Dallastown earns late victory vs. Northeastern
Having just taken the lead late in the game Friday, Oct. 6, the Dallastown football linemen couldn’t help but find each other on the sidelines and hug it out.
Those embraces were just as likely about relief as they were celebration, as the unit had spent the majority of the game trying to overcome missed opportunities.
Behind a dominant effort in the trenches and another big performance from standout running back Nyzair Smith, the Wildcats collected a key 21-14 victory against Northeastern.
The win moves Dallastown’s record to 4-2 on the year; but more importantly, it keeps hope of a York-Adams League Division I title alive by moving the Wildcats divisional record to 2-1.
Northeastern falls to 3-3 on the year and 0-3 in the division.
The stout effort up front enabled Smith to avoid the Bobcats’ first line of defense numerous times on his way to racking up 212 yards on 28 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
“They’re a great group,” Dallastown head coach Kevin Myers said of his linemen. “Northeastern was switching, they go small, quick guys and then they go big, heavy guys and that’s tough for an offensive line.
“They did a heck of job tonight and they got adjusted in the second half and you saw we started getting four, five, six yards a carry. And they are big boys up front and they are well conditioned. …Those guys have been together for a long time, through youth football all the way up to high school. So they know each other and they trust one another. Give the boys up front credit.”
With the score knotted at 14-14 and 2:54 left to play, a persistent push up front helped the Wildcats push the ball 55 yards for the final score with 1:14 left go. Smith capped a drive that saw Dallastown run six straight rushing plays with a three-yard touchdown.
Many of those same linemen then flipped sides and helped the Wildcats seal the victory by forcing a turnover on downs in 30 seconds of clock elapsed.
From there, it was victory formations for Dallastown and two kneel downs later the triumph was in hand.
It would have been easy for the Wildcats to give in to frustrations, as multiple drives throughout the middle parts of the game saw Dallastown go deep into Bobcats territory before turning the ball over in some fashion.
Perhaps the most unnerving missed chance saw Dallastown fumble the ball away at the Bobcats 3-yard line midway through the second quarter. The Wildcats had just driven the ball 74 yards on 11 plays, with Smith’s shifty moves accounting for 39 of those of those yards.
The teams would trade possessions from there and Northeastern took a 14-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Wildcats got the ball to start the second half and got a solid return, leaving them 58 yards away from the tying score. But five plays later, Dallastown quarterback Brett Smith rolled out to his left on an option run. His pitch sailed over Smith’s head and the Bobcats were able to recover the ball near midfield.
Northeastern nearly took advantage, driving all the way down to the Wildcats 6-yard line, setting up a first-and-goal scenario. Two plays later, the Bobcats had it on Dallastown’s 1-yard line, but a false start penalty moved them back five yards.
The Wildcats defense limited the ensuing run to a one-yard gain. Northeastern was then flagged for an illegal substitution before they could attempt a field goal that would have pushed its lead to 10 points.
The Bobcats botched the snapped on their next attempt and the Wildcats defense stuffed holder Fred Mulbah’s attempt to make something of it; giving Dallastown the ball back at their own 9-yard line.
“Defense was huge. They gave up seven points to a team that put up 35, 40 last week,” Myers said. “Defense was huge, the way we hit, the way we tackled was much better, much better than it’s been.”
That’s when the Dallastown offensive line did its thing.
The Wildcats drove the ball 91 yards on 16 plays, culminating with Ben Ward’s 9-yard touchdown run on well-executed counter play to even the score at 14-14 with 11:54 remaining in the game.
The frustrations began to mount on the very first play of the game as Northeastern’s Taemar Willis took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bobcats a 7-0 lead a mere 15 seconds in.
However, as they would do all night, the Wildcats refused to get down and stuck to what worked best --- pounding the ball into the heart of the Northeastern defense.
On Dallastown’s third play from scrimmage, Smith answered the Bobcats' first strike with a solid counter punch by taking the ball 79 yards to even the score one minute later.
The Bobcats made it look as though everyone in attendance was going to witness a highly-offensive affair seven plays later when Kyle Williams rumbled in from six yards out to put the Bobcats back on top at 14-7 with 7:36 left in the first quarter.
Williams finished with 20 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Willis carried the ball six times for 46 yards.
Ward picked up 36 yards on five carries and found the end zone once for Dallastown.
Next up for the Wildcats is a Week 7 road contest against South Western on Oct. 13. The Bobcats will look to rebound with a home tilt versus York High on the same night.
Northeastern 14 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 14
Dallastown 7 – 0 – 0 – 14 = 21
NE – Willis 95 kick return (McCurdy kick), 11:45
DT – Smith 79 run (Groh kick), 10:45
NE – Williams 6 run (McCurdy kick), 7:36
DT – Ward 9 run (Groh kick), 11:54
DT – Smith 3 run (Groh kick), 1:14
First downs: NE, 10; DT, 23
Rushes-Yards: NE, 35-167; DT, 57-356
Passing yards: NE, 4; DT, 27
Completions-Attempts-INTs: NE, 3-7-1; DT, 5-8-0
Penalties-Yards: NE, 2-10; DT, 4-30
Punts-Average: NE, 4-33.5; DT, 1-53
Fumbles-Lost: NE, 0-0; DT, 4-2
Rushing: NE, Mulbah 5-17, Sanderson 4-5, Williams 20-99, Willis 6-46; DT, B.Smith 8-40, Ward 5-36, Strine 3-11, Teyral 10-43, Cook 3-14, N.Smith 28-212.
Passing: NE, Sanderson 3-7-7-0TD-INT; DT, B.Smith 5-8-27-0TD-0INT
Receiving: NE, Hughes 2-4, Lagana 1-3; DT, Downey 2-5, Teyral 1-10, Reyes 1-6, N.Smith 1-6.