Defenders hault Hornets' bid for undefeated season.

By: Joe Wagner | Wellsboro Gazette | October 16, 1996

 

The Wellsboro Green Hornets football squad fell to the Defenders of Warrior Run 34-14 last Friday night to end Wellsboro's winning streak at six games.

Despite their 3-3 record, the Defenders were the toughest team the Hornets have faced this year.

Warrior Run started strong in the first three games of their season, but lost consecutively to powerhouses Southern Colombia, Montoursville and Danville.

Wellsboro and Warnor Run have never faced one another. The Defenders were, however, one of the easiest squads the Green Hornets had to prepare for. Warrior Run employs basically the same I-formation running game as Wellsboro.

The Hornet defense showed spark on the very first play from scrimmage Matt Kennedy, of Wellsboro, picked off Warrior Run quarterback Scott Shaffer's pass and returned it to Wellsboro's 48-yard line.

During their first possession, the Hornet offense could not move the ball against the stingy Defenders and had to punt the ball.

Duane Stocum, Wellsboro's 270-pound defensive tackle, and the rest of the Hornet defense stuffed Warrior Run's first series of plays.

Stocum recorded three tackles and a sack to lead the charge against the Defenders.

The Hornets received the Defenders' first punt and started on their own 49-yard line.

Senior tailback Matt Kennedy and senior fullback Mitch Marzo traded runs to advance the Hornets 30 yards to within field goal range. Placekicker Dave Laczi's boot, however, was wide left from 34 yards out.

The Wellsboro defense continued to stymie the Defenders running game until a 15 yard penalty against the Hornets gave Warrior Run momentum. Mark Jones, the Defenders' quick-hitting fullback, found a crease in the Hornets' defense and ripped through it for a 16 yard gain.

While the Green Hornets were reeling, the Defenders ran an option pass from running back Adam McCormick to tight end Chad McCormick. The trick play resulted in a 35 yard touchdown pass for Warrior Run. The extra point attempt was good, and the Wellsboro Green Hornets found themselves in a hole for the first time this season.

The Hornets answered immediately.

Senior wide receiver and kick returner Ed Murphy fielded the kick off on his own 12-yard line and slashed his way to midfield. Marzo and Kennedy again put together a balanced running attack to set up an Andy DeLeonardis two yard touchdown run. Wellsboro's victory cannon exploded triumphantly despite Lazci's missed extra point attempt.

The Defenders wasted no time in responding to Wellsboro's first score. On the second play of Warrior Run's drive, Shaffer connected with his tight end, Chad McCormick, for a 76 yard touchdown pass. The Defenders missed the extra point.

The Hornets could not muster a drive during their next possession.

The swarming Wellsboro defense put a damper on the Warrior Run ground attack as well.

On the Defenders' ensuing punt, Wellsboro punt returner Jamie Jones failed to handle the ball.

Warrior Run came up with the fumble on Wellsboro's 16-yard line. The Hornet defense toughened up, yet again, and made the defenders settle for a missed field goal at the end of the first half.

"We were not in bad shape going in to the half with the score at 13-6," said Wellsboro Head Football Coach Russ Manney. "I thought we were doing well on defense."

The Hornet offense showed signs of settling down early in the third quarter Marzo however, fumbled a pass from John Lundgren, the Wellsboro quarterback. The Defenders recovered the ball and marched down the field for another touchdown. Moore bolted the last two yards inte the end zone for the Defenders.

Wellsboro could not put together a scoring drive during their next possession and turned the ball over on downs. Moore scored again on his first play from scrimmage for the Defenders. He rambled through the Wellsboro defense for 67 yards before reaching the goal line.

With two minutes left in the third quarter, Wellsboro found themselves deep in a 27-6 hole. Once again the Green Hornets were smothered by a solid defense.

Warrior Run's Shaffer tossed one more touchdown pass before Wellsboro could end the nights scoring.

With 8:19 left in the game and the score at 34-6, the Green Hornets recovered a fumble on the Defenders 25-yard line. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Warrior Run, the Hornets found only 10 yards between themselves and the goal line.

After two running plays Marzo charged six yards for Wellsboro's second score of the night. DeLeonardis scrambled around the right end to add the two-point conversion.

Wellsboro got the ball back again but was unable to add any points. At the final buzzer the score was set at 34-14 with Warrior Run as the victors.

Moore was the leading rusher of the game. The senior from Warrior Run compiled 113 yards on 19 carries. Kennedy had 81 yards on 13 carries for Wellsboro. The difference in this game was in passing Warrior Run passers combined for a total of 226 yards on seven of 12 attempts.

John Lundgren and Kyle Norton, the Wellsboro passers went 4 for 14 and had only 41 total yards through the air.

This week the Green Hornets are idle. Manney thinks this will be positive for his team since he feels the Hornets are tired and are not playing with emotion.

"We made a lot of fundamental mistakes," said Manney. "We are not as good as we thought we were. We need to get more peppy."

Wellsboro will face a good Wyalusing team in their last home game of the season. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 25 at the Wellsboro High School.