Hornets stung for second straight loss.

By: Joe Wagner | Wellsboro Gazette | October 30, 1996


The Wellsboro Hornet football team lost it's second straight last Friday night to the Wyalusing Rams. The Hornets dropped the Parent's Night game 22-15 to the 8-1 Rams, who remain undefeated in NTL play.

The key to the Ram's victory was special teams.

Wyalusing's Josh Kilmer took Wellsboro's opening kickoff on his own 18-yard line and threaded his way between Wellsboro defenders for 82 yards and a Ram touchdown. The extra point attempt was good.

Before either offense touched the ball, the Hornet's found themselves down by seven points to a solid Wyalusing football squad.

The Hornet's proved their mettle on their opening series. Wellsboro tailback Matt Kennedy and fullback Mitch Marzo traded runs, combining speed and power to drive deep into Ram territory. But on the Wyalusing 17-yard line, the Hornets coughed up the ball on the hand off. The Rams recovered.

On Wyalusing's first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jason Bundle tossed a ball deep into Hornet coverage, and Matt Kennedy, also a Wellsboro defensive back, came up with the interception.

The Hornets could not capitalize on the turnover. After a series of punts, the first quarter came to a close with Wyalusing ahead by one score.

The Hornets then assembled a good drive utilizing their Power-I formation and huge offensive line.

Kennedy and Marzo swapped runs again to move the Hornets 78 yards for their first score of the night. Kennedy topped off the drive with a four yard run into the end zone. The extra point, however, was no good.

Wellsboro scored again in the second quarter. With two minutes left before the half, Wellsboro wide receiver Jamie Jones took the ball on a double reverse and rumbled 65 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Hornets went into halftime with a 12-7 lead.

The Rams mustered just 39 total yards in the first half to Wellsboro's 214.

Neither team could manage another score until late in the third quarter. Wellsboro's Ed Murphy picked off a pass and returned it 40 yards to the Wyalusing 39-yard line.

This helped set up a 31-yard Rolando Surrez field goal that put the score at 15-7.

Wyalusing answered once again with outstanding special teams play. The Ram's Jeremy Jones returned Wellsboro's kickoff to the Hornet 20-yard line.

Ryan Johns capped off the Rams ensuing scoring drive by taking a pitch to the outside for a four yard touchdown scamper. The Rams made good on their two-point conversion, tying the game at 15 all with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

On Wellsboro's next possession, the Ram defense forced the Hornets to punt the ball away from their own 23-yard line. Once more, the Wyalusing special teams did their thing. Johns returned Chris Fuller's punt 23 yards to just outside the Wellsboro 25-yard line.

On the next play from scrimmage, Wyalusing's Jesse Grippo caught a 26 yard touchdown pass from Bundle. The Rams' extra point was good to make the score 22-25 in favor of Wyalusing.

The Green Hornets could not manage another score in the 11 minutes remaining in the contest.

Matt Kennedy was the Hornet's leading ground gainer. He had 146 yards on 22 carries. Wellsboro quarterback John Lundgren threw nine times, completing four of those attempts. He had 78 yards through the air. Wellsboro amassed 348 yards to Wyalusing's total of 121. Wyalusing's return teams and fourth quarter defense won this game for them.

This loss is the first NTL loss that Wellsboro has suffered. They are now 4-1 in the league, while Wyalusing remains undefeated.

Next week, Wellsboro travels to Athens, which also has a league record of 4-1. The Rams will play Towanda.

For the Green Hornets to share an NTL title with Wyalusing, Wellsboro has to beat Athens, and the underdog Black Knights of Towanda have to beat Wyalusing.