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Muncy’s Running Backs Deliver In Sayre Win

Written by: on Sunday, September 10th, 2023. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


MUNCY – Muncy is a battle-tested program, having played in numerous big games over the past several years, including the last five consecutive District 4 Class A championship games. More recently, the Indians have also dealt with a few game delay situations in recent years.

By contrast, Sayre did not even have a varsity team last year, as the Redskins played solely a JV schedule a year ago. As a result, only six players on its varsity roster this year had ever played a varsity snap prior to this season.

The difference in experience, both as it relates to game action on the field and dealing with delay situations, was evident from the start on Saturday night. After the game was delayed nearly two hours by persistent thunderstorms in the area, and another 30 minutes after both teams had played about half of the first quarter, Muncy had no problem with the Redskins as the Indians compiled 367 rushing yards en route to an easy 49-0 win over Sayre.

“Unfortunately, the last couple of years, we’ve had a lot of practice in games like this (with delays), but it’s a testament to our kids,” said Muncy coach Sean Tetrault. “They stayed ready in the locker room, they were ready to go and did a great job responding to the delays.”

While Muncy had dealt with weather-delay situations in recent seasons, the delay appeared to throw off Sayre’s inexperienced team a bit.

“Definitely, the delay to start the game really hurt. We were out here, warmed up, getting ready to go, all those emotions, and then it shuts down for about an hour-and-a-half,” said Sayre coach Ricky Lindblad. “Then we came out, got shut down again for a half hour, so that really played with the kids’ emotions and things like that. Just trying to keep them locked in and trying to keep them focused and ready to go.”

After the kickoff was delayed nearly two hours by thunderstorms, including once when both teams were taking the field only to see lightning in the sky and turn right around to go back into the locker rooms, Muncy scored on its first two possessions of the game.

Jacob Fowler capped an eight-play drive on Muncy’s first drive with a five-yard touchdown run, and then Landyn Wommer ripped off a 49-yard touchdown run on the first play of Muncy’s next possession to make it 14-0.

After that, another lighting strike during Sayre’s ensuing possession led to another 30-minute delay, but thankfully, that was the extent of the lighting for the evening, and the rain even let up for the most part once the game restarted.

The restart was much like the actual start of the game in that Muncy scored twice in a short time frame. After the teams traded turnovers, Stiles Eyer hit Nathan Rogers for a 60-yard touchdown reception down the left sideline to make it 22-0 near the end of the first quarter, and then Austin Johnson had a 24-yard touchdown run to cap another short drive, this one three plays, to give the Indians a 28-0 lead just seconds into the second quarter.

Johnson added his second touchdown run from 27 yards out just before the half to cap a nine-play, 66-yard drive and give the Indians a 36-0 lead at the break. He had 113 yards rushing on 11 carries for night to go with his two touchdowns.

“Muncy is pretty deep. You look across the sidelines, you see they have numbers and experience. They’ve had a JV program for a while, so that’s been huge for them having the numbers and getting that experience and that’s something we’re going to continue to do, try
to build our numbers and build that experience and continue to build the program,” said Lindblad.

With the time being about 10:30 and the clock set to run for the second half anyway due to the mercy rule, both teams agreed to play just eight-minute quarters for the second half.

After Sayre punted following its first drive of the second half, the Indians notched their third single-play scoring drive of the night when Wommer got loose for a 66-yard touchdown run to extend Muncy’s lead to 42-0 at the 5:18 mark of the third. That was Wommer’s final carry of the night, and the junior back finished the night with 169 yards on just six carries and the two scores.

Muncy’s success on the ground came after a close loss to Wellsboro last week, which followed a hard fought win over Warrior Run in Week 1 that was costly, as multiple offensive linemen went down with season-ending injuries, forcing Muncy to shuffle around some personnel.

“Last week, they got their feet wet, this week they’re gaining a little more confidence and we’re hoping every week, they get a little bit better,” said Tetrault. “Our goal is to have them ready to play and it was great to see them take a step in the right direction this week. All the guys in the backfield give us a lot of different directions and that can overcome some of the inexperience on the line by using those guys in different way and it was great to see them all run the ball very hard tonight.”

Backup quarterback Bryson Barrows tacked on Muncy’s final touchdown with a five-yard run in the fourth quarter.

While Muncy’s offense had no problem moving the ball at will, Sayre struggled, managing just 78 yards. The Redskins were without their starting quarterback, Tanner Green, who was injured last week. In his place, the Redskins turned to Nicholas Pellicano, normally a receiver, and that in place took out one of Sayre’s top receivers from the passing game.

The Redskins managed just six first downs in the game, and Pellicano completed just two passes. Sayre’s best scoring chance came in the fourth quarter when they got a 42-yard kickoff return by Kaden Bennett following Muncy’s last touchdown of the game. That return set up the Redskins at the Muncy 23, but Sayre was only able to gain three yards and turned it over on downs.

“We just put this defense in last week, so we worked some kinks out last week. This week, our kids took the onus on it, believed in the system and played hard, and it was great to see it all come together,” said Tetrault.

Sayre also managed to advance the ball into Muncy territory just before the half, picking up three first downs and advancing it to the Muncy 35. But Pellicano had his pass picked off at the Muncy 10 with :12 left in the half to stop that drive.

“The result isn’t what the coaches or the kids like but every game is a positive in that it’s a learning experience and an opportunity for these kids,” said Lindblad. “We had six kids starting the season that had varsity football experience on the field before. Not having a varsity team last year obviously hurt, so each game is a learning experience for these guys. Hopefully, we can continue to grow. The scoreboard doesn’t show it, but every one of the kids we had out there were pushing themselves.”

Muncy 49, Sayre 0
Sayre (0-3) 0 0 0 0 – 0
Muncy (2-1) 22 14 6 7 – 49

First quarter
9:16 – (M) Jacob Fowler 5-yard run (run failed), 8-59, 2:44
7:20 – (M) Landyn Wommer 49-yard run (Johnson run), 1-49, :12
1:38 – (M) Nathan Rogers 60-yard pass from Stiles Eyer (Johnson run), 1-60, :11

Second quarter
11:52 – (M) Austin Johnson 24-yard run (kick failed), 3-55, :41
2:21 – (M) Austin Johnson 27-yard run (Johnson run), 9-66, 3:57

Third quarter
5:18 – (M) Landyn Wommer 66-yard run (kick blocked), 1-66, :23

Fourth quarter
6:17 – (M) Bryson Barrows 5-yard run (McCahan kick), 7-33, 4:34



First downs 6 15
Rushes-net yards 35-51 34-367
Passing yardage 27 73
Passing 2-11-0-2 3-3-1-0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 1-5 4-35


RUSHING: Sayre: Kaden Bennett (17-19), Nicholas Pellicano (9-(-1)), Jamier Kole (8-37), Jordan Brown (1-(-4)); Muncy: Austin Johnson (11-113-2), Landyn Wommer (6-169-2), Jacob Fowler (3-31-1), Dominic Guardini (3-25), Bryson Barrows (3-14-1), Jaxson Thomas (2-9), Vincenzo Finochiaro (2-4), Drew Ryder (2-1), Wesley Somits (1-1), Stiles Eyer (1-0)

PASSING: Sayre: Nicholas Pellicano (2-11-27-0-2); Muncy: Stiles Eyer (3-3-73-1-0)

RECEIVING: Sayre: Kaden Bennett (2-27); Muncy: Nathan Rogers (1-60-1), Gavin Barrows (1-9), Paxton Derr (1-4)

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