Hughesville tops Loyalsock.

By: Chris Masse | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | October 10, 2010

 

HUGHESVILLE - Pink was the night's predominant color as Hughesville promoted Breast Cancer Awareness, but Ethan Showers was covered in brown dirt after playing the game of his scholastic career, a symbol of the workman-like effort he put forth.

Forget for a second that Showers ran for 187 yards on 30 carries, while converting a critical fourth-and-4 on the go-ahead third quarter drive. Even if Showers had never touched the football, he still might have earned team MVP honors following Hughesville's 35-21 win because he made 12 tackles while twice stopping Loyalsock on fourth down plays deep in Spartan territory.

Showers' offense helped clinch the game, but his defense might have won it.

"Ethan is stepping up and making stops when we have to make stops," Hughesville coach Rick Reichner said. "He's our leader on defense. He's always there in the mix and he does a great job. He takes a beating on defense, he takes a beating on offense. He just comes back and continues to play and that's a credit to him and his work ethic."

It is a work ethic shared by all his teammates and it helped Hughesville (5-1) rally from a 14-12 halftime deficit while winning its third straight and exacting a measure of revenge after losing to Loyalsock in last year's District 4 Class AA finals. Cody Butler ran for 128 yards and scored three touchdowns, including the game-clinchers in a 14 second span late in the game, while quarterback D.J. Foresman added two touchdowns as Hughesville scored 23 straight second half points and took a big step toward again reaching districts.

"We've handled adversity before and we just wanted to go out and make a statement and show our character when our backs were against the wall," two-way starting lineman Rutger Day said. "We were looking forward to this game and wanted to make a statement against a good team like that."

After Loyalsock (2-4) scored 14 straight second-quarter points in the final two minutes, it immediately built on the momentum, driving to the Hughesville seven-yard line. The Spartans, though, dropped Mike Kinney (102 yards, 18 tackles) for a two yard loss and Showers combined with Derek Earnest a play later on a drive ending quarterback sack.

Showers ran for eight yards from the Loyalsock 47-yard line on a 4th-and-4 on the ensuing drive before Foresman capped the 84 yard drive with the go-ahead six yard touchdown run with 7.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It looked like Loyalsock would answer when it drove inside the Spartan five-yard line midway through the fourth.

Again, Showers would not let it happen.

The Spartan defensive line exploded off the line on fourth-and-one from the four-yard line and Showers shot through to stuff Kinney, one of the area's strongest running backs, for no gain. It was the third time Hughesville held Loyalsock to zero points after reaching the red zone but no stop was bigger than this one.

"I was reading Kinney the whole way because why not give it to your full-time back in that situation?" Showers said. "I just got a hold of his legs and that's basically what it was, everybody taking up a gap and not giving him any room to get across."

From the shadow of its own end zone, Hughesville's offensive line took over and paved the way for an eight run, 96 yard drive. After Showers ran for two yards on a 3rd-and-2, Butler swept right, received a series of excellent blocks and went 60 yards untouched as Hughesville opened a 28-14 lead with three minutes remaining.

Any chance Loyalsock had of making a dramatic comeback was snuffed out on the ensuing kickoff as Butler picked up a fumble, received a great block from Showers inside the 10-yard line and scored his third touchdown.

"Hughesville football is all about being a team. There's no individuals, one person can't win a game and our offensive line does a tremendous job," Butler said "They made holes for Ethan and I all night and it's easy to run the ball when they block like that."

Loyalsock did its best to make it interesting toward the end as Tyler Bogaczyk hit James Krizan for a 70 yard touchdown pass with 2:18 remaining. Loyalsock attempted an onside kick but touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards and Hughesville ran out the clock.

In a way, that final touchdown was a frustrating reminder to Loyalsock about what might have been. For the third time in four weeks, the Lancers played a likely playoff qualifier tough and made several good plays, but were done in by a handful of plays that changed everything.

"We were making big plays, we just weren't making them when we needed to make them. We weren't clocking on all cylinders the way we needed to offensively and defenisvely," said Bogaczyk, who threw for 187 yards. "We have to regroup and we have homecoming next week against Wellsboro so we have to come out ready to play."

Krizan had a breakout game and when he caught a 35 yard touchdown pass off a deflection late in the first half, it appeared Loyalsock had the break it needed to snap a three-game losing streak. Moments later Nick Carrita blocked a punt, Kinney returned it to the one-yard line and scored a play later as the Lancers took all the momentum into halftime.