HERSHEY >> A teammate grabbed Curtis Robison by the arm, another stood alongside his shoulder, steadying him after a fourth-quarter sack.
The Northern York quarterback took a few steps and then signaled to his teammates with his hands, he was OK. He could make it to the sideline under his own power, but the sack had ended his night.
It had been a rough night for Northern York.
The Polar Bears (7-2) struggled to move the ball against a bigger and more-polished Lower Dauphin (8-1) squad.
The 38-7 loss snapped Northern's six-game winning streak as it stepped out of the Mid Penn Colonial Division to play Class AAAA Lower Dauphin.
Northern coach Greg Bowman knew he was in for a test, since the first-year head coach at Northern had spent the last three years as a Lower Dauphin assistant coach. He was on the other sideline when the Falcons roughed up the Polar Bears, 60-0, last season.
From the first drive, the Falcons made it painfully clear they had the better offense. If the Falcons wanted to run, they handed the ball to stocky George Hatalowich (19 carries, 116 yards, three touchdowns) to do his damage between tackles. If they wanted to pass, they left the ball in the hands of senior quarterback Tommy Klock (203 yards passing).
"Well, Tommy Klock has certainly come a long way in the last couple years, and it was enjoyable to see him grow," Northern coach Greg Bowman said. "He reads defenses well; he finds open receivers."
Northern had its hands full. Not only did it have to figure out how to stop Hatalowich, but its defense couldn't key on one receiver, since Klock divvied up his completions to seven Falcons.
"They've got a lot of skill at the wide receiver positions and tight end positions," Bowman said. "There's always the threat of Hatalowich running the ball real hard, which makes them more effective in the passing game."
Northern had some success. Michael Kearney had a 47-yard kickoff return. Bobby Shelly broke a 25-yard run late in the game. Andrew Swaisgood hauled in a 10-yard pass. But Northern lacked consistency on offense, so even when it pushed the ball inside the Lower Dauphin 15-yard line in the first quarter, it couldn't finish off the drive.
Now the tough task for Northern, which is 5-0 in its division, will be refocusing. The Polar Bears return to Colonial Division play in the regular-season finale next week, needing a win against East Pennsboro (7-2, 5-0) to win the title.
"Although this will be tough for some of the guys to stomach, we did do some positive things," Bowman said. "We've competed with the guys in our division at a high level all year. There's no reason to doubt we can't go win the division championship a week from now."
LD — Tommy Klock 7 run (Antonio Heredia), 9:16.
LD — George Hatalowich 6 run (Heredia kick), 3:49.
LD — Hatalowich 13 run (Heredia kick), 5:02
LD — Hatalowich 8 run (Heredia kick), 5:03
LD — Heredia 32 kick, 10:56.
LD — Angel Cruz 28 run (Heredia kick), 8:04
NY — Bobby Shelly 9 run (Aidan Alves kick), 5:31
Nor LDFirst downs917Rushes-Yards32-14933-198Passing4-15-113-21-0Passing Yards40203Total Yards189401Punts4-23.81-40Fumbles-Lost1-00-0Penalties-Yards2-207-70
Rushing — Nor, Shelly 9-58, Michael Kearney 13-35, Curtis Robison 8-31, Justin Markle 1-14, Steven Yurchison 1-1. LD, Hatalowich 19-116, Angel Cruz 3-41, Klock 4-12, Jackson Atkins 1-11, Cole Etchberger 3-8, Isaac Ray 1-5, Brendan Shaffer 1-4, Jarrod Smith 1-1.
Passing — Nor, Robison 3-14-1 23, Markle 1-1-0 17. LD, Klock 13-21-0 203.
Receiving — Nor, Andrew Swaisgood 2-17, Joey Razzano 1-17, Shelly 1-6. LD, Clay Spencer 4-52, Smith 2-56, Evan Morrill 3-42, Hatalowich 1-25, Skyler Swartz 1-16, Charlie Fies 1-10, Will Bowen 1-2.