Black Knights Pitch 2nd Half Shutout, Down Wellsboro 41-19
By: Ed Weaver | WellsboroFootball.com | September 24, 2022
The Towanda Black Knights scored 27 unanswered points in the 2nd half to defeat the Wellsboro Varsity Football team 41-19 on Friday, September 23.
Riley Vanderpool was a workhorse for the Black Knights, accounting for 316 total yards. Vanderpool not only rushed for three scores, he also threw a touchdown in the 4th quarter and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score.
Early on in the game it looked like the Hornets were in control as they scored touchdowns late in the opening quarter, and a second not even four minutes into the start of the 2nd quarter, to take a 13-0 lead. On Wellsboro's second possession they put together a 9-play drive, highlighted by a 30-yard pass play from senior Conner Adams to senior Jack Poirier. Adams would cap the drive on a 20-yard run up the middle of the Black Knight defense. The extra point missed, however, and Wellsboro led 6-0 with 4:25 to play in the 1st.
Wellsboro ensuing drive also produced points. This time it was an 11-play drive that ended with Adams connecting with Poirier from 19 yards out. Poirier converted the extra point this time, and the Hornets led 13-0 with 8:25 remaining.
That's when Towanda and Vanderpool took over. On the following kick off, Vanderpool received the kick at his own 5, made a couple of defenders miss, and sprinted his way down the middle of the field for his first touchdown of the night, cutting Wellsboro's lead to 13-7. Towanda's next drive would end in a similar fashion, only this time Vanderpool scored from 9 yards out. Jack Wheaton's extra point pushed the Black Knights into the lead at 14-13.
Not to be outdone in the special teams game, Adams returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards in just 9 seconds, putting Wellsboro back in front, 19-14, with just over three minutes to play in the half. That would be the last time the Hornets found the end zone on the night.
As the second half got underway the Black Knights put together a 20-point quarter. Midway through Vanderpool found the end zone on a 5-yard run, putting the Black Knights back in front, 20-19, after a missed two-point conversion. Just over a minute later Vanderpool broke free on a 33-yard run to push the lead to 27-19, then Grady Flynn and Justin Schoonover connected on a 32-yard pass with 1:57 left in the 3rd to give Towanda a comfortable 34-19 lead.
The Black Knights' final touchdown came with 5:48 remaining as Vanderpool completed his only pass of the evening to Flynn for 28 yards and the game's final score.
Adams finished the night 10-of-17 for 93 yards and a touchdown while sophomore Will Gastrock was 1-of-4 for 16 yards. Adams and sophomore Ryder Bowen both carried the ball 14 times, with Bowen leading the way with 48 yards and Adams gaining 28. Poirier caught 5 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown while freshman Marek Mascho hauled in 2 passes for 32 yards. Senior Spencer Wetzel also caught 2 passes for 13 yards, and Gastrock also made two catches for 8 yards.
Senior Cameron Brought had 13 tackles on the evening while Bowen added 12. Will Gastrock and senior Wyatt Gastrock made 9 stopes each, and junior Hayes Campbell recorded 8 tackles.
Flynn finished 6-for-11 through the air for 98 yards and a touchdown. Vanderpool racked up 185 yards rushing on 31 carries and Schoonover caught 3 passes for 53 yards.
The loss drops the Hornets to 0-5 (0-4 NTL Large School Division). Next up for the Hornets is a match up with the Troy Trojans. Both teams have a short week as Troy makes the trip over on Thursday, September 29.
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.