For nearly three quarters Friday, Red Lion did all the unglamourous things needed to win a football game.
The Lions tackled well. They chewed up the clock on long possessions. They kept the chains moving in third-and-short situations.
And then, once that foundation of fundamentals was laid, the Lions decided it was time make things really exciting.
Red Lion (2-1) scored on three straight offensive plays over the third and fourth quarters — all them on runs of at least 45 yards — and cruised to a 35-14 victory over West York (0-3) in a YAIAA crossover matchup at West York High School.
The late outburst, coupled with an electrifying 89-yard punt return by Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie, made the Lions winnners one week after they watched a late lead disappear in an emotional loss to Manheim Township.
"They knew, as good as Manheim Township is, that they let one get away last week," Red Lion coach Jesse Shay said. "They could not wait to get out there and prove to the fans and the league — and, most importantly, themselves — that they are better football team than they showed."
The Lions controlled the clock in the first half, possessing the ball for 15:35 over the first two quarters. The first of those long possessions, an 11-play drive, fizzled out at midfield. The Lions' defense then forced a West York punt, and Boyd-Gillespie went to work. He drifted under the 45-yard kick at his own 11-yard line, and got straight upfield. Once he found a seam he bounced to the left sideline and went 89 yard for the score.
"It was huge," Shay said. "You get that first score, and you think now we can get this rolling. Then it became a heck of a job by our offensive line."
That line slowly and surely took the game over during the ensuing two quarters, allowing the Lions' run game to crank up. The result was a 12-play, 58-yard drive, capped by Dalton Grove's sneak, that put Red Lion up 14-0 heading into halftime.
"The overall thing for us is third down," West York coach Jeremy Jones said. "We can't get teams off the field on third down and we can't convert on third down."
Red Lion put things out of reach in the late third and early fourth quarters. Alex Keough (72 yards), Dylan Guerreri (62 yards), and Grove (45 yards) scored on back-to-back-back offensive snaps, putting the Lions up 35-0 and setting the running clock in motion.
RL — Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie 89 punt return (Sam Emig kick), 4:18.
RL — Dalton Grove 1 run (Emig kick), 0:30.
RL — Alex Keough 72 run (Emig kick), 2:02.
RL — Dylan Guerreri 62 run (Emig kick), 11:50.
RL — Grove 45 run (Emig kick), 10:50.
WY — Tyler Folk 1 run (Evan Keim kick), 9:23.
WY — Cadence Thomas 6 run (Keim kick), 5:56.
RLWYFirst downs1315Rushes-yards39-31540-129Passing3-6-012-19-0Passing yards16172Total yards331301Punts4-39.05-36.6Fumbles-lost3-12-0Penalties-yards3-304-20
Rushing — RL, Gurreri 14-137, Keough 9-93, Grove 9-69, Emig 3-11, Jamel Foster 3-1, Patrick Daugherty 1-4. WY, Thomas 17-85, Folk 16-9, Ryan Narber 7-35.
Passing — RL, Grove 3-6-0-16. WY, Folk 12-19-0-172.
Receiving — RL, Dillon Hildebrand 1-7, James Jackson 1-8, Keough 1-1. WY, Terry Cains 4-78, Narber 2-37, Dante Dorm 2-28, Thomas 2-6, Andrew LaManna 1-14, Thomas Bentzel 1-9.