BIGLERVILLE — You can count York Tech coach Charlie Troxell among those folks who are not fans of Monday night high school football games.
His personal feelings aside, however, his Spartans didn't seem to mind all that much when they traveled to Adams County to take on Biglerville in a York-Adams League Division III clash on Monday. Originally scheduled for Friday night, the contest between Tech and the Canners was postponed because of the rough weather this past weekend.
While the Spartans didn't quite get off to the start they had hoped for, the visitors found their groove after falling behind early, 12-8. Led by a pair of Smallwoods — quarterback Josiah and running back Tyrese — Troxell's club found a way to get the job done.
Tyrese Smallwood ran for 127 yards, including a pair of long touchdown runs in the second half. Josiah Smallwood threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for another, to power the Spartans to a 44-34 slugfest victory.
"Write me down that I hate Monday night high school football," Troxell said, only half-joking. "If ESPN isn't there, I don't want to be there."
Slow start for Tech: It seemed that the Spartans (3-2 overall, 1-1 in D-III) had that same feeling early on. They got off a slow and rocky start. After a three-and-out to begin the contest, the Spartans fell behind the hosts moments later. The Canners (0-5, 0-2) marched down the field on an eight-play, 54-yard drive, capped by a touchdown toss from quarterback Derek Tosten to receiver Nevada Day.
A block on the point-after attempt seemed to kick the Spartans in gear. It took just one minute for Troxell's club to find the end zone. Josiah Smallwood hooked up on the first of his two touchdown passes on the night to Jordan Ray. This one covered 46 yards to put Tech ahead 8-6 after a two-point conversion.
The Canners, however, had their way with the Tech defense on their second drive, resulting in another score. This one took 13 plays and covered 66 yards. Running back Reggie Adams (23 carries, 178 yards) broke a couple of tackles to reach the end zone from 2 yards out. The two-point play for the home team failed, leaving the score at 12-8 early in the second quarter.
Spartans take charge: From that point on, however, the Spartans took charge.
After Josiah Smallwood connected with Ray for 22 yards to put Tech ahead 16-12 (with another two-point conversion), the visitors took advantage of a Biglerville fumble. They needed just four plays to score again, this one courtesy of running back Isaiah Colon from a yard out. The two-point play, however, failed this time, leaving the score at 22-12.
Tech increased the lead to 18 late in the third quarter when Tyrese Smallwood broke off one of his two big runs on the night. This one went 58 yards and, with the two-point play successful, put the Spartans ahead 30-12.
"Coach told me to look for the cutback lane and be a patient runner," Tyrese Smallwood said. "My favorite running back is Le'Veon Bell, and he's a patient runner."
Troxell certainly appreciates the talent, direction and dedication of Tyrese Smallwood, even if he's not always "normal."
"Tyrese has a lot of talent," Troxell said. "He's a little goofy at times, but, you know, you have to get him under control."
After the Canners cut the lead to 30-20 on a Tosten 51-yard pass to Jadon Stough, the Spartans all but put the game away. Tyrese Smallwood scored moments later on a 60-yard run and, after another Biglerville fumble, Josiah Smallwood converted a fourth-and-goal with a 10-yard run to make it 44-20 midway through the fourth quarter.
Biglerville was able to make things interesting with a pair of scores 90 seconds apart late in the period, but the Spartans were able to run out the clock to go home a winner.
"We came in flat and that's my fault," Troxell said. "I gave them off Saturday and Sunday, so maybe that was part of the problem. Now we did have four good days of practice last week, so I figured I give them a day off. And to bring our kids (in for practice) from all different parts of the county, it just wasn't worth it."
Bermudian next: The other downside of playing on a Monday is that it leaves one less day to get ready for this weekend's contest with a Bermudian Springs. Facing a team of that caliber on a short week is typically not a recipe for success.
"That's going to be a big challenge for us," Troxell said.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.