CAMP HILL – Lyman Ward didn’t win a football game last season and from that standpoint, the 2014 campaign started the same way.
The Rangers fell to tough Springwood Academy 50-14 Friday night at Ranger Field, but despite the defeat there may have been a moral victory for Lyman Ward.
Despite falling behind 21-0 and later 50-8, the Rangers kept battling and showed some of their best offensive bursts in the second half.
“You have to keep battling,” Lyman Ward Coach Leon Day said. “You can’t go on to conquer in another battle until you finish what’s at hand. It would have been easy for them to quit, but they showed some signs of life in that second half.
“Then when we got rolling, you could see that spark. We just have to move on and build on that.”
Lyman Ward found itself outnumbered as Springwood dressed twice as many players as the Rangers.
There were some bright spots, but none bigger in the first half than an electrifying run by Darion Menifee. Just having gone down 21-0, Menifee was one of the upbacks on the kickoff return. Noah West’s kickoff bounced in front of Menifee, but he calmly gathered the ball and took off to the left sidelines. He made two tacklers miss, cut back on another and got a great block from Travis Ard.
When the play was done, Menifee had gone for a 73-yard kickoff return touchdown. Despite a five-yard penalty, Adarius Reese ran eight yards for the two-point conversion. That made it 21-8, but then Springwood exploded.
Springwood added touchdowns of 30, seven, 65 and 47 yards as well as a safety in the second quarter to lead 50-8 at the half.
Springwood had plenty of big plays. Springwood’s Steven Stuntz had a 21-yard touchdown run and took a fumble back 47 yards for a score. Jake Sullivan hauled in two touchdown passes from quarterback R.J. McDonald, on plays of seven and 65 yards.
Being the season opener for both teams, the game was sloppy across the board.
There were 19 penalties called in the first half alone, making two quarters take an nearly two hours to complete. In all, there were 24 penalties called in the game. Referees ordered a running clock in the second half and that seemed to speed up the Rangers.
Lyman Ward had a nine-play, 64-yard drive that ended with quarterback Elijah Wilson hitting Bralen Hardy in the back corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown with 3:17 left in the third quarter. The pass on the conversion attempt failed, making it made it 50-14.
Lyman Ward, who has won just 23 games over the last 13 years, will have a week off to prepare before traveling to play Cornerstone Christian Sept. 5.