HOLLIDAYSBURG — If you missed the first half of Friday’s Inter-County Conference matchup between West Branch and Williamsburg, you missed a lot.
The Warriors had an unplanned onside kick to start the game, but as the story has gone for them this season, they failed to convert on it.
That set up Williamsburg to go on an early 24-0 outburst as the Blue Pirates pummeled West Branch, 38-12, Friday night at Hollidaysburg’s Tiger Stadium.
“That’s a big break early in a big game, and (we) didn’t capitalize,” West Branch coach Kevin Hubler said of the early unplanned trick play. “That’s what it came down to. We were very evenly matched and as the game went on, I think people saw that. It was our job to bring them down to earth, and we did the exact opposite.”
The Warriors failure to convert set the Pirates up for a near 5-minute drive, capped off by a touchdown from Andrew McMonagle to make it 8-0 Williamsburg.
The Blue Pirate defense also created trouble for West Branch protecting the ball as coming off a fumble Lambert Palmer found Jahmarea Wansley from 29 yards out to make it 16-0 for the home team.
Williamsburg later followed that up with a three-and-out and that’s when Tyler Clark on a 6-yard draw capped off the early outburst early on in the second quarter.
“Obviously not what you want to see on the opening kickoff, turning it over right away, but we settled in, made some big plays. “Williamsburg coach Ryan Hileman said. “We were able to get the turnover, hit the touchdown right away, and took the momentum after that.”
West Branch for a moment looked like they may have found themselves as on the ensuing kickoff Will Herring took the ball back 80-yards to get the Warriors on the board, but they couldn’t get any closer than 18-points.
“We got to make plays when they present themselves,” Hubler said. “We just don’t capitalize on our opportunities.”
The game was moved in order to accommodate more fans in the stands (1,500) versus what the Blue Pirates could host at home (300) under the current crowd restrictions.
Hubler was appreciative of Hollidaysburg hosting the game and allowing more of the Warrior faithful to see their team in person and to Williamsburg for having the idea.
“A big thanks to (Coach and Athletic Director Homer) DeLattre at Hollidaysburg letting us use their facilities,” he said. “Great job by Williamsburg, it was their home game to bring it down here. Beautiful field, beautiful complex. I wish we played on this stuff every game.”
The Warriors may not be heading to the postseason, but thanks to a new rule allowing teams to play up to 10 games after they are eliminated from playoff contention, Hubler and the Warriors plan to take advantage of the opportunity to play on.
“It’s only fair to our guys,” he said. “It’s not their fault that the PIAA decided to bump the playoffs up. We want to play football; we want to play all 10 games.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
West Branch 0 12 0 0 – 12
Williamsburg 16 14 0 8 – 38
W – McMonagle 21 run (Clark run), 4:02.
W – Wansley 29 pass from Palmer (Clark run), :51.
W – Clark 6 run (McCall run), 9:52.
WB – Herring 80 kickoff return (kick failed), 9:40.
W – Clark 21 run (pass failed), 7:17.
WB – Croyle 11 pass from Biggans (pass failed), 3:08.
W – Wansley 1 run (Wansley run), 6:00.
First downs 11 15
Total yards 144 376
Rushes-yards 37-85 35-217
Yards passing 59 159
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 5-17-0 9-19-1
Punts-avg. 2-32.5 0-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 3-25 4-40
West Branch—Herring 13-66, Biggans 18-16, Johnson 1-(-3), Pase 2-1, Browne 2-10, Schwiderske 1-2, Team 1-(-7).
Williamsburg—Clark 12-75, McMonagle 4-40, McCall 5-10, Wansley 5-34, Palmer 6-23, England 1-29, Hughes 1-4, Brantner 1-2.
West Branch—Biggans 5-17-0-59.
Williamsburg—Palmer 9-18-1-159. Wansley 0-1-0-0.
West Branch—Liptak 1-8, Hoffner 1-13, Croyle 2-20, Graham 1-18.
Williamsburg—McCall 5-86, Wansley 3-68, McMonagle 1-5.