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Lyco loss clouds MAC race
October 12, 2013 - Mitch Rupert
ANNVILLE – Lycoming's season isn't over. In fact, the goal of a 15th Middle Atlantic Conference championship is alive and well, even after a 14-7 loss to Lebanon Valley on Saturday.
The cushion the Warriors had worked so hard to build with wins in the last two weeks over ranked opponents evaporated with Saturday's loss quicker than a pot of boiling water. Is the goal still attainable? Absolutely. Do the Warriors now need a little help? Yes.
Lycoming finds itself in a four-way tie atop the MAC as it heads into its bye week. The only reprise for the Warriors is the three teams its tied with – Widener, Delaware Valley and Lebanon Valley – all still have head-to-head games against one another over the final five weeks of the season.
The likelihood for some shuffling among the three teams Lycoming shares first place with is very high. Lebanon, who lost to Widener in Week 2, still has games against Delaware Valley, Stevenson and Albright. Stevenson and Albright are just a game behind the four teams in first place. Widener still has games left against Delaware Valley and Albright.
“While everything we want is still out there, it just makes it a little bit harder and we have to wait a little longer to see how it pans out,” Lycoming quarterback Tyler Jenny said. “But we have to worry about the things we can control now.”
Lycoming entered the game in the driver's seat for a MAC title as the only team in the league which had yet to suffer a league loss. It was the first time since their 2003 MAC championship season the Warriors have had that kind of control.
Now, just winning the remaining games on its schedule isn't good enough, and there will be tests from Albright and Stevenson over the final four games. The Warriors hold the tie-breakers over both Widener and Delaware Valley having beaten each of the teams in the last two weeks.
But should Lebanon Valley win out, it would hold the tie-breaker over Lycoming, meaning the Dutchmen and Widener would go through various tie-breakers to find who earns the MAC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
With five weeks left in the season, it's a confusing mess to imagine all the scenarios which could still play out, but it's what Lycoming is left with. The Warriors are no longer in control of their own destiny.
“Unfortunately, we let go of what we worked really hard to get,” Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. “It makes it really tough going forward. There's still a lot of work to be done. But I'm glad Del Val and Widener still have to play, and I'm glad (Lebanon Valley) still needs to play Delaware Valley and Albright.”
Saturday's game was essentially a must-win for Lebanon Valley since it carried a league loss to Widener into the game with Lycoming. Two losses in the league with the league leader having yet to lose in the league would have essentially eliminated the Flying Dutchmen from championship consideration.
Now the log-jam at the top of the conference brings hope to the team who were trailing Lycoming, including Albright and Stevenson who are only one game back.
“This was our crack,” Lebanon Valley head coach Jim Monos said. “To win (Saturday) keeps us alive.”
“The biggest part is we're tied for first in the MAC because our goal is to win the MAC,” Dutchmen defensive end Zach Halpin said. “To do it on our own field during homecoming is huge. To do it against a ranked team, it's even bigger.”
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