Lycoming rallies to beat Widener

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Jason Marraccini scores the winning touchdown
Lycoming's Jason Marraccini took a 13-yard draw into the end zone to beat Widener 15-13. The Warriors had trailed 13-2 with 3:03 left with the ball on their own 1-yard line.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3sports.com

Warriors score twice in final 3:03 to win

By Pat Coleman

CHESTER, Pa. -- An overflow crowd at Quick Stadium saw one of the classic comebacks in Division III football history. Trailing 13-2 with 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, Lycoming (6-0) drove 99 yards to cut the lead to 13-8, then recovered an onside kick and scored again with 41 seconds left to win.

Widener, ranked 15th in the nation in one poll, punted from the Lycoming 36 and downed the ball at the 1-yard line. But the Pioneers (6-1) got away from the pressure defense that had hounded Lycoming quarterback Jason Marraccini all afternoon and he went 5-for-8 with 74 yards on the drive to score with 1:05 left.

"We got back on the 1 and they decided not to blitz," said the senior quarterback, who was sacked seven times on the afternoon for a loss of 49 yards. "I could relax a little in the pocket."

Widener coach Bill Zwaan said, "I'll give Lycoming credit. No way I think that they come back for two scores on us in three minutes. Their quarterback did a great job down the stretch."

After the first score, Lycoming tried the onside kick and succeeded, with Bob Miller recovering the ball after it bounced off two Widener return men.

"I knew they were going to have to get the onside kick," said Zwaan. "We practice it. I had confidence. We didn't do it. Then Marraccini makes a big play."

Box Score
Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Lycoming 0 2 0 13 15
Widener 0 7 0 6 13
LC - Safety, bad snap on punt in end zone
WU - Joe Turchi 39 interception return (Jeff Noonan kick)
WU - Trent Everett 55 pass from Mike Granatao (kick fails)
LC - Jason Maskerines 3 pass from Jason Marraccini (pass fails)
LC - Marraccini 13 run (John Shaffer kick)

Passing -- Lycoming: Marraccini 37-18-2, 266 yds, 1 TD. Widener: Granato 34-18-2, 306 yds, 1 TD.

Rushing -- Lycoming: Thompson 13-22; Davis 2-10; Dumas 1-3; Hill 1-1; Marraccini 20-(-38), 1 TD. Widener: Payne 31-62; Granato 5-(-41).

Receiving -- Lycoming: Dumas 7-146; Spang 3-40; Regenski 3-36; Maskervines 3-31, 1 TD; Thompson 1-10; Dauber 1-3. Widener: Everett 6-126, 1 TD; Pena 5-74; Coleman 3-56; Giello 2-33; Payne 1-10; Everett 1-7.

Att.: 5,000.

Marraccini completed a 34-yard pass to junior wideout Tim Dumas to bring the ball to the 13-yard line, then ran it in for the score on the next play to take the lead. Widener could not get a first down, and, out of time, spiked the ball on fourth-and-1 to end the game.

Lost in the defeat was the performance of the Widener defense, which held Lycoming to minus-2 yards on 37 carries. Leading rusher Brian Thompson carried the ball 13 times for 22 yards. It was the fourth time this season Widener has held an opponent to negative rushing yards. And senior defensive lineman Bill Nourse, who was in the Lycoming backfield all day, recorded five sacks to set the school record with 16 on the season and caused a fumble. On the offensive side, Widener quarterback Mike Granato completed 18 of 34 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown.

After a scoreless first quarter, Lycoming got on the board first with a second-quarter safety on a dropped punt snap. Widener drove 75 yards on 17 plays on their next possession, only to come up empty when a Jeff Noonan field goal attempt hit the right upright. But the Pioneers came back when Joe Turchi returned a Marraccini interception 39 yards for the touchdown.

Widener stretched the lead to 13-2 when Granato hit Trent Everett for a 55-yard bomb early in the fourth quarter but could not get on the board again. The loss was similar to the Pioneers' 19-17 loss to Lycoming last October in Williamsport, when Widener fumbled the ball away deep in Warrior territory in the final minute.

That led senior wideout Miguel Pena to shake his head as he came off the field and mumble, "I don't know what it is. I think it's a jinx."

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