Lewisburg over Milton
by Matt Beltz
MILTON – Last week, Milton ran for 371 yards as it rallied back from a deficit to top North Penn while Lewisburg struggled on offense in a 21-7 loss to Mount Carmel that left Green Dragon coach Michael Ferriero questioning his team’s overall toughness.
What a difference a week can make?
Milton was held to just 171 rushing yards by Lewisburg, 89 of which came in the fourth quarter after Lewisburg had already scored all of its points in the game, and the Green Dragons got five overall touchdowns – four throwing and one rushing – from quarterback Trent Gower and the defense pitched a shutout in a 33-0 win over Milton.
“The kids rose to the challenge to be able to come out here and beat a Milton team that was coming off a big win last week over North Penn,” said Lewisburg coach Michael Ferriero. “Coach Goodwin had them fired up so to come out and win 33-0, the credit goes to our kids for answering the challenge with toughness.”
By Ferriero’s own admission, Lewisburg has had some trouble against bigger backs and that was certainly the case with Mount Carmel’s Kyle Karyicki last week. With another big back leading the way for Milton this week, Lewisburg rose to the challenge as Brandon Stokes was held to just 76 hard-earned yards. Stokes, who entered the game with 539 rushing yards in his first three games, averaged just 3.8 yards per carry on 20 carries.
Raff Rodriguez was held to just 26 yards on eight carries a week after rushing for 171 as Milton struggled to find the same type of space that made it successful on the ground last week. Rodriguez, whose strength is as an outside runner while Strokes gets most of his yards on the inside, was not able to turn the corner anywhere near as successful as he did in last week’s effort. Prior to the fourth quarter when Lance Fogelman (five carries, 44 yards) ripped off a 28-yard run and an 11-yard run, Milton’s longest running play went for just seven yards.
“We had no answer for their quickness,” said Milton coach George Goodwin. “They out-quicked us and I don’t think we played our game tonight. We couldn’t match up with their team speed and we made mental errors all night and against a good team you can’t afford to do that. We couldn’t get anything going outside and again, that’s their team speed. We had no matchups.”
“Our game plan going in was to contain (their running game) and force everything back inside where we have 11 hats and also try to keep Stokes contained on those dives,” said Ferriero. “The defense executed the game plan the way we wanted to and everyone was flying at the ball.”
Milton turned the ball over three times, but none were bigger than a muffed punt just over midway through the first quarter. After Milton had punted on its first possession and pinned Lewisburg at its own 20, the Black Panthers forced a Green Dragon punt but Rodriguez muffed it and Lewisburg took over at the Milton 22. After a pass interference penalty, Lewisburg needed just three plays to take the lead on a three-yard pass from Gower to Spencer Barlett.
“It went downhill from there (the muffed punt),” said Goodwin. “It took us out of our game plan, they had a short field, got a quick six and it changed the momentum.”
Lewisburg then forced a three-and-out by Milton and got a nice 15-yard punt return from Noah Inch to set it up at midfield and then on just the third play from scrimmage, Gower hit Inch from 44-yards for a score to make it 14-0.
Milton’s next possession produced a first down but stalled at its own 37 and this time, Inch returned the punt 35 yards to set up the Green Dragons at the Milton 33, where this time they needed just four plays to score on Gower’s 24-yard pass to Matt Fedorjaka.
On Lewisburg’s next possession, which came after Fedorjaka picked off Hunter Snyder at the Milton 49, Gower capped the drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak to put the Green Dragons up 26-0. Lewisburg then finished the scoring midway through the third quarter as Gower found James Richard from five yards out. A big 48-yard completion to Inch on the first play from scrimmage of the drive flipped field position after Lewisburg had started at its own 34 following a penalty on the punt return.
Along with Milton’s three turnovers compared to none for Lewisburg, starting field position played a big role in the game as the teams were separated by just 14 yards of total offense – 237 for Lewisburg and 223 for Milton. But Lewisburg’s average starting field position was its own 46-yard line, which included four of nine possessions that it started at the 50 or beyond, not including a final kneel-down to end the first half. Milton’s average starting field position was its own 26 and only once did it start past its own 30 – and even that was only at its own 37. In addition to the three turnovers that contributed to that disparity in average starting field position, Inch had a good game on special teams as he compiled 85 punt return yards to add to his 105 receiving yards and touchdown catch.
Even though Ferriero wanted to get the running game going a little more, the Green Dragons were held to just 61 yards on the ground but played without starting running back Dominic Farronato. Injured last week against Mount Carmel, Farronato attempted to play but exited after only a couple of plays. Even though the running game didn’t produce a whole lot, Ferriero was still pleased with the effort behind A.J. Ramirez and Spencer Barlett.
“We were able to hit on some big plays (in the passing game) but the holes were there and we hit them,” said Ferriero. “We’re trying to find that right combination with which running backs to go with. With Dominic out, it makes it a little more difficult but Spencer and A.J. stepped up and gave us what we needed so we’re grinding it out and I’d like to see more big plays (on the ground) but I’ll take (what we got tonight).”
Lewisburg 33, Milton 0
Lewisburg (3-1) 14 12 7 0 – 33
Milton (1-3) 0 0 0 0 – 0
3:53 – (L) Spencer Barlett 3-yard pass from Trent Gower (Nate Liscum kick), 4-22, 1:22
1:33 – (L) Noah Inch 44-yard pass from Trent Gower (Nate Liscum kick), 3-50, 1:22
8:24 – (L) Matt Fedorjaka 24-yard pass from Trent Gower (kick failed), 4-33, 1:37
5:00 – (L) Trent Gower 1-yard run (kick failed), 6-49, 2:09
6:36 – (L) James Richard 5-yard pass from Trent Gower (Nate Liscum kick), 5-66, 1:51
First downs 16 15
Rushes-net yards 28-61 48-171
Passing yardage 176 52
Passing 9-13-4-0 6-16-0-2
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-57 6-57
RUSHING — Lewisburg: A.J. Ramirez (11-37), Trent Gower (7-19-1), Spencer Barlett (4-14), Sean Lewis (3-(-12)), Benjamin Higgins (2-3), TEAM (1-0); Milton: Brandon Stokes (20-76), Raff Rodriguez (8-26), Lance Fogelman (5-44), Eric Wilt (5-25), Micheal Young (3-7), Quaylin Rice (2-11), Hunter Snyder (2-(-11)), Philip Davis (1-2), Michael Cooper (1-1), TEAM (1-(-10))
PASSING — Lewisburg: Trent Gower (9-13-176-4-0); Milton: Hunter Snyder (5-12-39-0-1), Philip Davis (1-4-13-0-1)
RECEIVING — Lewisburg: Noah Inch (3-105-1), Matt Fedorjaka (3-58-1), James Richard (1-5-1), Donte Malone (1-5), Spencer Barlett (1-3-1); Milton: Brandon Stokes (2-14), Alex Garcia (1-14), Eric Wilt (1-13), Mason Whitmyer (1-6), Lance Fogelman (1-5)
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