BAKER'S SPORTS PEN: STATS DON'T ALWAYS TELL THE FULL STORY ... AND MORE
“Alex, I’ll have upside-down stats for 100 please.”
Team A outgains Team B, 272-261, in total yards.
Teams A runs more total plays than Team B by a margin of 68-42 with a 41-15 upper-hand in the opening two quarters.
Team A nets 19 first downs to Team B’s 9, including a 14-2 advantage in the first half.
The time of possession heavily favors Team A.
However, Team A doesn’t have Zach Miller on its roster.
Teams A loses the game 35-18.
That was the scenario that played out Friday in Troy when the host Trojans dropped their District Four, Class AA semi-final round game to the South Williamsport Mountaineers.
Troy played well enough to win, but couldn’t come up with the victory – sometimes stats don’t tell the entire story.
Miller was a one-man demolition crew as he wrecked the Trojans to the tune of 242 yards and four touchdowns. South hit often and quickly when it had the ball; Troy was more methodical and time consuming.
The Trojans watched Miller produce scoring runs of 79, 47, 11 and 3 yards. His longest touchdown was just the Mounties’ fifth play from scrimmage midway through the first quarter. Clayton Swarthout also scampered 77 yards with a kickoff return for a score.
Following the first of two Caleb Binford touchdowns for the Trojans, Swarthout produced his big play – one of many that came back to haunt the Trojans on the night before Halloween.
Grant Bachman’s interception in the end zone prevented Troy from taking what could have been a possible 10-point advantage just before halftime. The Trojans never saw the end zone again the rest of the night.
Following back-to-back scores from Miller in the third period, Binford had a 43-yard punt return for a touchdown erased on a penalty and a 25-yard field goal travel wide. What could have been a tie on the scoreboard remained a 10-point deficit.
South Williamsport (5-1) travels to Catawissa to take on 8-0 Southern Columbia in a Friday night matchup.
It was déjà vu all over again for the Canton Warriors as they lost 21-16 to the Muncy Indians – at home – for the third straight season in the Class A championship game. These two teams have matched wits in some classic title battles and this year’s was no different.
Time of possession was less than a minute in Muncy’s favor. Muncy ran one more play – 67-66. Muncy had 15 first downs to Canton’s 14.
Muncy netted just 20 more yards rushing – 247-227 – it was that even a contest. Muncy had been allowing only 85 total yards per game.
The trio of Eyer, Eyer and Gush was the thorn in the Warrior effort. Branson Eyer netted 106 yards on the ground, including a 78-yard scoring scamper. His cousin Ross Eyer delivered what would be the game-winner with his 41-yard “pick six” late in the third period. He added a second theft to seal the victory.
Ethan Gush pounded his way to 108 yards as Muncy played “keep away” from the Canton offense.
Canton was without its top ground-gainer for the season in Riley Parker, but Hayden Ward stepped up and delivered 91 yards rushing.
Weston Bellows with a drive-ending interception to set up the Warriors for their 80-yard, 12-play march to the end zone – giving them their 8-7 halftime lead.
The play of the game probably occurred when the Muncy defense came up with a big stop during a fourth-and-one play on its own 7-yard line early in the fourth period – turning back a potential game-winning touchdown. Canton didn’t see the ball for another four-plus minutes.
Muncy (7-1) returns to action Saturday afternoon at District 3 champion Steelton-Highspire in the PIAA tournament. Steelton (6-0) defeated Delone Catholic 23-13 in the D-3 title game.
When it rained, it really poured on the Athens Wildcats in their 43-0 defeat to Danville in the Class AAA semifinals.
After allowing a long touchdown pass to Danville on the opening play from scrimmage, the Wildcats fumbled away the football on their ensuing play leading to a field goal by the Ironmen. Danville built up a 37-0 halftime advantage.
K.J. Riley threw for five touchdown passes and 219 yards in the opening two quarters for Danville.
The Ironmen (7-1) meet top-seeded Montoursville for the championship. Montoursville (7-0), playing for its third straight district title, defeated Loyalsock 57-28.
In the Class AAAA semi-finals games, Jersey Shore (7-0) was a 48-7 winner over Mifflinburg, and Shamokin (5-3) took a 15-0 decision from Selinsgrove. That championship game is Friday evening.
Northern Tier League leading rushers:
Zach Miller, South Williamsport (943 yards); Kaide Drick, Montgomery (865); Ty Nixon, Muncy (761); Caleb Binford, Troy (756); Damien Landon, Troy (695).
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