York, PA - Nobody wants to start a season off 0-2.
Especially when you've had an off-season filled with budget cuts that eliminated other sports, the William Penn Bearcats are grateful to have a football team this season.
Still, the Bearcats are looking for answers as the squad suffered a hard-fought 18-15 loss to rival J.P. McCaskey on Friday night at Small Field. That loss comes on the heels of a 41-0 drubbing at the hands of Coatesville in Week 1.
"We played better at times this week," said head coach Shawn Heinold. "Turnovers are killing us. It's a really, really tough loss."
McCaskey struck first with 5:27 left in the first quarter. Junior Tyree Ballanger ran into the end zone from eight yards out to cap off a 9-play drive and go up 6-0.
York showed promise in the first half as it would put the next three scores on the board. Senior signal caller Tavon Parker scored from four yards out to give the Bearcats a 7-6 lead with two minutes to go in the first quarter.
The William Penn defense was stellar during the contest. After a 39-yard punt from senior Derek Wilson put the Red Tornado on their own 1-yard-line, the Bearcats defense stuffed a run by McCaskey senior Wilson Avery for a safety and a 9-6 lead.
Thirteen seconds later, with the ball on the Red Tornado 33-yard-line, Parker found an outstretched Wilson in the front corner of the end zone for the touchdown with 8:31 left in the first half.
Unfortunately for York, that would be the last of the scoring as turnovers quelled the Bearcats offense for the rest of the contest.
Parker was picked off with 5:20 left in the second quarter by senior Diante Cherry, who scampered 52 yards for the score and cut the lead to 15-12 at the half.
The only score in the second half came from the Red Tornado when junior quarterback Collins Gantz hit senior Aaron Swinton, who tipped the ball twice to himself and ran 20 yards for McCaskey's first lead of the game.
The Bearcats had a solid scoring opportunity when they took over possession with 4:19 left to play. Senior Kelvin Nieves, who finished with a game-high 119 rushing yards, took York down the field to the Red Tornado 31-yard-line with 1:34 left to play.
William Penn could not figure out the McCaskey defense, however, as the Red Tornado came up with two huge sacks in the final minute to seal the victory.
"We showed improvement," said Heinold, "But we're not finishing drives and we're not making the big plays to make the difference in games."
McCaskey 6 6 6 0 -- 18
William Penn 7 8 0 0 -- 15
McC -- Tyree Ballanger 8 run (kick failed), 5:27.
WP -- Tavon Parker 4 run (Thurman Fogleman kick), 2:00.
WP -- Safety, 8:44.
WP -- Derek Wilson 33 pass from Parker (kick failed), 8:31.
McC -- Diante Cherry 52 interception return (kick failed), 5:20.
McC -- Aaron Swinton 28 pass from Collins Gantz (conversion failed), 8:38.
-- McC -- WP
First downs -- 9 -- 14
Rushes-yards -- 26-90 -- 42-96
Passing -- 11-28-2 -- 6-22-3
Passing yards -- 181 -- 102
Total yards -- 271 -- 198
Punts -- 2-36.0 -- 5-41.8
Fumbles-lost -- 2-0 -- 4-2
Penalties-yards -- 8-45 -- 5-30
Rushing -- J.P. McCaskey, Aaron Swinton 7-47, Collins Gantz3-(-3), Darrell Walton 1-(-5), Avery Wilson 8-18, Tyree Ballanger 5-17, Diante Cherry 3-16; William Penn, Kelvin Nieves 23-119, Tavon Parker 10-(-32), James Way 2-3, Dakeem Dennison 3-3, Bryshon Sweeney 1-5, Jomar Dickerson 1-4, D'montie Shaw 1-(-7), Derek Wilson 1-1.
Passing -- J.P. McCaskey, Collins Gantz 11-28-2-181; William Penn, Tavon Parker 6-22-3-102.
Receiving -- J.P. McCaskey, Diante Cherry 4-62, Evan Charles 1-35, Aaron Swinton 4-37, Kyaire Bynum 1-24, Jalen Washington 1-23; William Penn, Derek Wilson 1-33, James Way 2-28, Jomar Dickerson 1-12, D'montie Shaw 1-12, Kelvin Nieves 1-17.