Altoona dominates Millionaires
Now in his third year as head coach of the Altoona Mountain Lions, Nick Felus hasn’t had many nights to celebrate. He certainly hasn’t had many occasions to celebrate a mercy-rule victory.
However, Friday was one of those rare times when Felus was able to feel good about a victory — a big victory.
Even after a soaking rain fell most of the first half, Felus was still all smiles after watching his Mountain Lions pound Williamsport, 38-0, at Mansion Park.
“First of all, hats off to the kids for the way they worked and bounced back (from the Hollidaysburg loss),” Felus said.
“And, hat’s off to my coaching staff. They did a great job offensively, defensively, special teams. They came in Sunday and worked hard all week to put our kids into position to win,” Felus noted.
Because they’ve moved from the WPIAL back to the Mid-Penn Conference, the Lions were able to schedule three non-league foes this season and Williamsport was one of them.
The last time the Lions and Millionaires met on the gridiron was 2005 when Altoona won, 30-27. Friday night’s victory set the log at 35-33-1 with Williamsport still holding a slight edge.
However, Friday’s game was all-Altoona as the Mountain Lions rolled up 501 offensive yards while holding the Billtowners to only 94, including a paltry 18 on the ground on 23 rushes.
“Our philosophy this week was ‘just do your job,'” Felus said. “Play assignment football, don’t make mistakes, handle adversity, handle sudden changes, and I think we did that.
“We played with a lot of passion and pride,” Felus said.
“My hat’s off to coach Felus and the Mountain Lions,” Williamsport coach Chuck Crews said. “They came out and were ready.
“They gave us some opportunities early that we couldn’t capitalize on and, as the game went on, they got more and more momentum and kudos to them.”
Altoona received the opening kickoff and needed only five plays to cover 80 yards for the game’s first score.
Quarterback Connor McCarthy broke a 20-yard run and a 15-yard facemask penalty moved the ball to the Williamsport 45 on the game’s first play. Two plays later, McCarthy hit Jonah Brandt with a 20-yard pass to the 21. Mitchell Lawhead took it from there, gaining 6 before sweeping the left side for a 15-yard TD.
It was the beginning of a big night for Lawhead, who scored three touchdowns — runs of 15 and 1 yard (from the wildcat) in the first quarter, plus a 43-yard pass from McCarthy in the second. Lawhead finished with 81 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving.
“Tonight was very special,” Lawhead said. “It’s a big confidence boost as we go into our (Mid-Penn) conference schedule. It’s exactly what we needed.
“The offensively line did a great job, especially Gage Hill and Adam Port. They were big,” Lawhead offered. “Jake Hunter was huge. I was running behind him all night. Ricky Fogal stepped up, too.
“Turnovers really helped us tonight,” Lawhead, a defensive linebacker, continued. “In football, good plays are going to happen and bad plays are going to happen. As long as we can neutralize them and win the turnover battle, we’ll be successful.”
Felus used a lot of young reserves in the second half and the Lions struggled to put the running clock in motion after leading 26-0 at intermission.
The McCarthy-to-Lawhead TD pass came with only 48 seconds in the half and pushed the Altoona lead to 26-0. The other Mountain Lion score in the first half came on a 43-yard end-around by Connor Adams.
McCarthy, who passed for 197 yards, hooked up with Isaiah Barnes for a nifty 79-yard pass-run TD in the third quarter to make it 32-0 and backup QB Marcus Day, a sophomore, sprinted 10 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter to set the running clock in motion.
“I thought we did some good things on offense,” Felus said. “The offensive line played really well tonight. We wanted to run the ball and slow down the tempo and we did. We still have a long way to go, especially offensively, but we’ll keep working to move ahead.”
Game notes: The Millionaires were without standout running back Treyson Potts. A Minnesota recruit, Potts did not play last night, but Crews would not say why Potts didn’t suit up. … Now 1-1, Altoona hosts Allderdice of the Pittsburgh City League next Friday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Williamsport 0 0 0 0 — 0
Altoona 13 13 6 6 — 38
A–Lawhead 15 run (Eisel kick), 9:46.
A–Lawhead 1 run (kick failed), :36.
A–Adams 43 run (kick failed), 7:07.
A–Lawhead 43 pass from McCarthy (Eisel kick), :48.
A–Barnes 79 pass from McCarthy (pass failed), 8:47.
A–Day 10 run (kick failed), 10:41.
TEAM STATISTICS A W
First downs 20 7
Total yards 521 94
Rushes-yards 45-324 23-18
Yards passing 197 76
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 8-11-0 9-19-0
Punts-avg. 0 4-47
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 8-68 5-53
RUSHING–Williamsport, Fagnano 5-32, Clements 7-17, Robinson 2-12, Connelly 1-4, Freeman 2-2, Simmons 1-(-3), Griess 1-(-4), TEAM 4-(-42). Altoona, Lawhead 20-81, Day 6-69, Adams 4-60, McCarthy 4-32, Zerbee 1-24, Barnes 1-17, McCaulley 4-16, DeAngelis 2-15, Franklin 1-6, Bickel 1-4, Pheasant 1-(-4).
PASSING–Williamsport, Fagnano 9-18-0-76, Mazzante 0-1-0-0. Altoona, McCarthy 8-10-0-197, Day 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING–Williamsport, Simmons 4-40, Esposito 2-11, Jones 1-9, Moyer 1-8, Sagan 1-8. Altoona, Barnes 3-82, Lawhead 2-54, Adams 2-41, Brandt 1-10.