For three weeks Littlestown has been climbing out of the hole it found itself in after an 0-2 start. In Friday’s first quarter the Thunderbolts decided to kick that comeback process into overdrive.
Virtually everything went right on both sides of the ball for the Thunderbolts in the opening quarter against Biglerville, with the Littlestown offense scoring three touchdowns on three possessions and the defense forcing a pair of turnovers. The early outburst—and 230 yards and three touchdowns on the ground from Will Shoemaker—propelled the Bolts to a 40-7 win in the YAIAA-3 contest at Littlestown’s Thunderbolt Stadium.
The Bolts have now won three straight after dropping their first two contests. The run has put them in the thick of the District 3 Class 3A playoff race with two games remaining.
“We weren’t even talking about districts, and we’ve now given ourselves an opportunity to possibly get in,” Littlestown coach Mike Lippy said. “It would be nice if we could do that. We didn’t have much to talk about during the week other than finishing this out the right way. It was huge jumping on top like that tonight. There’s no doubt about it. Will really provided a spark.”
Shoemaker was a tough man to tackle in the first quarter. His first carry—on Littlestown’s first play from scrimmage—was an off-tackle play that he took down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown just 1:42 into the game.
“Those guys up front were awesome tonight,” Shoemaker said. “They were making it easy for us. Nate Thomas, the receiver on that side, held his block the whole way down the field. I turned it up and saw the daylight and just went.”
The senior’s second carry did not end in the end zone, but it may have been even more impressive than the first: he again went outside on the left, this time on a sweep, and rambled 95 yards from the Littlestown four-yard line to the Biglerville one. He was hauled down just feet short of his second score in two carries. Ethan Sheely punched it in on the next play to extend the lead to 12-0.
“Nobody has given me much grief so far, but I am sure I am going to hear about it when I get into the locker room,” laughed Shoemaker.
The Littlestown momentum continued from there. An interception by Lucas Denault ended a Biglerville foray into Thunderbolt territory, and the offense went right back to work. This time it was a relatively long-lived six-play, 67-yard drive, with quarterback Xavier Benner connecting on a pair of first-down completions. Sheely’s seven-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion pushed the lead to 20-0 with 1:54 to go in the opening frame.
The scoring pace slowed from there, with Shoemaker’s 12-yard touchdown run late in the second the only other touchdown of the half. The Littlestown defense ensured Biglerville would not threaten that margin, forcing four turnovers and six punts on the night.
“I thought our defense really stepped up tonight,” Lippy said. “For a while (Biglerville was) shutting us down. I thought we did a really good job defensively with the scheme that they had. Our defense had a nice plan for what they were going to do tonight.”
Shoemaker notched his third touchdown late in the third quarter, and he finished the night with 13 carries for 230 yards, plus a 40-yard reception. Biglerville broke up the shutout late with a 17-yard touchdown run by Kalen Sharrah. During that drive Josh Fulton went over the 100-yard mark on the night, finishing with 113 yards on 15 carries.
Biglerville 0 0 0 7 — 7
Littlestown 20 7 6 7 — 40
L—William Shoemaker 52 run (kick blocked), 10:18
L—Ethan Sheely 1 run (run failed), 6:45
L—Sheely 7 run (Shoemaker pass from Xavier Benner), 1:54
L—Shoemaker 12 run (Nate Holt kick), 2:35
L—Shoemaker 3 run (kick failed), 4:07
L—Holt 3 run (Holt kick), 5:58
B—Kalen Sharrah 17 run (Levi Roberts kick), 2:09
First downs 11 16
Rushing 39-175 42-328
Passing 1-8-2 6-14-0
Passing yards 43 130
Total offense 218 458
Penalties-yards 2-10 0-0
Punting 6-35.0 4-38.8
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Rushing: B-Kalen Sharrah 10-17, Sam Hurda 6-43, Josh Fulton 15-113, Zachary Showers 7-(-5), Colby Fulton 1-7. L-Will Shoemaker 13-230, Braden Unger 5-3, Ethan Sheely 5-20, Maxim Akins 5-28, Xavier Benner 2-3, Kurtis Shifflett 7-38, Nate Holt 5-6.
Passing: B-Showers 0-7-2-0, Sharrah 1-1-0-43. L-Xavier Benner 6-14-0-130, Connor Healy 0-0-0-0.
Receiving: B-Jesse Scott 1-43. L-Nathan Thomas 2-34, Unger 2-36, Shoemaker 1-40, Austin Grammes 1-20.