Ford City strikes quick in win over Southmoreland
Moving the football wasn't a problem for either team in Friday's Class AA nonconference game between Ford City and host Southmoreland. But only the Sabers put the finishing touches on key first-half drives on their way to a 35-14 victory.
Ford City senior running back Devan Willyard had 12 carries for 185 yards, including two long touchdown runs. He also caught three passes for 48 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown.
“We just wanted to get the lead early and keep it,” Willyard said. “For us, it's a psychological game. To do that well early in the game is exciting.”
The Sabers (2-2) scored on all four of their first-half possessions to take a 28-0 halftime lead.
Willyard opened the scoring with his touchdown reception that capped an eight-play drive. Justin Retzer took a pitch from quarterback David Lattanzio, faked a run, then pulled up and connected with Willyard midway through the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Ben Young finished a 12-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Willyard then struck again on a 68-yard burst on Ford City's third possession. And before the half was over, Retzer completed a three-play drive when he pulled down a 68-yard touchdown strike from Lattanzio, who finished 3 of 6 passing for 145 yards.
While Ford City was finishing drive after drive, the Scotties (0-4) kept coming up empty. After two punts in the first quarter, Southmoreland went scoreless on two series in which it had a first-and-goal. The first was a turnover on downs. The second ended when time ran out in the second quarter with the ball on Ford City's 2-yard line.
Southmoreland's Tyler Ramsey and Bo Datz paced a rushing attack that had 230 yards. Ramsey had 154 yards on 25 carries.
In the second half, Ford City jumped to a 35-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage. Willyard busted loose for a 54-yard score down the right sideline.
“The line blocked well, and they opened up the play,” Willyard said. “The play went as we planned, and the line had a heck of a game.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.