Indians shut out Hornets with fourth quarter raid.

By: Lee Ed Thomas II | Wellsboro Gazette | October 18, 2000


What hope Wellsboro had of a comeback with one quarter remaining in their Homecoming game was quickly dashed away with three Muncy touchdowns for the 22-0 win.

Down 3-0 and opening the fourth quarter on offense, Wellsboro had time to formulate a comeback but two key Indian interceptions would deny Wellsboro a Homecoming game win Friday October 13.

Despite another solid defensive effort, Wellsboro's offense was unable to drive the ball in for the score.

"Offensively we're struggling," Wellsboro head coach Mike Pietropola said. "We can hold a team to three points but this is an example of where we didn't execute when we needed to."

Wellsboro's Luke Straniere had three passes picked off during the game.

The Green Hornets gave up another turnover when Dave Russell's halfback pass was picked off.

Wellsboro (2-5) opened the game and drove in to the end zone again and looked to score but came away empty handed.

But, for the most part, the Wellsboro defense off set any missed opportunity by the Green Hornet offense by picking off two key Mike Conner passes to end strong Muncy offensive drives.

The Wellsboro defense also held the Indians to 156 yards on offense.

"Our defense shut them down," Pietrppola said. "But we drove to the six-yard line in the first quarter and when you can't punch it in, that's the frustration."

Wellsboro's 147 yards rushing on offense was keyed by the return of Dave Russell who led the Green Hornets with 91 yards on 17 carries while teammate Derek Harsch added 41 to the offensive effort.

The only score in the first three quarters of play was a Muncy 17 yard field goal by Eric Stahl with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

For the remainder of the game up until the fourth quarter both defenses came up with the big plays to stop offensive drives.

Wellsboro came out in the second half and struggled offensively again. Muncy suffered the same frustration until the Indian defense changed the momentum of the game.

The Green Hornets were moving the ball successfully late in the third quarter but Muncy defensive back Justin Grenoble ignited the Muncy fourth quarter scoring engine. Grenoble picked off a second Straniere pass to give the Indians the ball.

Muncy then began to forge their way down field for the score behind the arm of Mike Conner. Conner connected with Maurer for a 12 yard touchdown reception but Wellsboro stopped the two point conversion run.

Muncy led 9-0 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game and Wellsboro had the ball but Muncy quickly got the ball back with their third interception of the night when Russell's halfback pass was picked off by Robert Haueleen.

Muncy (3-4) took over and drove down field behind the arm of Conner and the hands of Justin Grenoble. Maurer capped the drive off with a three yard jaunt into the end zone just under the three minute mark of the final frame. Eric Stahl added the extra point kick for the 16-0 lead.

Grenoble led the Muncy receivers with six receptions for 92 yards and two interceptions and one touchdown on defense. Conner completed eight passes for 122 yards and one touchdown.

Any chance of a comeback game ended when Grenoble caused a game meltdown when he picked off his second interception of the night and jogged in from 20 yards out for the score. Muncy failed on the two-point conversion attempt but led 22-0.

Wellsboro returns to NTL action Friday night when they host league powerhouse Wyalusing (6-1).

Wellsboro had held the Indians on defense with key interceptions by Jared Hurlburt and Kevin Schultz to end Indian offensive drives but Wellsboro couldn't generate enough offense to pound the ball in early and trailed 3-0 at the end of the first half.

Wellsboro will be looking to upset the Rams who are undefeated in the league.

"We need to work on our offense going into this week," Pietropola said of the preparation for Wyalusing Friday night.

"Wyalusing runs some simple plays and runs it down your throat. Defense is our strength and it will be interesting to see how we play against their running game of hard nose football," continued Pietropola.