The Dallastown High School football team found itself in a familiar position in Monday night's 49-21 victory over William Penn.
The Wildcats, playing their homecoming game a few days late thanks to Friday's storm, led William Penn by two touchdowns at halftime.
"Last year, we had the same lead at halftime (28-14), and we came out at halftime and they came back and they ended up beating us. This time, we held together and kept it going strong and got the win," Dallastown senior running back Robert Catchings said after the game.
Catchings played a huge role for the Wildcats, rushing for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a defensive score on an interception return.
But the win did not come easy. The visiting Bearcats relied on some big plays, especially in the return game, to put pressure on Dallastown through much of the game.
William Penn's Bryshon Sweeney took the opening kickoff of the second half 77 yards, prevented from a touchdown by Dallastown kicker McKinley Curran.
Three plays later, Sweeney caught a 15-yard scoring pass from quarterback James Way, who hung in the pocket under blitz pressure, to cut Dallastown's lead to 28-21.
After the teams traded punts, Dallastown put together a solid drive, but quarterback Andrew Henry underthrew a pass inside the Bearcat 15-yard-line for his third interception of the night.
Fortune, however, smiled on the Wildcats as sophomore defensive end Jordan Burns pounced on a William Penn fumble inside the 10-yard line. Dezmond Jones scored on the next play for a 35-21 Wildcat lead.
"They got a couple of plays on us in the second half, and the kids didn't panic," Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said. "(William Penn) got a couple of plays, but they're going to get plays."
In the fourth quarter, Henry and Catchings each added touchdowns for the final margin.
Henry scored twice in the first half to stake the Wildcats to a 14-0 lead. His first touchdown came on a 1-yard sneak to end a 41-yard drive, and he covered 36 yards on a quarterback draw early in the second quarter for his second score.
Catchings scored twice in a two-minute span, first on a 27-yard interception return on a pass tipped by teammate Nick Sutton to push the score to 21-0. He then blasted 45 yards on an inside handoff for a 28-0 advantage.
William Penn didn't quit. Sweeney scored on a 7-yard run set up by a 70-yard pass from Way to Dakeem Dennison to get the visitors on the scoreboard. Way scored on a 2-yard run with 10 seconds left in the half after Nykam Beverley intercepted Henry.
But that wasn't enough. Coach Shawn Heinold admitted that injuries and other issues left his team somewhat depleted.
"I think we just ran out of gas at times," he said. "I think this was their best effort of the year even though it doesn't look that way on the scoreboard."
William Penn 0 14 7 0 -- 21
Dallastown 7 21 7 14 -- 49
Dt -- Andrew Henry 1 run (McKinley Curran kick), 1 :07
Dt -- Henry 36 run (Curran kick), 10:48
Dt-- Robert Catchings 27 interception return (Curran kick), 10:24
Dt-- Catchings 45 run (Curran kick), 8:26
WP -- Bryshon Sweeney 7 run (Thurman Folgeman kick), 7:08
WP -- James Way III 2 run (kick failed), :10
WP -- Sweeney 15 pass from Way (Sweeney pass from Way), 10:54
Dt -- Dezmond Jones 6 run (Curran kick), 2 :31
Dt -- Henry 6 run (Curran kick), 9:20
Dt -- Catchings 14 run (Curran kick), 4:13
First downs 9 12
Rushes-yards 25-49 46-290
Passing 13-28-3 1-11-3
Passing yards 190 5
Total yards 239 295
Punts 6-30.2 3-51.7
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-31 4-37
Rushing -- WP, Bryshon Sweeney 10-35, James Way III 11-23, Dakeen Dennison 3-(-1), Dan Acevedo 1-(-8); Dt, Robert Catchings 19-169, Andrew Henry 14-72, Dezmond Jones 7-45, Jamal McCaskell 1-3, Addison Quinones 1-2, Sharod Wilson 2-0, Malik Lewis 1-(-3).
Passing -- WP, Way 13-28-3-190; Dt, Henry 1-11-3-5, Cade Gold 0-0-0-0
Receiving -- Sweeney 5-31, Napoleon Snellings 4-18, Dennison 1-70, Acevedo 1-42, Sae'Quan Whitaker 1-25, Dmontie Shaw 1-4; Dt, Lewis 1-5.