Hornets trounce Muncy
By: Ed Weaver | WellsboroFootball.com | October 1, 2016
The Wellsboro Varsity Football team weathered a slow start to shutout Muncy 36-0 on Friday, September 30.
The win is the Hornets' sixth of the year and their fourth shutout of the season. Through six games the Hornets have allowed only 27 points (4.5 per game).
"I wasn't real pleased with execution and the penalties tonight," said head coach Matt Hildebrand. "We got the 'W' but we have to be better as we move ahead. We can't continue to start slow like this. I thought coming off of last week we got that out of our system but obviously we didn't. We have to find out what's causing that and fix that in practice this week because as we move ahead its' going to catch up to us."
It took the Hornets until their second drive of the night to find the end zone. A 31-yard punt return by junior Quinn Henry started Wellsboro at their own 46-yard line, then a catch and runs by junior Chase Moser march the Hornets down inside the Muncy 20. A 13 yard run by sophomore Robert Brown followed by a 4 yard run put the Hornets up 7-0 after junior Nic Ingerick's extra point with 1:06 left in the first quarter.
Wellsboro held Muncy to just 3 plays on their ensuing drive, which was hurt by 2 penalities, to take back over early in the second quarter. The Hornets again turned to their ground game and picked up 43 of the drive's 48 yards, including a 37-yarder by Henry, for the score. This time Moser capped the drive from a yard out to make the score 14-0 Hornets with just under 8 minutes remaining in the half.
The score remained 14-0 in favor of the Hornets for the rest of the half as two of the final three drives ended in turnovers. Junior Alex Kozuhowski fumbled the ball away on a punt return after the Wellsboro defense again forced Muncy to a three-and-out, but he made up for it a play later by intercepting Muncy's Coleman Good. Wellsboro would then turn the ball back over as Muncy's Jeff Fry intercepted Henry in the end zone.
The second half was a different story as Wellsboro scored on their opening possession.
"We had some mental adjustments to make at halftime," Hildebrand said. "The guys came out of the locker room and decided they wanted to play. We put it on the seniors and the captains and said it depends on what you want the outcome of this game to be because we left the door open. A 14 point game at the half, this team could have very easily came back and made this a lot different ball game. We can't do that, we can't leave the door open. We have to close the door on teams. We should have put the ball in the end zone more and should have had better decision making from some of our leaders."
After a holding penalty on the first play from scrimmage, the Hornets again turned to the ground game as the rain intensified. Moser picked up a gain of 32 down to the Muncy 36-yard line, then Brown rushed three straight times to give the Hornets a first down at the 25. Brown picked up a short gain on first down, then Henry broke loose for 13 yards to the 10 before rushing for the touchdown from 5 yards out with 7:46 remaining in the third. The Hornets elected to go for the two-point conversion, and senior Brandon Lamphier rushed in from 3 yards out to make the score 22-0.
The Hornet defense forced a second Muncy turnover on their next drive as junior Dalton Prough intercepted a Good pass and returned it for a touchdown, but the return was called back for a personal foul, giving the Hornets the ball at their own 49-yard line. The Hornets featured senior Dupree Hosey on the drive, and he picked up 25 yards on 4 carries to move the team inside the Muncy 25. With the Hornets facing third-and-5 from the 22-yard line, Henry setup a screen to senior tight end Parker Jones for a touchdown to push the score to 29-0, Wellsboro.
Muncy was unable to move pick up a first down on their following drive, giving the ball back to Wellsboro at midfield. Hosey again provided a spark for the Hornets' offense on a 47-yard run down to the Muncy 3, but Henry was intercepted in the end zone again by Fry to end the drive.
With Muncy pinned inside their 10-yard line, the Wellsboro defense again forced a punt. This time, Wellsboro scored a special teams touchdown as Henry returned Adam Dietrick's punt 38 yards. Ingerick's fourth extra point of the night was good, and Wellsboro increased their lead to 36-0. Neither team managed to do much on their final two drives of the night, giving the Hornets the win.
Henry finished the night 6-for-12 through the air for 75 yards, but picked up 96 yards on 11 carries, giving him 487 yards on the season and 1,541 for his career. Hosey finished the night with 69 yards on 7 carries and Moser added 12 carries for 66 yards. Jones was the leading receiver with 2 catches for 29 yards and a score, Moser caught 2 balls for 21 yards, and Kozuhowski finished with 27 yards on one grab.
Defensively, the Hornets allowed 71 total yards of offense. Brown led the team with 11 tackles on the night, junior Brent English pitched in with 8 tackles and a sack, and Jones and junior Collin Pietropola each recorded 5 tackles. Pietropola and Lamphier also recovered fumbles on the night.
"Our defense continues to play really well," Hildebrand concluded. "The continue to shut teams out week after week and it's great. We try to achieve perfection in all aspects of the game. As a coach that's what you want and you have high expectations. We have things to improve upon so we need to get better every week. We can't be the same team right now in week 6 going into week 10."
The win improves the Hornets' record to 6-0 (6-0 NTL). The team will look to remain undefeated next week as they travel to Cowanesque Valley.
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.