By: Ed Weaver | WellsboroFootball.com | November 2, 2013
It was a record setting night for the Wellsboro Varsity football team in Blossburg Friday night.
Not only did the Hornets bring back the Morton F. Jones Trophy back for the second year in a row, they also won their first outright NTL title (first time since 1977-78), and finished the regualr season with an undefeated record of 10-0 (the only true undefeated team in program history).
Also on the night, Senior Brandon Owlett made history two times as he became the first receiver in the Wellsboro Football Record Books* with 1,000 receiving yards on the season. Owlett also caught his 17th touchdown pass of the season.
After giving up an early touchdown that resulted in good field position from a punt return, the Hornets had their way with the Panthers the rest of the night. The stingy Wellsboro defense held the Panthers to 132 yards of total offense, and only allowed 1,000-yard rush Bryce Zaparzynski to only 46 yards.
Trailing 6-0, Wellsboro got on the scoreboard with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter as Senior Jermain Brooks scored his first of four touchdowns on the night on a four yard run. Junior Jack Chambers' extra point was good and the Hornets led 7-6. With just under three minutes left in the half, Brooks broke free on a 36 yard run to put the Hornets up 14-6, and would add another touchdown with three seconds left in the half as Junior Quarterback Michael Pietropola found Senior Dylan Prough wide open in the back right corner of the end zone for a 21-6 lead.
In the third quarter, Owlett caught his 17th touchdown pass of the season from Pietropola with 5:27 remaining to give the Hornets a 28-6 lead. Brooks scored his third touchdown of the night with 1:06 left in the quarter on an eight yard dash, and would add a 66-yarder with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to ice the victory for the Hornets.
The win not only gives the Hornets the Number 2 seed in District IV Class A playoffs, where they will face South Williamsport next week at Mansfield University, but it also knocks North Penn out of Class AA playoff contention as Townada and Mifflinburg advanced past them in the final standings.
"We just had to let everybody know that even though we can pass, we're still a threat to run the ball," Brooks said. "I just let my blocks set up and then I can burst out. Without the offensive line and Wyatt Covert, none of this happens."
"There was a lot of things we had on the line, so we told the kids just take care of the little things," said head coach Matt Hildebrand, "Don't turn the ball over and just do the things we've been doing all year to get us to this point. I think we did that. Getting a win takes care of that NTL title, a win over our rival and getting us to 10-0."
Pietropola finished the night 19-32 with 233 passing yards and two touchdowns, giving him 2,510 and 37 touchdowns on the season. Brooks led the Hornets groud attack, gaining a career-high 225 yards and four touchdwons to give him 891 for the season. Owlett led the receiving corps with 6 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Prough added 3 catches for 31 yards, Junior Kieron Smethers caught 4 balls for 36 yards, Brooks hauled in 5 passes for 63 yards, and Senior Nate Logan came up with a catch.
Next week the Hornets will be in post-season play for the first time since the 2008 season as they take on South Williamsport. Stay tuned to WellsboroFootball.com and WellsboroAthletics.com as the date and time for next week's game will be announced.
* - Records may not be accurate to date due to incomplete stats. If you know of a record not currently listed on this page, or have game statistics or film from previous years, please contact us.
Ed Weaver is the owner of Circle W Sports in Wellsboro, PA, is the Sports Director for The Home Page Network and the creator of WellsboroAthletics.com and WellsboroFootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.