Hornets shutout Towanda, 21-0
By: Ed Weaver | WellsboroFootball.com | September 17, 2016
The Wellsboro Varsity Football team won their fourth game of the year, and third by shutout, 21-0 over Towanda on Friday, September 16.
The Hornet defense, who has only allowed 14 points the entire season (3.5 points per game), pitched another shutout, their third of the 2016 season, and helped the sluggish Wellsboro offense. The Hornets managed to rack up 289 yards of total offense on the night, compared to the Black Knights' 94, but Wellsboro had trouble finishing drives early on.
"We left a lot of points on the board in the first half and for whatever reason it's kind of been our M.O. that we come to Towanda start slow," said head coach Matt Hildebrand. "It's been a struggle for us over here and I'm happy to get out of here with a victory. Jamie Wecker (Towanda's Defensive Coordinator) gives me fits every year on the offensive side of things. He's a good coach and they come in and run a great scheme. It was difficult all night and we need to find a way to finish drives and get points when we're down in the red zone."
After forcing a Towanda three-and-out on their first possession, Wellsboro started at their own 21-yard line and junior Chase Moser broke a 52 yard run on the Hornets' third play from scrimmage down to the Towanda 12. From there, short runs by Moser and junior quarterback Quinn Henry got the ball to the 3, but Wellsboro was unable to pick up a yard on fourth down and turned the ball back over to Towanda.
The next two Black Knight drives ended with a punt and a turnover as junior Dalton Prough intercepted a pass and returned it down to the Towanda 4. The following Wellsboro drive was hampered by a lineman downfield penalty that moved the ball back to the 8. After two incomplete passes, junior Nic Ingerick lined up for a 25 yard field goal, but the kick missed ending another potential scoring drive.
The Hornets finally picked up some momentum late in the second quarter after the defense forced another Towanda punt. The offense took over on their owen 39-yard line and on third down Henry hit senior Parker Jones on a screen pass that went for 19 yards and a first down inside the Towanda 40. After two short runs by Moser, and then a run for no gain, the Hornets were facing a fourth-and-three, where Henry again hit Jones, this time for 13 yards down to the Towanda 19. After an incomplete pass Moser carried the Hornets to their first score. Moser picked up a gain of 12 and then a gain of 7 for the score to make it 7-0 Wellsboro with 3:27 remaining in the half after Ingerick's kick.
Wellsboro had yet another opportunity to put points on the scoreboard after senior Brandon Lamphier intercepted a pass. The Hornets went back to their ground game and picked up gains of 5 and 19 yards by Moser down to the Towanda 27, but an interception ended the drive and Towanda ran out the half.
The second half started the same way the first half did for the Hornets. Wellsboro put together a 10-play drive that featured multiple runs by Henry and Moser and a pass from Henry to Lamphier to get inside the Towanda 20. The drive ended as Townada stopped the Hornets on fourth-and-10. Wellsboro's defense kept Towanda at bay, forcing another punt, to get the ball back. Junior Alex Kozuhowski fielded the punt and returned it 26 yards to the Towanda 20-yard line. After a short gain by freshman Aidan Hauser, the Hornets were hit with a holding penalty backing them up to the 27. From there, on third down, Henry dropped back and lofted a pass to the back of the end zone for Jones. The 6-ft, 6-in tight end reached out with one hand to make the catch over a Towanda defender for the score with 4:32 left in the third quarter. Ingerick's extra point split the uprights and Wellsboro held a 14-0 lead.
Wellsboro and Towanda then traded drives for the majority of the fourth quarter before the Hornets caught a break on special teams. On fourth down from the Towanda 43-yard line, a bad snap went over the head of Towanda's Wyatt Ferris that the Hornets' Hunter Brown recovered on the 20. Wellsboro's offense dailed back up their ground game and picked up a 15 yard run by Moser down to the 5 on first down, then Henry capped the drive from 2 yards out with 4:35 remaining in the game to make it 21-0 after Ingerick's third extra point of the night.
Henry finished 6-for-17 through the air for 74 yards with a touchdown and interception. Jones was the leading receiver with 3 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. Moser carried the ball 18 times for 142 yards and a score and Henry rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jones recorded 12 tackles, sophomore Robert Brown and junior Collin Pietropola both had 11 tackles, and Brown had a sack.
"Our defense continues to play great football," continued Hildebrand. "The pressure builds on me on the offensive side to put it in the end zone. Mike Pietropola does a great job with our guys. We have a lot of guys that get in on defense and they just continue to step up and do good things for us."
Next week the Hornets (4-0) will play their first "home" game at Mansfield University against Troy (2-2).
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.