Potts, Williamsport outlast Hazleton Area, 64-63

By Paul Sokoloski - [email protected]
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HAZLETON — With eyes turned tortuously skyward and his face filled with anguish, Hazleton Area running back Damon Horton looked like he’d just lost his best friend as he slowly walked off Harman Geist Field.

His team lost a third straight game.

But not because of him.

Joe Fagnano threw a 54-yard touchdown pass, then crashed across the goal line with the two-point conversion as Williamsport barely survived a 299-yard rushing day and seven-touchdown performance from Horton in a 64-63 shootout Friday at Harman Geist.

“Pretty good feeling,” Horton said of his performance. “But if we didn’t come out with a win, I’m not satisfied.”

His Cougars came out on the short end mainly because Marcus Simmons, who took the winning touchdown toss into the end zone as a wide receiver, pounced on a fumble at the defensive end with 41 seconds to play. His recovery came after a 15-yard completion by Cougars quarterback Sparky Wolk moved the ball to the Hazleton Area 44-yard line.

It was one of the few defensive stops either team made in a wild and wacky shootout that featured nine touchdowns by both teams, a combined 1,168 yards of offense, with 23 penalties and lasted over 3:20.

Williamsport quarterback Fagnano ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 265 yards and two more scores, on bombs of 43 and 54 yards.

Hazleton Area’s Sparky Wolk wound up with 259 passing yards, including a 39-yard touchdown strike to David Smith and a 71-yard bomb to Smith that set up Horton’s first touchdown, and scored on an 8-yard run to tie the game at 42-42 in the third quarter.

Horton said he’d never been part of such a wild affair — “I have not,” he said with his eyes cast downward — but he sure did his part to keep the Cougars in the game.

Horton scored on runs of 7, 1, 4, 43, 37, 24 and 7 yards while twice rallying Hazleton Area from a two-touchdown deficit. He carried eight times for 52 yards on a 67-yard march, including his 37-yard burst to the end zone that gave Hazleton Area its first lead with 1:17 remaining in the third quarter and a 7-yard touchdown sprint that put the Cougars up 63-56 with 91 seconds to play in the game.

“I’m not quite sure how Damon Horton doesn’t have anything right now,” Hazleton Area coach Mike Brennan said of his star running back’s college prospects. “There are a whole lot of schools that should start taking a look.”

Horton rolled up his 299 yards on 32 carries. His counterpart, Williamsport’s Minnesota-bound Treyson Potts, also carried 32 times for 257 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 6, 40, 27 and 44 yards and brought back a 75-yard kick return for another score.

“You got your money’s worth,” Williamsport coach Chuck Crews said. “Those two young men played one heck of a football game. I’d like to have them both. I’ve got one, I’d like to have the other one, too.”

Williamsport 64, Hazleton Area 63

Williamsport`0`0`0`0 — 0

Hazleton Area`0`0`0`0 — 0

First quarter

W — Joe Fagnano 40 run (Sam Hillman kick), 7:19

Second quarter

W — Treyson Potts 6 run (Hillman kick), 10:15

H — Damon Horton 7 run (Will Garcia kick), 9:37

W — Potts 40 run (Hillman kick), 9:22

H — Horton 1 run (Garcia kick), 6:51

W — Potts 75 kick return (Hillman kick), 6:34

H — Horton 4 run (Garcia kick), 4:56

H — Horton 43 run (Garcia kick), 1:01

Third quarter

W — Fagnano 1 run (Hillman kick), 9:23

W — Nassir Jones 43 pass from Fagnano (Hillman kick), 6:36

H — David Smith 39 pass from Sparky Wolk (Garcia kick), 4:56

H — Wolk 8 run (Garcia kick), 2:34

H — Horton 37 run (Garcia kick), 1:17

W — Potts 27 run (Hillman kick), 0:47

Fourth quarter

H — Horton 24 run (Garcia kick), 9:50

W — Potts 44 run (Hillman kick), 6:37

H — Horton 7 run (Garcia kick), 1:31

W — Marcus Simmons 54 pass from Fagnano (Fagnano conversion run), 1:16

Team statistics`WIL`HA

First downs`27`20

Rushes-yards`52-331`37-313

Passing yards`265`259

Total yards`596`572

Passing`17-28-0`10-18-1

Sacked-yards lost`5-25`2-9

Punts-avg.`3-22.7`2-32.5

Fumbles-lost`2-1`3-2

Penalties-yards`14-101`9-63

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — WIL, Treyson Potts 32-257, Joe Fagnano 16-91, Marcus Simmons 1- (minus 12), TEAM 3- (minus 5). HAZ, Damon Horton 32-299, Sparky Wolk 5-14.

PASSING — WIL, Fagnano 17-28-0-265. HAZ, Wolk 10-18-1-259.

RECEIVING — WIL, Marcus Simmon 4-78, Nassir Jones 3-83, Brock Moyer 3-32, Isaac Ritter 3-13, Potts 2-37, Braedon Mazzante 2-22. HAZ, David Smith 5-155, Jacob Hunsinger 4-72, Horton 1-32.

INTERCEPTIONS — WIL, Dallas Griess 1-20.

MISSED FGs — HAZ, Will Garcia, 23-WR.

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By Paul Sokoloski

[email protected]

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski