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Ford City strikes quick in win over Southmoreland

| Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, 11:50 p.m.
Ford City's Devan Willyard (19) attempts to break free from Southmoreland defenders in the first half of Ford City's game against Southmoreland held at Russ Grimm Field in Alverton on Friday, September 21, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier

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 jblack@tribweb.com or 724-626-3534.

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