Green Hornets retain Trophy.

By: Joe Wagner | Wellsboro Gazette | September 3, 1997

 

Island Park was packed and the Bob and Marion Jones Field sidelines were congested with home-town fans and visitors alike last Friday night.

The Morton Jones Trophy game between the North Penn Panthers and the visiting Wellsboro Green Hornets was the first one under the new lights at the newly christened field. But despite the pomp of the opening ceremonies, from the very first series, one could tell that it would not be an opener that the North Penn Panthers would like to remember.

Wellsboro won the toss and elected to receive the kickoff from the south end of the field. Nate Singer fielded the North Penn kickoff around Wellsboro's 10-yard line and swerved his way to the Green Hornet 43-yard line to give the Hornets excellent field position on their first drive.

Wellsboro did not go to the air one time in their first series. Instead, they relied on the 1,400 pounds of offensive linemen blocking for a tailback who runs the 40 yard dash in under 4.5 seconds. On the first play from scrimmage, Wellsboro speedster, Jamie Jones, found a hole in the center of the Panther defense and bolted for eight yards into Panther territory.

Jones and fullback Andy DeLeonardis busted for four and three yards on the next two plays. Then Jones bolted for 10 yards and then for 15 yards to the North Penn 10-yard line.

It took three bruising runs by DeLeonardis and Jones to cover the ten yards to the end zone. Jones took the ball in from the three-yard line for the score. He was stopped initially at the line of scrimmage, but managed to squirt into paydirt on his second effort.

The Wellsboro extra point was good. With 8:25 left in the first quarter the score was set at 7-0. It never got any better for the Panthers. North Penn only managed seven offensive plays in their next two drives, netting only nine yards.

On their second series, Keaundrea Jackson managed a 15 yard run around the right side of the Green Hornet defensive front for the Panthers. That gain was however nullified when North Penn quarterback Nate Tompkins fumbled in the face of stiff pressure from the Hornets pass rush. J.D. Baker, a Panther running back, recovered the fumble for a ten yard loss.

Wellsboro Coach Russ Manney's defensive questions seemed to be answered at this point. The Hornet linebackers were green, in that they had not had more than spot duty experience in the previous season. However, the Hornet defense did step up against the Panther Winged-T backfield.

The Green Hornets scored again early in the second quarter. On a first down and twenty, Jones hit Deleonardis out of the backfield for a 36 yard pitch and catch touchdown.

Jackson blocked the extra point attempt for the Panthers to make the score 13-0 with Wellsboro as the leaders at the end of the first half. Neither team could manage another strong drive until Jones busted loose in the middle of the third quarter.

The Panthers had pinned Wellsboro deep in their own territory on a punt by Tompkins. On the very next play, Jones busted off tackle to the right and raced 90 yards for the final score of the night. Kyle Norton added two points on the conversion with a quarterback sneak and the visiting Green Hornets found themselves the victors.

This year marks the third year in a row that Wellsboro has shut out the Panthers, retaining the Morton Jones trophy. Wellsboro beat North Penn 8-0 two years ago and 21-0 last year.

Jones was the game's leading yardage gainer with 178 running yards. Norton completed five of 16 passes for a total of 83 yards and one touchdown. DeLeonardis contributed 53 rushing yards to go along with his touchdown catch.

The Panthers were held to under 100 yards of offense on the night with 97 rushing yards and no passing yards against the Wellsboro defense. Josh Zimmerman came up with an interception for the Green Hornets as well. Jackson toted the ball for 71 yards on 14 carries.