MIDDLETOWN - The tears came as, one by one, several Littlestown seniors stood to address the team after it was over.
These Thunderbolts had played their last game.
They had lost, 49-14, to a much bigger and much more talented Middletown team in a District 3 Class 3A semifinal Friday at War Memorial Field.
Still, Littlestown head coach Mike Lippy wanted to acknowledge what this senior class had done. So he stopped talking in the postgame huddle, and he let a few teenagers talk.
"These guys deserved it, from bringing us back from where we were," Lippy said. "These seniors, they went through those last two seasons when we went 2-8 and 3-7. It's tough man, when you have 11 straight seasons of eight-plus wins. These guys took it personal. They wanted to turn it around, and they did."
Middletown's Brady Fox rushed for 182 yards on just 15 carries, none bigger than a 62-yard run to open the scoring. But Chase Snavely also threw for two scores and 163 yards through the air. Middletown needed to overcome 13 penalties. The Blue Raiders also converted 3-of-5 fourth downs, including the last three they attempted.
Littlestown (8-3) did what it needed to do in the first half, using a 15-play, 64-yard drive to take its only lead and chew up the clock late in the first quarter. But Middletown (11-0) kept pushing the action.
"These guys are the better team," Lippy said about Middletown.
Middletown scored on its next six consecutive possessions. The Blue Raiders grabbed the momentum, punching home two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of the first half to take control. It was a crippling turn of events.
"They just sucked it right out of us, when you know it's kind of out of reach," Lippy said.
Middletown advances to face Wyomissing in the District 3 Class 3A championship game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Still, it was a successful and bounce-back year for Littlestown.
"I don't think we had an 8-2 team when we started at the beginning of the year, it just fell in place and the guys made it happen.
"I'm really indebted to those guys."
M – Brady Fox 62 (Donovan Brady kick), 8:13.
Lt – Andrew Matthews 10 run (Wes Storey run), :59.
M – Chase Snavely 1 run (Brady kick), 6:26.
M – Fox 9 run (Brady kick), 1:17.
M – Malik Noon 29 pass from Snavely (Brady kick), :22.
M – Tre` Leach 21 pass from Snavely (Brady kick), 6:31.
Lt – Wes Story 6 run (Devin Gullickson kick failed), 2:58.
M – Snavely 2 run (Brady kick), 1:43.
M – Jaelen Thompson 4 run (Brady kick), 11:39.
Rushing — Lt, Matthews 11-49, Corbin Brown 1-4, West Storey 11-58, Dylan Morey 1-1, Tyler Barthel 1-2, Tanner Noble 1-0, Anthony Weaver 2-7, Devin Gullickson 1-7, Sam Watkins 4-15, Stonesifer 1-4. Mtown, Fox 15-182, Jaelen Thompson 11-52, Snavely 3-5, Tre’ Leach 1-3, Joe Cuneo 1-(-2), Antonio Gamble 2-5, Ed Figueroa 1-(-1), Abel Botterbusch 1-14, Jose Lopez 1-16.
Passing — Lt, Tanner Noble 10-16-1-65. Mtown, Snavely 9-15-0-163.
Receiving — Lt, Barthel 5-48, Matthews 1-10, Storey 2-3, Zack Lanning 1-(-2), Ben Snoufer 1-6. Mtown, Chris Plummer 1-8, Tyreer Mills 3-35, Thompson 1-15, Leach 3-76, Noon 1-29.