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South Williamsport Grinds Out Win Over Montgomery

Written by: on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

 

In typical South Williamsport fashion, the Mounties ground out a 34-29 win over Montgomery in NTL Small School Division on Monday, September 27.

“They (Montgomery) played a tremendous ball game,” commented South Williamsport head coach Chris Eiswerth. “They are doing a great job down there. The kids are getting stronger, they have a great group of seniors, so we had to work. People don’t realize it’s tough to win a football game when you’re dealing with youngsters. I loved our growth in the second half and how our kids played with passion. The line looked crisper, we ran more effectively, Lorson and Bachman hooked up on a couple nice balls, and defensively we came away with a couple of turnovers, so you know that’s football.”

South Williamsport went to work quickly on their first drive. After being held on third down they elected to go for it from their 40-yard line on 4th and inches. On 4th down Landon Lorson ran a QB sneak to pick up the 1st down, then a play later Lane Lusk took Lorson’s hand off and went 62 yards untouched up the middle to give the host Mounties an early 7-0 lead with 9:37 to play.

South would hold their 7-0 lead as the opening quarter came to a close, but the Red Raiders were driving to begin the 2nd quarter. The duo of Logan Almeida and Maurice Walters connected multiple times on the drive and they would finish it to put the Red Raiders on the scoreboard with an 8-yard touchdown reception midway through the quarter to knot the game at 7-all.

This time on the Mounties ensuing drive they went to the air for their next score. Inside the Montgomery 40, Lorson rolled out and just got the ball off before taking a bit hit. His pass found the hands of Clayton Swarthout in the left flat, which he took it the rest of the way to put South back on top, 14-7, with 3:08 remaining before the half. Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Walters returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards to tie the game back up at 14-14.

Montgomery would capitalize on a South error late in the quarter to take the lead as the half came to a close. After the Red Raider defense held the Mounties on down, South dropped back to punt. The snap ended up going over Lorson’s head, which he fell on at the South 7-yard line. From there, the Red Raiders found the end zone on 4th down with 5.1 seconds left on a QB sneak by Almeida to put Montgomery ahead, 21-14.

As the second half started the Red Raiders had the ball and were driving before Lorson intercepted an Almeida pass to take back over. From there, South put together a drive, highlighted by a pass from Lorson to Grant Bachman, that was finished by Lusk to tie the game back up at 21 with 6:16 left in the third. After a failed Red Raider drive South’s offense was back in control, and they didn’t waste any time, as Lusk again finished a drive on a 31-yard score after breaking out of a massive pile up to make it 28-21 to start the fourth quarter.

South would add one more score on another Lusk score with 3:27 remaining. This time Lusk scored on the defensive side as he was in the right place at the right time. An Almeida pass intended for Walters bounced off his hands and right into the arms of Lusk, who returned it 67 yards to put South up 34-21 after the extra point failed.

“I liked how our kids fought through the adversity,” continued Eiswerth. “We gave them two scores on the kickoff return and the bad snap. #7 (Walters) is a great athlete and we always talk about not giving guys a chance to do that, but he did it and he made it happen, so hat’s off to him. At the half we said we have to got back to the little things and that it wouldn’t be a quick fix with some of the things we do. I think the guys really stepped it up. When you win games like this it’s really fun, when you’re going through them it’s tough.”

Montgomery wouldn’t go down with a fight, however, as they managed a scoring drive on an Almeida QB sneak with 1:38 remaining. After being called for a false start on the extra point try, the Red Raiders decided to go for it, and they converted, as Almeida found Weston Pick open in the end zone.

The conversion cut South’s lead to 34-29 to setup an onsides kick attempt by the Red Raiders. The kick however was squibbed which allowed Lusk to recover it at the South 22.

“The kids gave it everything they had to the last whistle,” Montgomery first year head coach Christian Diggs said afterwards. “We made a couple mistakes but we never gave up and that’s what I’m most proud of. There was a miscommunication on the final kick between our kicker and our coach calling the play. We wanted to give ourselves a chance to recover and possibly drive to win, but that’s one thing we’ll work on here going forward in practice. South is a tough team. Coach Eiswerth is a great coach and he has a great staff. They just got the best of us tonight.”

South turned to Lusk for the first two carries, forcing Montgomery to use their final two timeouts. Lusk’s second carry picked up a first down at their own 42, allowing the Mounties to kneel and run out the clock for the win.

“He (Lusk) came out locked in a decided he was, like some of the other seniors, going to will this to victory. I’m so proud of him, he’s worked so hard. He’s a four-year starter, he works hard in the weight room, and to have a game like this during homecoming is a great memory for him.”

South Williamsport improves to 3-2 overall (3-2 NTL Small School Division) and ends a two-game losing streak. Montgomery falls to 3-2 (1-2 NTL Small School Division) and has lost two in a row after starting the season 3-0. Montgomery has a short week of preparation ahead of Friday’s game at Wyalusing while South has an extra day as they travel to CMVT for a Saturday afternoon kick.

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