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Written by: Chris Masse sungazette.com/ on Sunday, September 29th, 2019
Chris is an Award Winning writer for the
SELINSGROVE – Linebacker Ethan Spaulding rarely plays offense, but he always offers his services. Saturday night, the Green Dragons needed him offensively and immediately after entering the game, he caught a 10-yard pass.
It was what quarterback Nick Shedleski saw happen on that play, however, which later produced the game’s signature moment. At halftime, Shedleski offered Spaulding a suggestion and the senior turned it into words, scoring on a 78-yard touchdown pass that helped Lewisburg start pulling away from Bloomsburg.
A little unselfishness, a little resourcefulness and some little adjustments. Put that all together and Lewisburg earned a big win Saturday. The Green Dragons won their third straight, overcoming the early loss of all-state running back Max Moyers, the weather and a talented team, defeating Bloomsburg, 31-10. The game featured two weather delays that lasted two hours, Moyers was injured on Lewisburg’s third play and did not return, but Lewisburg (4-2) delivered a well-rounded performance and won its third straight game.
“We ran the same play to Spaulding in the first half and Spaulding caught it and tried to dip back in,” Lewisburg coach Marc Persing said. “Nick said he’s on your hip, catch that thing and turn out toward the sideline and outrun him. Then he caught it and turned up and outran the guy. That’s awesome.”
So was the way Lewisburg rallied around each other after Moyers was injured. The 3,000-yard rusher appeared to hurt his knee and his status is unknown moving forward. Still, Shedleski threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns, Spaulding totaled 116 receiving yards, Ethan Dominick ran for a touchdown and Gavin Sheriff and Kaiden Spotts both collected crucial interceptions.
“There were a lot of players tonight who got a lot of reps who haven’t in the past so we just have to keep grinding,” Shedleski said. “It was definitely a testaement to our character and our grit.”
Lewisburg scored 10 straight second-quarter points in the final three minutes to take a 7-point halftime lead, then went up 17-3 after Dominick returned the third-quarter’s opening kickoff and set up Shedleski’s 5-yard touchdown run. Bloomsburg answered with a Jack Howell touchdown, setting the stage for the game’s pivotal moment.
On second-and-8 from the 22-yard line, Shedleski threw a pass toward the right sideline that Spaulding caught for a first down. He remembered Shedleski’s halftime words and broke outside. Simeon Beiler threw a good block and once Spaulding hit the edge he was gone, going the final 68 yards untouched as Lewisburg took a 24-10 lead.
“Ethan Spaulding is one of the greatest personalities that I have ever coached. There is no moment too big for him, there’s not a position that he can’t play,” Persing said. “Being a quarterback and being a jack of all trades, he was like, ‘I’ll play offense tonight.’ I said if there’s a kid that can step in and do it without practicing it’s him and he did a great job.”
Lewisburg clinched the win when Shedleski capped one of his best high school games by rolling left on a 4th-and-5 and firing a rocket that threaded the needle to Jackson Landis for a 23-yard touchdown. Shedleski symbolized Lewisburg’s versatility, playing linebacker for the first time in high school. He collected two sacks and made three tackles for loss.
It also was Shedleski’s punt which pinned Bloomsburg at the 3-yard line late in the second quarter that started changing the game’s complexion. The Panthers went three and out and Lewisburg took advantage of a short field with Dominick scoring a 4-yard touchdown and giving the Dragons a 7-3 lead.
“This doesn’t last forever and whatever I can do to help this team win is what I am going to do,” Shedleski, the program’s all-time leading passer, said. “It’s all I have left so I might as well leave it all out there.”
All the Lewisburg players embraced that mentality Saturday and Sheriff created his signature moment when he snuffed out a Bloomsburg drive and returned an interception 44 yards to the Bloomsburg 35-yard line with 7.5 seconds remaining in the first half. Shedleski threw two quick passes to Spaulding that produced 19 yards and Ben Liscum drilled a 28-yard field goal that put Lewisburg up 10-3 at halftime.
“That was the great attitude we had throughout the game,” Shedleski said. “I think Bloomsburg thought we were going to take it to the half, but we had the mentality that we had to score. Any points on the board are good points.”
Lewisburg’s defense was good at preventing Bloomsburg from producing the points. The Panthers totaled 363 yards and Jack Howell threw for 219, but Lewisburg repeatedly made timely stops. Spotts ended a third quarter threat with an interception at midfield and the Dragons twice stopped Bloomsburg on fourth down in the second half.
Landis broke up four passes, Owen Ordonez was one of the game’s leading tacklers and both Graden Feldman and Josh Gose made some key tackles for loss that disrupted Bloomsburg’s rhythm. On the other side, an improving and jelling offensive line gave Shedleski good time to throw and had a good push on both rushing touchdowns.
On a night in which it had ample opportunities to pull apart, Lewisburg came together and revealed that it is both talented and tough.
“One thing I was worried about with this group at the beginning of the year was how they were going to handle adversity. Last week coming back from 13 points down against a tough, physical Shamokin team, they handled it well again (Saturday),” Persing said. “When you lose an all-state player like Max our kids could have tucked their tails between their legs and packed it in for the night, but it’s the culture and it’s the buying in of these kids that literally has the next man up coming through.”
Bloomsburg 0 3 7 0-10
Lewisburg 0 10 14 7-31
B-Torsten Hartmann 36-yard field goal, 8:33
L-Ethan Dominick 4 run (Ben Liscum kick), 2:23
L-Liscum 28-yard field goal, 0:00
L-Nick Shedleski 5 run (Liscum kick), 10:04
B-Jack Howell 1 run (Hartmann kick), 6:01
L-Ethan Spaulding 78 pass from Shedleski (Liscum kick), 5:00
L-Jack Landis 23 pass from Shedleski (Liscum kick), 9:08
First Downs 18 10
Rushes-yards 37-144 26-70
Passing yards 219 181
Total yards 363 251
C-A-I 15-33-2 14-19-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 14-124 1-5
RUSHING: Bloomsburg, Cade Klinger 13-45; Brody Hock 6-41; Xzayivher Russell-King 4-32; Nasir Heard 3-13; Howell 11-13, TD. Lewisburg, Ethan Dominick 14-53, TD; Logan Callison 1-21; Ethan Spaulding 1-3; Gavin Sheriff 3-1; Nick Shedleski 5-(-1), TD; Max Moyers 1-(-3); Cam Michaels 1-(-4).
PASSING: Bloomsburg, Howell 15-33-2, 219 yards. Lewisburg, Shedleski 14-19-0, 181 yards, 2 TDs
RECEIVING: Bloomsburg, Hock 8-112; Daniel Gusevich 4-92; Heard 2-11; Klinger 1-4. Lewisburg, Spaulding 5-116, TD; Dominick 3-13; Simeon Beiler 2-6; Jack Landis 1-23, TD; Callison 1-10; Dante Sims 1-7; Moyers 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS: Lewisburg, Sheriff 1, Kaiden Spotts 1.
SACKS: Bloomsburg, Billy McGinley 1. Lewisburg, Shedleski 2, Dominick 1.
RECORDS: Lewisburg 4-2. Bloomsburg 2-4.
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