WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Senior Josh Kleinfelter (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) continued to place himself among the nation's elite, as the running back rolled up his second 200-yard game of the season, racing for 216 yards and two touchdowns to help the Lycoming College football team win its Middle Atlantic Conference opener, 31-24, over King's on Saturday at David Person Field.
Kleinfelter led the Warriors (3-1 overall, 1-0 MAC), as he bolted for 130 yards and one of his touchdowns in the second half while the Warriors rolled for a season-high 489 yards of offense. In the process, Kleinfelter became the second back in Lycoming's history to reach 3,000 career yards and he moved to 105 yards of Brian Thompson's school record of 3,267 yards set from 1995-98.
"Nobody can go 200 yards a clip on his own," Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. "No one. It just can't happen, so the offensive line did a good job (Saturday)."
King's head coach Jeff Knarr added, "The control of this game boils down to running the ball and stopping the run. Their offense really wore us down a little bit and we didn't do well on third-down."
Meanwhile, sophomore quarterback Zach Klinger (Halifax, Pa./Halifax) provided a welcome compliment, tossing for a career-high 230 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-22 passing. Senior Ryan Wagaman (Aspers, Pa./Biglerville) caught five passes for 110 yards, marking the third straight time the wideout surpassed 100 yards against the Monarchs (0-4 overall, 0-0 MAC).
The Monarchs drew first blood with a 37-yard field goal from Ryan Cain with 1:55 left in the first quarter, as the Warriors turned the ball over each of their first two drives on interceptions, with the second setting up the field goal.
However, a 14-play, 52-yard drive ended in a 35-yard field goal from senior T.J. Chiarolanza (Warminster, Pa./William Tenant), starting a 31-10 run by Lycoming that put it firmly in control of the game.
A three-and-out King's drive helped the Warriors get the ball back at the 24-yard, and the Warriors ran 11 plays en route to the touchdown on a three-yard run by Kleinfelter. Kleinfelter ran the ball eight times during the drive, accounting for 61 of the 76 yards before crossing the goalline with 4:50 left in the half.
The teams headed into the locker room with the score 10-3 after both teams traded a possession to head into halftime.
"We moved the ball in the first half, but we were just sloppy and uncharacteristically for us, we turned the ball over," Clark said. "Defensively, we did a great job in the half. Offensively, you cannot give the ball away and we did."
The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, forcing a three-and-out after the kickoff before Kleinfelter rushed for a season-long 54 yards on his first touch of the half, racing to the King's 20 yards. After two rushes yielded eight more yards for the back, Klinger rolled to his right and found senior Michael Reese (Shenandoah, Pa./Shenandoah) for a touchdown.
"At halftime, we came in and fixed a couple mistakes that occurred in the first half," Kleinfelter said. "We came out and we were able to drive the ball. Anytime you get into a rhythm, it eats up the clock and it give you confidence to punch it in."
King's aided by a 37-yard kickoff return from Eric Ofcharsky, got three points back on a 27-yard field goal from Cain, cutting Lycoming's lead to 17-6. However, the Warriors once again struck quickly, with Klinger finding Wagaman for a 41-yard reception on the first play of the ensuing drive. Three plays later, Klinger his junior fullback Phil Peterson (Villas, N.J./Lower Cape May Regional) on a slant and Peterson rolled in for the touchdown.
The Monarchs answered back, as Ofcharsky capped a drive with an almost alley-oop like pass to John Cuiffo for touchdown to make it 24-13. Once again, though, a big play started the next Warrior drive, as Klinger found Wagaman for a 34-yard reception, bringing the ball to the King's 46. Kleinfelter took the ball the last 46 yards over the next five plays, sprawling into the end zone with 51 seconds left in the half, giving Lycoming a 31-13 lead.
King's fought back in the fourth quarter, with Cain hitting a 40-yard field goal with 9:39 left and a touchdown run from Ofcharsky with 44 seconds left before a two-point conversion cut the Warriors lead to seven points, but the Warriors covered up both on-side kick tries in the quarter, with senior Mark Ryan (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) falling on the final one to seal the 34-24 win.
Peterson caught three passes for 25 yards and a touchdown and senior Josh Dixon (Fleetville, Pa./Lackawanna Trail) added two catches for 46 yards. Freshman Warren Oliver (Beverly, N.J./Palmyra) added two catches for 26 yards for the Warriros.
Junior Chris Kish (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) led the Warriors' defense with 11 tackles, 0.5 for loss and an interception. Junior Ray Bierbach (Hunlock Creek, Pa./Northwest Area) added eight tackles and an interception while both sophomore Ryan Fenningham (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) and sophomore Corey Schuster (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) added seven tackles, with Schuster making two for a loss. Sophomore Nate Oropollo (Aldan, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) added two breakups and sophomore Diallan Rudloff (Athens, Pa./Athens) added 1.5 tackles for loss.
Corey Lavin set a Monarchs' record for most pass attempts in a game, finishing 24-of-46 for 304 yards, tossing two interceptions. David Abdalla led the receiving crew with six receptions for 108 yards and Jay Torres added five catches for 76 yards. Ofcharsky finished with 24 yards on 16 rushes, although with a kickoff return and five catches, he finished with 105 total yards.
Ryan Kelly made 17 tackles, including a sack to lead the King's defense. James McHugh and Edwyn Edwards each made eight tackles and McHugh and Andrew Yablonsky each picked passes. Matt Henry also recovered a fumble, as the Warriors lost the turnover battle, 3-2, for the first time this season.
After three games in the friendly confines, the Warriors hit the road next weekend to face 2009 NCAA Division III quarterfinalists Albright in a critical MAC contest at 1 p.m.