When the Academy of the New Church kick returner took Morrisville's opening kickoff for an apparent touchdown, you just knew Friday wasn't going to be a good night for the Bulldogs.
While the play was called back to midfield on a Lions penalty, ANC put together a sustained drive that took the first eight minutes of the game and culminated in a 2-yard touchdown plunge by sophomore Anthony Weizer to put Morrisville in an early 6-0 hole.
Penalties and turnovers were costly to the Bulldogs in this one, which turne into a 44-14 Lions rout Sept. 27 at Robert Morris Stadium. Every time Morrisville did something good, it got hit with a flag. The ' Dawgs were flagged a dozen times for 86 yards and while ANC was hit with nine penalties for 65 yards, their errors just didn't seems nearly as costly.
A 29 yard punt return by the Bulldogs on the Lions' first kick was negated on one call. The next erased a 30-yard rush from scrimmage by junior RB Justin Young-Hayward.
A huge 23-yard gain by Uriel Savage was wiped out by a 10-yard loss on a sack by ANC, a personal foul called against Morrisville and an interception by Lions sophomore DB Jamie Earle.
By that time the Bulldogs trailed 14-0 on an early second-quarter touchdown run by junior Shane McCurdy, a scoring run that encompassed 33 yards.
With the Lions on the move again, Savage stopped ANC at the 2 yard line with an interception of a Charlie Coyle pass at the two that was meant for senior Landon Elder.
No problem for the Lions who forced Young-Hayward to fumble the ball right back at the Bulldogs 15 yard line. Coyle (3-4-1) took the ball to paydirt himself a few plays later, giving ANC a 22-0 edge with four minutes to go in the half.
When Morrisville finally showed enough poise to assemble a potential scoring run, time ran out on the clock. Sophomore Donovan O'Brien put the Bulldogs in position to score with a nice punt return to the Morrisville 42 yard line.
From there, an apparent 38-yard Joe Sesar pass to the ANC 20 got brought back to midfield on — you guessed it — another Bulldogs penalty.
Morrisville actually looked good on their last drive of the first half — if not for the issue with the time clock. Savage (8-59) drove the ball on a big gainer up the middle then caught a pass on an out-pattern from Sesar (4-10-2) at the 13.
Problem was he didn't get out of bounds, forcing the Bulldogs to take their last timeout. Sophomore wide receiver Tahmeir Scott also could not get out of bounds on Sesar's ensuing dump pass, leaving but 13 seconds on the clock.
Alas, an ensuing false start penalty on Morrisville erased what was left of the first half, sending the ' Dawgs to the locker room facing a 22-0 deficit.
Morrisville fumbled on the third play of the second half, giving the Lions a short field at the 28. A few plays later, senior RB Rashee Hall plunged into the end zone from the four, putting ANC on top, 30-0.
He'd score again a few minutes later from the three and the rout was on.
The Bulldogs got TD runs in the fourth quarter from Scott (5-99) on scoring sprints of 39 and 51 yards and the Lions put together one last drive capped by a 15-yard TD scamper by freshman Kyle Mattison, pushing the score to its final and giving ANC (1-3) its first win of the season.
After opening the season in August with a big win over Valley Forge Military Academy, Morrisville has now lost four straight and falls to 1-4 on the season.
Academy of the New Church 44, Morrisville 14
ANC 6 16 16 6-44
Morrisville 0 0 0 14-14
(Sept. 27 at Morrisville)
ANC: Weizer 2 run (conversion failed)
ANC: McCurdy 33 run (Weizer run)
ANC: Coyle 2 run (McCurdy run)
ANC: Hall 4 run (King-Bails run)
ANC: Hall 3 run (Earle pass from Coyle)
ANC: Mattison 15 run (conversion failed)
M: Scott 39 run (Savage run)
M: Scott 51 run (kick failed)