 11 plays and 5:38. The first 10 plays of the drive were all rushes, but the drive culminated on a 38-yard screen pass to Ashton Martin, who broke a few tackles and finished it with a dive into the end zone to put South up 14-0.
After Sayre went three-and-out on its next drive, South took possession at its own 35 with 3:24 left and went 10 plays with Green's touchdown with just :01 remaining capping the drive.
"That was huge. It was a nice drive by them that they took advantage of," said Satterly.
The Redskins did come out of the locker room fired up, though, and scored on a 40-yard run by Tylor Belles on their first possession of the second half.
But South answered right back with another long drive, this one spanning nine plays — all on the ground — and 57 yards in 4:26 to re-take the three-score lead on a 6-yard run by Martin.
Sayre then put together a nice long drive of its own, going 55 yards in 11 plays in 4:52, capped by another score by Belles, this one from 9 yards out. Belles had an efficient evening, as he finished with 58 yards and the two scores on just five carries, all coming in the second half.
The two-score deficit would once again be short-lived, however, as South answered right back on its next possession and wrapped up the scoring on the evening as Martin found the end zone for the third time on the night.
Sayre, which entered the game in fifth place in the District 4 Class A playoff standings, will now need to beat rival Athens next week to have any chance at a playoff berth. But Satterly is pleased with his team's effort this season nonetheless.
"These kids have done a great job all season. They run hard and I can't ask for anything more than they gave," said Satterly. "They've worked hard all season. I told them that the path to success isn't a straight line and we have to deal with some bumps in the road. Next week is going to be fun. Rivalry games are awesome and it's going to be a lot of fun."