Sabers knock off Lions
Despite only giving up 182 yards of offense, it was Susquehanna’s special teams that stepped up when it counted.
The unit forced two blocks – one on a punt in the end zone, which was recovered for a score and another on an extra-point attempt – that proved to be the difference, as the No. 9 Sabers downed Lackawanna Trail, 14-6, in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division III matchup.
On the opening play of the second quarter with the game scoreless, the Lions (4-4 overall, 0-3 LFC III) failed to convert on a third-and-long from their own 5-yard line.
That’s when defensive end Christian Miller, who had a sack three plays earlier, stepped up.
Miller came off the right edge to block the Lions’ punt. Austin Felter fell on it for the touchdown. The extra point put the Sabers ahead, 7-0.
“We didn’t design it to go for the block,” Miller said. “I just full out blew through the line and had Austin right behind me, and I told him I’d lead the way. We both got it done.
“It raised our adrenaline and got us pumped.”
Lackawanna Trail would respond with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
Facing a third-and-10 deep, quarterback Vic Mallory rolled left, cut back up the middle and dashed into the end zone for a 21-yard score.
The run capped a 14-play, 63-yard drive that took up five and a half minutes of clock.
“Susquehanna had a good front so we threw the ball quite a bit and punched one in right at the end of the half,” Trail head coach Steve Jervis said. “I think we played a really solid game defensively but we couldn’t make a play down the stretch on offense to turn the tide.”
The Sabers, however, would block the extra point attempt to go into halftime leading, 7-6.
“We thought if we could shut them down in the first half and stay in the game, we would have something to work with in the second half,” Susquehanna coach Kyle Cook said. “That’s what we did, and it worked out well.”
After forcing a Lions three-and-out to open the second half, the Sabers (5-3, 3-0) went to the ground game.
Felter got a push from his offensive line and finished an 11-play drive, 70-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
Felter, who ran for 81 yards, had 57 of the drive’s 70 yards.
“The line fired off the ball really hard and overpowered the defense a little,” Felter said. “The holes were there, I just had to do my job.”
Lackawanna Trail would have a chance to tie with 1:04 remaining in the game.
On fourth down from his own 45, Mallory found Jared Phillips, but the Sabers defense stopped him short of the first down marker to preserve the win and extend their winning streak to four.
Sports editor John Lund also contributed information to the story.
Susquehanna 0 7 7 0 – 14
Trail 0 6 0 0 – 6