Football Renews Lycoming Rivalry but Falls Short

Football Renews Lycoming Rivalry but Falls Short

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – It was five years in the making but unfortunately the renewal of the Stagg Hat Trophy rivalry series against the Susquehanna and Lycoming football teams did not favor the Crusaders, who fell 42-13 in Williamsport.

A 28-point second quarter by the Warriors (1-0) effectively decided the game despite second and third quarter touchdowns by the Crusaders (0-1). Lycoming has now won 13of the last 15 Stagg Hat Trophy matchups.

The Warriors had 368 yards of total offense while holding SU to 261 despite Susquehanna winning the possession battle with 33:13 minutes of total possession time.

SU freshman quarterback Nick Crusco (Oak Ridge, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) finished the day 13-of-25 for 148 yards, one touchdown and two picks but was sacked three times. Tim Wade (Doylestown, Pa./La Salle College HS) got the bulk of the carries for the Crusaders, carrying the ball 25 times but for only 58 yards with one score.

Sophomore tight end Connor Decker (Shohola, Pa./Delaware Valley) accounted for other Susquehanna touchdown and had three catches for five yards. Denzell Walker (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh School) was Crusco's main target, reeling in four catches for 60 yards.

Freshman Tommy Bluj (Parsippany, N.J./Parsippany) starred in the return game with six kickoff returns for 165 yards, including a long of 76 and on the defensive side of the ball, Jim Barry (Staten Island, N.Y./Brooklyn Poly Prep) easily led the way for SU with 14 tackles (10 solo) with one fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Ian Murray (Tyrone, Pa./Tyrone) tallied eight tackles with 0.5 for a loss.

The teams played to a scoreless first quarter despite a two three-plus minute drives by SU, including the final drive of the quarter which burned 4:25 off the clock but did not result in a score for Susquehanna.

The second quarter was an entirely different story with 24 points; unfortunately, 28 of those points were scored by the Warriors. Lycoming got on the board first on its very first drive of the period, a Blake Bowman one-yard rush with 12:19 on the clock.

The Crusaders took over on their own 21-yard line but went three and out before Spencer Hotaling's (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area) punt was blocked and recovered by John Sibel, who rushed 10 yards into the endzone for Lycoming's second touchdown in just over two minutes of game time.

The Warriors turned into three-straight scoring drives when Crusco's pass was intercepted at the Susquehanna 20-yard line by Kyle Sullivan. Sullivan returned it to the SU two-yard line before Bowman found the endzone for the second time on a two-yard scoring rush.

Susquehanna's offense finally put together a true scoring threat when Bluj returned a kickoff 76 yards to the Lycoming 19-yard line. The Crusaders did not find the endzone, however, and Hotaling failed to connect on the 45-yard field goal attempt to keep it 21-0 with 7:31 to play in the half.

Roughly two minutes later Lycoming added another score, this time after three-straight rushes by Craig Needhammer resulted in a touchdown and a 28-0 Warriors lead.

Momentum shifted a bit when Barry fell on a Lycoming fumble at Lycoming's six-yard line inside the 60-second mark of the half. Crusco quickly found Decker to finally put his squad on the board. Unfortunately, the extra point was missed and it stood 28-6 as the teams headed into the locker room.

Lycoming was held out of the endzone on its first drive of the third quarter and Susquehanna's second drive of the period started with 8:53 on the clock. Crusco found Walker for a 22-yard pass that moved the ball to the Lycoming 10-yard line. A pass interference call on third-and-nine extended the drive and Wade worked his way into the endzone to trim Lycoming's lead to two touchdowns (28-13) with 4:49 left in the quarter.

Unfortunately, the Warriors added touchdowns late in the third and early in the fourth quarters for a 42-13 ballgame and shut out SU for the remaining 20 minutes of the game.

Susquehanna returns home to host No. 14 Johns Hopkins on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. in the Centennial Conference opener for both squads.