Rain dance: Late drive, defense lifts Littlestown
Frustration was mounting on the Littlestown sideline.
Taking on Delone Catholic at home with their undefeated record on the line Friday, the Bolts were stuck in a scoreless contest with about six minutes to play. With drives having stalled all night and penalties, incomplete passes and short runs pilling up, the Bolts were doing their best to stay positive.
But on a night when passing offense was hard to come by, Littlestown quarterback Tanner Noble connected with receiver Tyler Barthel twice on the late drive for a combined 30 yards, putting Littlestown inside the Delone 5-yard line. Drew Matthews would plunge in for a 2-yard score, giving Littlestown a hard-fought 6-0 win.
It may not have been the prettiest victory, but the Bolts weren't complaining.
"Most people would walk out of here upset, I'm happy as a lark with 6-0," Bolts head coach Mike Lippy said. "(Barthel) was going to catch it sooner or later, we just had to come up with a route that would work."
Added defensive back and kicker Alex Potts: "(The receptions by Barthel) showed us there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That gave us the drive to keep pushing."
The Bolts' offense came through at the end, but it was their defense that kept them in the game all night. While the Squires were hindered by a muddy field and 11 penalties, Littlestown still held them to 150 yards and forced four turnovers.
With the Bolts clinging to their slim lead in the final four minutes, Barthel and Anthony Weaver intercepted Delone Catholic quarterback Brian Shermeyer on back-to-back drives to seal the win. Weaver finished with two picks on the night, giving him four the past two games.
"I needed to make a play and I was hoping it got overthrown because I was there," Weaver said. "Everyone said I needed to get another interception so I got one at the end."
The Bolts also stopped the Squires on two fourth-and-1 situations in the first half, including one at their own 3-yard line. Shermeyer attempted a quarterback sneak, but Potts broke into the backfield to snuff the play out.
After giving up an average of just under 33 points per game last season, Littlestown is allowing just under six points this fall. Lippy credited defensive coordinator Corey Bittle with sparking the unit's turnaround.
"(Bittle) took the lumps the last two years, and he's the first guy who's going to tell you it's not him, but he works tirelessly to put together a plan," Lippy said. "He really hasn't done anything differently, we just have these kids involved in the defense the way they need to be."
Despite having won a combined five games the past two seasons, the Bolts are now 5-0. While Lippy said the team has plenty of things to clean up, he's extremely proud of its start.
"I can't tell you that I thought we were going to be 5-0, that's for sure," Lippy said. "Even though we didn't close these games out in the first half these past few weeks, our kids know they can still come back and beat a good team."
LT -- Drew Matthews 2 run (pass no good), 4:25
Rushing — DC, Zach Hart 5-9, Ryan Hart 13-63, Sean Sneeringer 4-9, Andrew Hernandez 4-2, Brian Shermeyer 7-3. LT, Wes Storey 21-55, Drew Matthews 15-56, Tanner Noble 7-3, Alex Potts 2-11, Austin Watters 1-3.
Passing — DC, Shermeyer 5-15-64-3. LT, Tanner Noble 5-15-67-1.
Receiving — DC, Sneeringer 1-26, Hernandez 2-18, Zach Hart 1-10, Cody Pfaff 1-10. LT, Tyler Barthel 3-37, Trey Noble 1-17, Ben Snouffer 1-13.