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Millionaires end Mtn. Lions’ season

Photo for the Mirror by Ralph Wilson Altoona’s Andre Dokes dives for extra yardage after being tripped up by Williams- port’s defensive line.

By Michael Boytim

mboytim@altoonamirror.com

WILLIAMSPORT — Back-to-back plays, first to end the half and then to begin the second, doomed Altoona in a 36-14 loss to Williamsport in the District 4-6 Class 6A semifinals and ended the Mountain Lions’ season Friday at STA Stadium.

With the score tied at seven, Williamsport quarterback Frankie Marrone completed a 92-yard drive that took just 1:37 with a 13-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Sebastian Robinson to make it 14-7.

“Oh my God, that might have been the greatest drive of our career,” Williamsport coach Chuck Crews said. “We went more than 80 yards in (1:37). It was vindication for our offense and for Frankie. It was very good, and it planted the seed in Altoona’s mind that this game might turn out like it did for them last week (against State College). Fortunately for us, it didn’t turn out like our regular-season game, and we were able to keep our foot on the gas.”

Possibly thanks in part to allowing the late touchdown, Altoona’s Mark Harrington attempted an onside kick to open the third quarter and it came up just a yard short of going the required 10 yards for the Mountain Lions to recover it. Williamsport took advantage of the short field and made it 21-7 and never looked back.

“I think if it gets to where we needed it to, we definitely recover it. It’s just the execution of it. It’s something that we practiced. He did a great job practicing it all week,” Altoona coach Vince Nedimyer Jr. said. “We just needed to execute it in the game. He’s a freshman, and he’ll have another opportunity.”

Altoona finished the season 4-7 after winning its first three games.

“We went undefeated in ninth grade and came up to varsity and went 1-9,” Altoona senior Ethan Stroup said. “It was a pretty big flip for us, but we took it on the chin and bounced back to win the D6 championship last year. We came up short tonight, but I’m proud of our team. We fought hard all season.”

Play of the game: Despite being wide open, Robinson had to haul in a high throw from Marrone and then tap his toes in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

Player of the game: Williamsport’s Nasir Hennigan carried the ball 24 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns while playing only three quarters.

Unsung hero: Altoona’s Andre Dokes returned from what looked like a bad leg injury midway through the game and caught four passes for 32 yards, rushed for 26 and opened the game with a 30-yard kickoff return.

Most vital statistic: The Mountain Lions rushed for 109 yards in the first half and just 5 in the second half, despite Stroup’s 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Stroup on dealing with an injury in the second half of the season: “It was disappointing. I tried to play through it the most I could. I’m never going to say an injury slowed me down, but it definitely prevented some longer runs, and it made it tougher. But I’m pretty strong, and I pulled through.”

Nedimyer on the senior class: “This was our first full group as a staff that we had for three years, and they’ll be missed. It’s tough. Any time something comes to an end it’s tough. That’s the way football goes, but I love every single one of these seniors.”

Crews on the Williamsport running game that finished with 257 yards: “It wasn’t that we scored, it was how we scored. We gave them a dose of their own medicine. Instead of them giving us a heavy dose of (Stroup), who is a great player, we ran it on them. Our offensive line buckled down, and it was sobering for them.”

Robinson on his touchdown catch just before halftime: “It gave us confidence going into the half. It shut them down, and they were not ready in the second half. It was like going against a different team.”

Notable: The game was similar to Nedimyer’s first road game as Altoona coach when the Mountain Lions allowed a score just before halftime to Williamsport and then a close game became a blowout in the second half at STA Stadium. … The Millionaires held senior night for the cheerleaders, because they missed their actual senior night due to being quarantined. … Both teams lost two fumbles.

Records: Altoona (4-7); Williamsport (6-5).

Next week: Altoona’s season is complete. Williamsport will take on State College for the District 4-6 Class 6A championship at a site to be announced next Friday.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Altoona 7 0 0 7 — 14

Williamsport 7 7 14 8 — 36

First Quarter

A–Steinbugl 1 run (Palilla kick), 5:22.

W–Hennigan 10 run (Poole kick), 1:00.

Second Quarter

W–Robinson 13 pass from Marrone (Poole kick), :03.

Third Quarter

W–Hennigan 1 run (Poole kick), 6:50.

W–L. Whaley 2 run (Poole kick), 2:30.

Fourth Quarter

W–Harden 47 run (Frierson pass from Marrone), 8:37.

A–Stroup 39 run (Palilla kick), 5:37.

TEAM STATISTICS A W

First downs 11 21

Total yards 159 420

Rushes-yards 29-114 48-257

Passing (comp.-att.-int) 6-11-0 15-17-0

Passing yards 45 163

Punts-avg. 4-40 1-31

Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-2

Penalties-yards 2-15 5-37

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Altoona, Stroup 7-52, Dokes 6-26, Yost 5-22, Spriggs 1-9, Steinbugl 10-5. Williamsport, Hennigan 24-119, Harden 2-65, L. Whaley 7-43, Burks 4-32, G. Whaley 1-6, Carter 1-1, Greene 1-0, Marrone 2-(-1), White 1-(-3), Randall 2-(-3), TEAM 2-(-2).

PASSING–Altoona, Steinbugl 6-11-0-45. Williamsport, Marrone 15-17-0-163.

RECEIVING–Altoona, Dokes 4-32, Yost 2-13. Williamsport–Harden 5-54, Robinson 5-49, Greene 4-46, White 1-14.

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