The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 28, 2013

Green Dragons’ big plays in third doom Indians

Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item

COAL TOWNSHIP — The Lewisburg football team learned an important lesson Friday night at Kemp Memorial Stadium.

Patience really can be a virtue.

Despite not scoring a point in the first half, Shamokin held the ball for 17:53, keeping the Green Dragons’ offense off the field and holding just a 6-0 lead at halftime.

“They had a lot of third and fourth down conversions and it kept us off the field, we only had the ball twice,” Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. “We told the kids we just had to be patient.”

When the Lewisburg offense finally got its hands on the ball, it showed why the Indians’ ball-control game-plan was a good idea.

From the opening play of the third, when Drew Newcomb ripped off a 67-yard touchdown run, the Green Dragons were clicking on all cylinders with three touchdowns over 30 yards in the third quarter in a 32-6 victory over the Indians.

“I think the first play of the second half really shifted the momentum,” Winn said. “I think (Shamokin) was really happy that it was only 6-0 at the half. They were in the game, they were controlling us. I think it really flipped the momentum.”

The victory sets up a huge Heartland Athletic Conference-Division II matchup Friday night between 5-0 Montoursville and the 4-1 Green Dragons at Christy-Mathewson Memorial Stadium.

But first Lewisburg had to dispose of the Indians. The Green Dragons took a 6-0 lead in the second quarter with a 13-play, 61-yard drive, capped by Logan Aikey’s one-yard TD run. Lewisburg converted two third downs on the drive on Nick Costagliola to Ben Frankel passes and a fourth-down on a Costagliola to Luke Smith hook-up.

However, after scoring with 7:19 left in the second quarter, Lewisburg didn’t touch the ball again in the first half as Shamokin held the ball, but missed a 37-yard field goal as the half expired.

Newcomb ripped off his long touchdown run with 11:41 to go in the third quarter, picking up a block downfield from Frankel, then cutting down the left sideline for the score.

The Green Dragons’ defense forced an immediate three-and-out despite Shane Williams’ 47-yard kickoff return, giving Shamokin the ball in Lewisburg territory.

Not even being pinned back on its eight followed by holding penalty could stop the Lewisburg offense in the third quarter. It was technically a 92-yard drive, but the Green Dragons were pinned on the 4 after the penalty, but scored just six plays later. Costagliola found Luke Smith (3 catches, 78 yards) with a 51-yard TD pass and after the point after Lewisburg led 19-0.

Brandon Benfer got a hand on a Shamokin punt, which netted just four yards to the Indians 31. On the second play, Costagliola (177 yards, 2 touchdowns) found Frankel (4 catches, 67 yards) for a 31-yard scoring strike and a 25-0 lead with 4:20  left in the third quarter.

The Indians (0-4) were able to get on the board when Christian Duganitz sacked Costagliola and forced a fumble. Garrett Zalar jumped on it for the Indians at the 12. Two Sean McLaughlin runs later and Shamokin was within 25-6 with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.

Smith set up the final Lewisburg score with a 26-yard kickoff return after a short Indians kickoff gave the Green Dragons the ball on the Shamokin 44. Newcomb (3 carries, 85 yards) capped the seven-play drive with a 21-yard touchdown run.