THREE SPRINGS - Faced with the prospect of making a one-way trip longer than it would take to complete the Blue Pirates' Inter-County Conference interdivisional game at Southern Huntingdon halted by lightning on Friday, Williamsburg High School football coach Bob Hearn decided to make the best of things.
"I told the kids we're going to go down and play," Hearn said, "like it's nothing-nothing."
Unfortunately, the Pirates don't get to count the win twice.
Keyed by terrific play up front that paved the way for three backs to rush for more than 60 yards and a quarterback to throw for nearly 100 while the defense posted its first shutout in more than a half-decade, Williamsburg tacked on the only score after play was resumed on Monday to emerge with a 31-0 victory over the host Rockets.
The result evened Williamsburg's record at 1-1 heading into Silver Division play. It also was the Pirates' second win in three games after going 0-9 to begin last season; Williamsburg's last two losses are by three and six points, the second coming after in this year's opener after it led Claysburg-Kimmel.
"This is a really big win. It gets us on a high early in the season," said senior lineman and captain Sean McCaulley said.
McCauley is listed at 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, and he loomed large figuratively as well as literally on both sides of the football.
On defense, he made his presence felt on the first play of Southern Huntingdon's second possession by tackling both Rocket tailback Chad Waite and Waite's lead blocker for a 2-yard loss. It was typical of a hard-hitting second half of football by the Pirates, as they finished off their first shutout since beating Everett in the next to last game of the 2006 season and held the Rockets to 114 yards.
"Our defense still played really well. It just didn't give them many opportunities," Hearn said. "We really shut them down. I thought the guys really stepped it up, from the line to the linebackers to the secondary. It really was a total team effort on defense."
The Pirates got all the points they needed in the first half before the games was suspended, as Mike Biddle and Alan Shanholtz scored two touchdowns apiece. The only time Williamsburg reached the end zone on Monday, Austin McMonagle threw to Quinton Snyder near the left sideline. Snyder cut in and back out for a 23-yard TD pass.
McMonagle finished 5-for-10 passing for 99 yards, primarily out of the pistol set. Jed Dishong led Pirate runners with 68 yards on the ground, while Shanholtz and Biddle wound up with 64 yards apiece.
"The backs are running well. We've got to keep it up [on the line]. We've got to block better. We're going all right, but the backs are doing great," McCauley said.
Hearn isn't in total agreement with his humble hulking lineman. Having an active player with McCauley's size is a tremendous luxury at the Class A level.
"We know on defense he's going to stop a lot of plays, and, it's no secret on offense that we try to run behind him," Hearn said. "It makes a big difference to have somebody that big and that athletic."
Southern Huntingdon coach Ryan Garlock came away impressed.
"Those defenders ends of theirs, we couldn't block them. They just ate us up. We just couldn't handle that up front," Garlock said. "Friday night, they just killed us with that sweep. We made some adjustments, and I thought we played better defensively."
The Rockets came into the season very inexperienced and with just seven seniors on the roster. Southern Huntingdon only has scored six points in its first two games.
"We competed. That gives us something to build on. But offensively, we have nothing. We have to find something. We'll get back to work," Garlock said.
It was that youth, inexperience and a need to find some answers that Garlock cited on Friday night as the reason to continue the game instead of letting Williamsburg take a 24-0, one-half win. The Pirates drove approximately an hour to play about 45 minutes of football, then drove an hour back - they travel to Glendale this Friday.
"It was different. We actually were on the bus longer than we were playing. It was better than a day of practice. It really kept us fresh, kept us going and kept us in game mode," McCauley said. "Hopefully, we'll carry it on."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Williamsburg6 18 0 7-31
Southern Huntingdon0 0 0 0- 0
W-Shanholtz 3 run (kick failed), 5:37.
W-Biddle 25 pass from McMonagle (kick failed), 8:46.
W-Shanholtz 8 run (run failed), 4:32.
W-Biddle 4 run (pass failed), 0:06.
W-Snyder 23 pass from McMonagle (Snyder kick), 2:11
RUSHING: Williamsburg-Biddle 6-64, Shanholtz 14-64, Dishong 13-68, Bookhammer 1-7, C. Morrissey 10-6, McMonagle 2-(-4), TEAM 1-(-2). Southern Huntingdon-Carbaugh 6-51, Waite 6-3, Carowick 10-21, Simerson 9-23.
PASSING: Williamsburg-McMonagle 5-10-0-99. Southern Huntingdon-Carowick 3-12-0-16, Simerson 0-2-1-0.
RECEIVING: Williamsburg-C. Morrissey 3-51, Biddle 1-25, Snyder 1-23. Southern Huntingdon-Carbaugh 1-(-4), Parks 1-14, Schoen 1-6.