For the ninth time in 10 seasons, Littlestown High's football team earned a trip to the District 3 Class AA playoffs.
On Saturday, it was trying to accomplish a feat that no other team had achieved against top-seeded Wyomissing this season.
The Spartans entered the contest at Governor Mifflin High School, Shillington, at a perfect 10-0 on the year and carrying a top-5 state ranking, as well has having one of the top linebackers in the country in Notre Dame recruit Alex Anzalone.
Despite the Thunderbolts' best-laid efforts, the Spartans proved to be too tall of a task.
Wyomissing made quick work of Littlestown (7-4), scoring touchdowns on all three of their first-quarter possessions and scoring on six straight possessions extending all the way into the third quarter.
In the end, the Spartans defeated Littlestown 45-13.
Littlestown was unable to get its ground game going at all against the immovable force called the Wyomissing defense.
"We absolutely could not run the ball between the tackles," Littlestown head coach Mike Lippy said. "It left us to try to get outside or throw the ball."
Wyomissing, on the other hand, found a great deal of success on the ground, raking up 458 yards rushing to Littlestown's 64.
"They were just more physical then we were," Lippy said. "We were just getting handled the whole game. We couldn't stop anything they did. Up front, we had (5-foot-5) Dustin DeGroft taking on two pulling guards. They have a very nice football team."
After an interception, Wyomissing's Justin Causa capped off a four-play drive with a 20-yard run to the left, in which he cut back on DeGroft, and marched into the end zone.
"That was a backbreaker," Lippy said. "We had moved a little on offense, and then to have that interception, and then have them march down the field and score hurt."
The Spartans forced Littlestown to a three and out on their next possession and, six plays later, Wyomissing found its way into the end zone. Again it was Causa crossing the goal-line, this time from 18 yards out.
Causa finished the game with a team-leading 131 yards on eight carries.
Two plays into Wyomissing's third drive, Anzalone rushed up the middle and it appeared Littlestown had him bottled up for only a 2-yard gain, but Anzalone spun out of the tackles and sprinted his way 44 yards to paydirt for the touchdown to put the Spartans up 21-0 in just the first quarter.
Anazlone finished the day with 106 yards on eight carries.
"We thought we needed to put up 28 points throwing the ball to have a chance," Lippy said. "Whenever we got anything started, we either had an interception or a holding penalty."
It wasn't just the self-inflicted wounds of interceptions and penalties that hurt Littlestown. It was also the stingy Wyomissing defense.
Littlestown went into the half trailing 35-0. It had only gained 108 yards of total offense -- six yards on the ground and 102 through the air. The Wyomissing defensive backs had terrific coverage against the Littlestown receivers in a half when the Thunderbolts threw the ball 19 times.
"Out of the shotgun without taking any steps on our pass plays, Dustin still had people in his face," Lippy said.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Thunderbolts' offense got going. Down 45-0, Littlestown put together a 11-play drive that went 77-yards and concluded with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Crouse to receiver Nick Hornbrook. Littlestown missed the extra point.
Hornbrook finished the game with eight catches for 85 yards. On the drive, Crouse was 7-for-8 for 66 yards.
Littlestown's Josh Hicks then proceeded to recover a squib kick that bounced off a Wyomissing player to give the Thunderbolts the ball at the Spartans' 34-yard line.
Running back Jeremy Shoemaker started the drive with a 22-yard run and Cody Hartlaub finished it three plays later with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Unfortunately for Littlestown, that would be all the scoring it would have.
"I told the guys that it is not just about today's game," Lippy said. "It is about the journey that they took to get here."
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Littlestown 0 0 0 13 -- 13
Wyomissing 21 17 7 0 -- 45
Wyo -- Justin Causa 20 run (Jonah Bowman kick), 9:17
Wyo -- Causa 18 run (Bowman kick), 5:35
Wyo -- Alex Anzalone 44 run (Bowman kick), 3:27
Wyo -- Gerald Burns 45 pass from Joseph Cacchione (Bowman kick), 11:14
Wyo -- Scott McAvoy 22 run (Bowman kick), 7:21
Wyo -- Bowman 33 FG, 2:49
Wyo --Mason Smith 58 run (Bowman kick), 10:20
Lt -- Nick Hornbrook 4 pass from Dustin Crouse (kick failed), 5:13
Lt -- Cody Hartlaub 6 run (Dalton Strickler kick), 3:10
-- Lt -- Wyo
First downs -- 17 -- 28
Rushes-yards -- 27-65 -- 45-458
Passing -- 18-32-2 -- 5-9-0
Passing yards -- 190 -- 101
Total yards -- 255 -- 559
Punts -- 4-33.7 -- 0-0.0
Fumbles-lost -- 1-0 -- 2-1
Penalties-yards -- 3-25 -- 2-25
Rushing -- Lt, Jeremy Shoemaker 2-28, Crouse 11-12, Ryan Rickell 7-12, Dustin DeGroft 3-11, Cody Hartlaub 2-6, Ryan Griffin 1-3, Trevor Hildebrand 1-(-7); Wyomissing, McAvoy 8-131, Anzalone 8-106, Brandon Gonzalez 11-66, Causa 5-58, Smith 3-55, Tom Paolini 2-9, Joseph Cacchione 1-9, Sam DeBell-Mitton 1-8, Sam Weaver 1-5, Peter Bonino 2-4, Rahul Kalani 1-3, Eric Waxler 1-3, Josh Naylor 1-1.
Passing -- Littlestown, Crouse 17-30-2-190, Hildebrand 1-2-0-4; Wyomissing, Cacchione 4-7-0-100, Scott Kuczala 1-2-0-1, Brian Walters 0-0-0-0.
Receiving -- Littlestown, Hornbrook 8-85, Rickell 4-47, Seth McGregor 4-32, Garrett Trout, 1-25, DeGroft 1-5; Wyomissing, Gerald Burns 1-45, Causa 1-31, Spencer Lloyd 1-18, Smith 1-6, Bern Donahue 1-1.