William Penn gave everything the Bearcats had during Friday's football game against two-time defending YAIAA Division I champ Dallastown.
The Bearcats' smothering defense had Dallastown fighting for every yard, while the William Penn offense and special teams used a few big plays to put up some points.
Dallastown managed three field goals from senior kicker Drake Pew and used its running game to eke out a 29-26 win at Dallastown High School.
"You have to credit the Bearcats," said Dallastown coach Kevin Myers. "They played hard for 48 minutes. We knew they were going to make some plays, and we didn't tackle well. We hung in there. We were able to pound the ball (on the ground) a bit. I think we were focused, I'm just not sure we played with a lot of emotion."
Dallastown (5-0, 2-0) led the entire game, but it wasn't a cakewalk by any stretch.
The Wildcats held a 13-0 lead in the second quarter behind two Pew field goals and a 5-yard keeper by quarterback Mike Sparks. The two first-quarter field goals came after consecutive drive-opening fumbles by the Bearcats.
Facing a fourth-and-15 at the Dallastown 42 with just over two minutes before halftime, Dallastown attempted a fake punt called on the field by a player and turned the ball over to William Penn at the Wildcats 40.
Five plays later, junior quarterback Tallian Lehr ran in from 11 yards out and William Penn (0-5, 0-2) found a little momentum.
"We played lights out defensively," said William Penn coach Russ Stoner, who saw his defense hold Dallastown to 58 first-half yards. "At the end of the day, in football, if you can stop people, you have a chance to win."
The teams then erupted for 19 points in a 24-second span early in the third quarter. Zion DeVance scored on a 52-yard run before William Penn sophomore Dayjure Stewart countered with a 91-yard kickoff return.
Dallastown retaliated with a 74-yard kickoff return from Edgar Centeno.
Another Pew field goal put Dallastown up by 16 points, but the Bearcats closed out the third quarter with a 45-yard touchdown run from the six-foot, 175-pound Stewart to close within nine points.
"(William Penn is) dangerous," Myers said. "Every game we watched live or on tape they were in it. They are going to be a team to reckoned with. I hope they keep their heads up. I really think they were a player or two away and a few plays away from two or three wins already this year."
Stewart caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Lehr to bring William Penn to within a field goal with 6:19 to go, but Dallastown managed to eat all but the final 23 seconds up on its last drive of the game.
"I'm not going to deem this a coming out party," Stoner said. "I'm not a moral victory guy. But you can see it in the kids' eyes. They are hurting. They want to win so bad. And they had a chance tonight. We came to the two-time defending (YAIAA Division I) champs' house and played really well against them. I love these kids."
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DT -- Drake Pew 37 FG, 8:09
DT -- Pew 38 FG, 5:05
DT -- Mike Sparks 5 run (Pew kick), 8:46
WP -- Tallian Lehr 11 run (Brandon Vargas kick), :30
DT -- Zion DeVance 52 run (pass failed), 10:48
WP -- Dayjure Stewart 91 kick return (pass failed), 10:35
DT -- Edgar Centeno 74 kick return (Pew kick), 10:24
DT -- Pew 27 FG, 2:44
WP -- Stewart 45 run (Vargas kick), :29
WP -- Stewart 6 pass from Lehr (kick failed), 6:19
Rushing — William Penn, Khalid Dorsey 14-109, Dayjure Stewart 7-49, Tallian Lehr 7-26, Nigel Williams 3-16, Marcus Mitchell 1-(-5). Dallastown, Zion DeVance 16-119, Rodney Scott 16-55, Mike Sparks 9-12, John Brandon 2-6.
Passing — William Penn, Lehr, 7-16, 63 yds., 1 TD, 1 Int. Dallastown, Sparks 2-6, 13 yds., 0 TD, 1 Int.
Receiving — William Penn, Robert Rideout 3-40, Anthony Jamison 1-10, Stewart 2-9, Dorsey 1-4. Dallastown, Elijah Lloyd 1-12, Scott 1-1.