The postgame analysis was pretty simple Friday night at War Memorial Field.
Ephrata had five turnovers, while Donegal had zero.
Final score: Indians 31, Mounts 13.
“Way too many mistakes in that game,” Ephrata coach Kris Miller said of his team’s Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three loss. “You name it, we did it. You can't do that against a good football team.”
The Indians, meanwhile, were happy to be on the receiving end of three interceptions, a muffed kickoff and a muffed punt on the way to taking over sole possession of first place in the Section Three hunt.
“It's great when you can get turnovers," Donegal coach Chad Risberg said. "It totally flips the field and gives you momentum."
Joe Fox ran for 153 yards on 19 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns for the Indians (4-0 L-L, 4-1 overall), who scored 17 points in the second quarter to erase an early 7-0 deficit.
Ephrata (2-2, 2-3) took the opening kickoff and went 64 yards on six plays, grabbing the quick lead on Caden Keefer's 14-yard touchdown pass to Tucker Parmer.
“We were a little sluggish there at first," Risberg said. "I'm not sure if they were recognizing formations correctly, but we fixed it pretty quick."
Fox's first TD run, from 8 yards out, tied the game four plays into the second quarter. The ensuing kickoff bounced off the helmet of an Ephrata player and was recovered by Donegal at the Mounts' 39.
Five plays later, Garrett Blake rumbled in from seven yards out giving Donegal a 14-7 lead with 7:41 left in the half.
After forcing the Indians to punt from their own end zone, Ephrata was set up at Donegal's 39. Back-to-back completions, including a 15-yarder to Parmer resulted in a Mount's touchdown, but the PAT was blocked, so Donegal maintained its 14-13 lead.
In the closing minute of the half, Donegal punted, but the Mounts couldn't field it cleanly and the Indians recovered at Ephrata's 24.
The Indians capitalized when Jacob Erb booted a 37-yard field goal as the half expired, giving them a 17-13 lead.
"That was huge," Risberg said. "That puts us up four and we get the ball coming out of the half. That's kind of the way you want it to work when we defer at the start."
Conversely, Ephrata went to the break still in a one-possession game despite four turnovers.
"We came in at halftime and I said, ‘Look, we made every mistake we could possibly make, but the good news is we're only down four points,’ ” Miller said. "We just didn't recover from it."
Mason Ober sealed the deal for the Indians when he picked off Keefer and returned it 55 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.
That was about the time Donegal learned Lancaster Catholic was about to lose, which put the Indians alone in first place atop the section.
"The kids told me after the game, I didn't know," Risberg said. "I told them we could enjoy this one tonight and tomorrow, but then it's back to work. We have five games left."