MILTON — With a four-point lead heading into the second half, Milton caught a big break when Loyalsock fumbled the kickoff return to start the third quarter and handed the ball right back.
Instead of riding the momentum and charging straight down the field to put more points on the board, the Black Panthers’ offense faltered at the wrong time.
It was the story of the game for Milton, as well as its season so far.
Loyalsock would turn Milton away in that opening drive, and the Lancers dominated the possession of the game in the second half en route to scoring four touchdowns to pull away for a 30-7 Heartland Athletic Conference Division II victory at Alumni Field on homecoming night.
“We had how many turnovers? We just killed ourselves,” said Milton coach Phil Davis. “We could never get our defense off the field, and our offense did absolutely nothing in the second half.
“Loyalsock totally dominated us. We couldn’t do anything,” added Davis.
Milton (1-7 overall) got its touchdown to start the second quarter when Jason Valladares completed a 12-play drive by carrying the ball for a four-yard score with 11:09 remaining until the half.
“That was probably the only drive that we controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game,” said Davis. “Obviously, we controlled it and drove down the field. We had a lot of positive things that took place (in the drive) — and we scored.
“Unfortunately, that was the only (touchdown) of the game. You can’t beat a good team like (Loyalsock) scoring seven points. You have to capitalize more, and we just didn’t,” Davis added.
In the second half, Loyalsock (4-4) scored on its first actual possession when the Lancers went almost the length of the field in 14 plays and almost 5 minutes before getting a 20-yard touchdown pass from Chase Cavanaugh to Gerald Ross to take a 10-7 lead.
Then, a costly interception thrown by Philip Davis — one of three that he threw in the game — handed the ball right back to the Lancers.
Loyalsock would waste little time in scoring again when it put together a 10-play drive that culminated with a two-yard touchdown run by Nick Barone that gave the Lancers a 17-7 lead.
After that score, three more 4-and-out series followed for Milton, including two more that ended on an interception, to put the Black Panthers in an even bigger hole.
The play of Loyalsock’s defensive linemen — and the way they dominated Milton’s offensive front five — ultimately had a lot to do with the outcome of the game.
“Certainly, their front four controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. We couldn’t really do much of anything, and a lot of credit certainly goes to Loyalsock. They ran to the ball really well, and we just made some bad decisions — we shouldn’t have thrown the ball a few times when we did, and we underthrew some things.
“We certainly have a lot to build on, but we have a lot to work on, too,” added Davis.
Loyalsock later put the game away in the fourth quarter behind a three-yard touchdown run by Barone plus a seven-yard scoring run by Aidan Gair.
Now with just two games remaining in the regular season — at South Williamsport next week and then home with Shikellamy — coach Davis is looking for something positive from his players to come out of those two games.
“Obviously, we have to work on doing something positive on the offensive side of the ball. Our defense played outstanding — they were on the field the entire game and they created a ton of turnovers in the first half, but we just didn’t get any aside from one,” said coach Davis.
“We’re going to continue to work on that, and we got to clean things up offensively. We got to stop turning the football over all of the time, and we got to score. You can’t beat anybody scoring seven points, so we have a lot to work on in a short amount of time.”
Loyalsock 30, Milton 7
Loyalsock (4-4) 3 0 14 13 — 30
Milton (1-7) 0 7 0 0 — 7
Loy - Quinn Deitrick 21 FG, 3:25.
Milt - Jason Valladares 4 run (Zach Burkhart kick), 11:09.
Loy - Gerald Ross 20 pass from Chase Cavanaugh (Deitrick kick), 5:41.
Loy - Nick Barone 2 run (Deitrick kick), :24.5.
Loy - Barone 3 run (kick blocked), 4:42.
Loy - Aidan Gair 7 run (Deitrick kick), 2:14.
First downs 18 8
Rushes-yards 45-122 19-44
Passing-yards 175 100
Passing-att. 14-24-1 14-30-3
Fumbles-lost 5-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 9-66 3-25
Rushing: Loyalsock: Cavanaugh, 16-55; Barone, 13-23, 2 TDs; Korie Mayer, 5-8; Micai Henriquez, 4-16; Aidan Gair, 3-25, TD; Simone Mileto, 3-(-2); Quincey Myers, 1-(-3). Milton: Valladares, 10-59, TD; Qamar Bradley, 5-(-5); Mason Edison, 1-1; Philip Davis, 2-(-9); Ethan Rowe, 1-(-2).
Passing: Loyalsock: Cavanaugh, 14-24-1-122, TD. Milton: Davis, 12-25-3-91; Ethan Rowe, 2-5-0-9.
Receiving: Loyalsock: Gerald Ross, 9-113, TD; Brock Brown, 3-32; Jaiden Cioffi, 1-19; Gair, 1-11. Milton: Quaylin Rice, 6-39; Rowe, 3-14; Qamar Bradley, 2-32; Bryce Gower, 1-6; Kaleb Baker, 1-5; Edison, 1-4.