The Ceiling Can’t Hold Us
- June 7, 2023
It was the opening round of the District 4 Class AAA playoffs, and Loyalsock found itself down by 17 points at the half. Lewisburg recovered an onside kick, scored. The Dragons then stopped Loyalsock on a fourth down, scored. Their third possession ended in a punt, but they came right back on their fourth to
It was the opening round of the District 4 Class AAA playoffs, and Loyalsock found itself down by 17 points at the half.
Lewisburg recovered an onside kick, scored. The Dragons then stopped Loyalsock on a fourth down, scored. Their third possession ended in a punt, but they came right back on their fourth to score again. The game had the makings of a blowout, but after a passionate plea from players on the team the Lancers responded.
The third quarter might go down as one of the most memorable in Loyalsock’s history. The Lancers scored four times in the quarter, going on to defeat Lewisburg 35-24 to advance into the District 4 Championship.
“Everybody keeps asking what the coaches said and why we came out and played so poorly,” Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet said. “Everything was going against us. Every fluke thing you could think of happened. We just weren’t playing up to where we needed to, but what really occurred was the kids and my assistant coaches were the ones barking.”
That’s right. The Lancers’ players stood up to say this wasn’t going to be the end of their season. The poor execution and blown coverages throughout the opening half were not going to be the way the 2017 season would end for the players.
They came out to the field and it might have seemed strange to see a team down 17 points entering with jumping and screaming players, but that’s exactly what Loyalsock did.
Lewisburg opened the second quarter with a long drive, but was stopped on a fourth down. Loyalsock’s first offensive play from scrimmage ended when Sam Newton pulled down a 74-yards pass from Connor Watkins for a touchdown.
“I thought I was going to walk into a locker room with long faces, but instead I saw tears and intensity,” Van Fleet said. “I saw kids standing up to lead. I’m as proud of that as I am of the win at the end. Leadership is a skill these kids need to develop.”
Leadership came in many forms during the game. Watkins, who finished with 259 passing yards on just nine completions, displayed it throughout the comeback. He setup the first touchdown of the half. He then stepped in front of a pass, returning it 47 yards for Loyalsock’s third touchdown of the third quarter.
The score that was tucked in between Watkins’ long throw and interception return might have been the most dramatic, as Hunter Webb ripped off a 90-yard touchdown to pull Loyalsock within three points of tying the game.
“We know we came out a little soft,” Webb said. “We just came out with fire in the second half. We knew it was going to be one of the last times we played together and that was the motivation.”
Watkins’ interception return gave the Lancers the lead, but they weren’t done there. Watkins hit Jacob Waltz for a 74-yard passing touchdown to set the final score.
It was one of the biggest comebacks in the Lancers’ decorated history and the players and coaches displayed a high level of commitment to each other throughout the process.
Loyalsock 35, Lewisburg 24
LEW 10 14 0 0—24
SOCK 0 7 28 0—35
LEW—Maxwell Moyers 8 run (Nate Liscum kick), 9:43
LEW—Nate Liscum 20 field goal 1:11
LEW—Maxwell Moyers 8 run (Nate Liscum kick), 5:00
SOCK—Connor Watkins 52 pass to Gerald Ross (Quinn Deitrick kick), 4:49
LEW—Nicholas Shedleski 64 pass to Dakotah Snyder (Nate Liscum kick), 4:07
SOCK—Connor Watkins 73 pass to Sam Newton (Quinn Deitrick kick), 8:17
SOCK—Hunter Webb 90 run (Quinn Deitrick kick), 6:31
SOCK—Connor Watkins 47 INT return (Quinn Deitrick kick), 4:02
SOCK—Connor Watkins 74 pass to Jacob Waltz (Quinn Deitrick kick), 1:28
Team Statistics Lewisburg Loyalsock
First downs 17 10
Rushes-Net Yards 58-269 24-169
Passing Yardage 108 333
Completions-Attempts-Interceptions 5-20-1 10-19-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 12-82 7-76
RUSHING: Lewisburg—Maxwell Moyers 38-206 2 TD, Dylan Farronato 5-17, Nicholas Shedleski 13-34, Drevin Doebler 2-12. Loyalsock—Cole Cavanaugh 10-59, Connor Watkins 8 (-9), Hunter Webb 6-119 TD.
PASSING: Lewisburg—Nicholas Shedleski 5-20-1 108 yards TD. Loyalsock—Connor Watkins 10-18-0 333 3 TD.
RECEIVING: Lewisburg—Dylan Farronato 1-32, Andrew Ramirez 3-12; Dakotah Snyder 1-64 TD. Loyalsock—Gerald Ross 4-139 2 TD, Brock Hepler 4-35; Jacob Waltz 1-74 TD.
INTERCEPTIONS: Lewisburg—none. Loyalsock—Connor Watkins.
Records: Lewisburg 4-7. Loyalsock 7-4
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