By Todd Hummel
The Daily Item
Mark Twain once said there were three kinds of lies — lies, damned lies and statistics.
Well the statistics didn’t lie in the first half of Lewisburg’s homecoming game on Friday night against Shamokin.
Take away the Green Dragons’ lone big play of the first half — an 84-yard catch-and-run by Brandon Smith — and Lewisburg was limited to 12 plays, four yards and zero first downs.
“We knew we had to get the offensive line going in the second half,” Lewisburg tight end Ty Turner said. “We just wanted to come out and drive it down the field.”
“Shamokin presented some challenges (in the first half),” Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. “We had something like 12 plays of offense in the first half. We just couldn’t find any rhythm.”
Despite their offensive issues, the Green Dragons still led by a touchdown at the half.
And when Lewisburg finally got rolling in the second half, the Indians had no answer.
Lewisburg scored touchdowns on all three of its offensive possessions and averaged nearly 10 yards per carry in the second half as it picked up a 35-14 Heartland Athletic Conference crossover victory at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
“It came down to execution in the second half. We were running the same plays,” Smith, who scored three second-half rushing touchdowns, said. “We needed the offensive line to step up in the second half and they certainly did.”
The game didn’t get off to a scintillating start as the first quarter featured three punts and two turnovers, the second of which led to the first score of the game. Shamokin recovered a fumble at the Lewisburg 32, but one play later Turner picked off a Tucker Yost pass and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown. Turner caught the ball in the flat and made a man miss at the 50. That allowed his teammates to set up a wall and Turner went the final 50 yards without being touched to give his team a 7-0 lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
“They had thrown that pass before. It was a slant and I stepped in front of it,” Turner, a linebacker, said. “I made a move and got some great blocks.”
The Indians (1-4) then put together a 13-play drive deep into Lewisburg territory, but that 13th play was unlucky as Shamokin fumbled the ball away and Luke Smith recovered for Lewisburg at its own 16. On a third-and-10 play, the Green Dragons lined up in the pistol with four wide outs and Brandon Smith lined up in the backfield. Smith motioned and caught a short swing pass and turned into an 84-yard TD to make 14-0 with 9:31 left in the second quarter.
Shamokin caught a break with 55 seconds left in the first half when a fumbled punt deep in Lewisburg territory led to a two-play, nine-yard touchdown drive shortly before the half. Yost hit Erik Taylor with a four-yard scoring strike to cut the lead to 14-7.
Lewisburg came out in the second half and put together a seven-play, 71-yard drive, capped by a Brandon Smith seven-yard TD run to take a 21-7 lead with 8:22 left in the third.
Shamokin answered with a Julian Deitrick touchdown run to cap a 15-play, 75-yard drive to make it 21-14 with 2:07 left in the third.
However. Brandon Smith and the Lewisburg offensive line turned out to be too much for the Indians’ defense in the second half as the Green Dragons added touchdown drives of 78 and 56 yards in their final two possessions to salt the game away.