Solid defensive effort falls short in Hornets' Homecoming game.

By: Chris McGann | Wellsboro Gazette | October 19, 2005


Wellsboro vs. TroyThe Wellsboro Green Hornets football team suffered a heartbreaking 27-13 defeat against Troy in front of a large Homecoming crowd Friday night.

A solid defensive effort, includmg two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, kept Wellsboro in the game well into the fourth quarter. A long touchdown by Troy late in the final quarter sealed the game for the Trojans.

The game really seemed to turn on a wild play in the third quarter. Troy was driving after a Hornet touchdown that put Wellsboro ahead 13-2 when Troy's Anthony Carter coughed up the ball at his own 33-yard line. Wellsboro's Jake Monks scooped it up for what looked like an easy score.

However, Monks fumbled the ball just outside the end zone and the ball rolled through the back of the end zone. By rule, the ball went back to Troy on its own 20-yard line. The Trojans would later score and never look back.

"We gave up some big plays and we could not get any breaks to go our way," Wellsboro head coach Chris Morral said.

He said he is looking for his young Hornets to keep improving and limit mental mistakes. "Instead of giving up big plays, we need to make big plays," Morral said.

Troy came into the league matchup with a 4-2 overall record, but was coming off a 21-6 loss to Loyalsock. Wellsboro (2 - 5) was also coming off a 21-6 loss to Muncy.

On Friday, the Hornet defense shone early on the wet and muddy field. On Troy's first drive, which lasted seven plays, the Hornets had a stop for a loss, forced a fourth-and-six, and saw Troy throw two incompletions. The Hornets wrapped up the defensive series with a fumble recovery by Chris Copp.

The offense could not do much on their first series, only advancing to about midfield. During the drive, Jesse Tom had a reception for 11 yards and a run for 19 yards. However, he was shaken up after a pair of one yard gains. He only had one more run for Wellsboro, before sitting out for the last three quarters. The Hornets would later learn that Tom's injury will likely end his season.

Neither team would threaten to score in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Wellsboro faced a fourth-and three at its own 37-yard line. Jake Coolidge's 36-yard punt, helped by a nice bounce and roll, pinned Troy at its own 27-yard line.

However, on the very next play, Troy quarterback Ryan Ammerman called his own number, ran a sweep around the right right side, and went the whole way untouched for the game's first score. Troy missed the extra point, but took the lead 6-0.

As if responding to a challenge, Wellsboro quarterback Tim Shaw ran a similar route on the Hornets' next play. His quarterback keeper netted 19 yards before he was pulled down by Matt May.

With Tom out, Wellsboro turned to the two Jakes - Monks and Coolidge - who did most of the work on the ground to drive the ball to the Troy six-yard line.

On a critical fourth-and-three deep in Troy territory, Shaw just managed to get the three yards. After a measurement, the Hornets found themselves with first-and-goal on the Troy three-yard line.

On the very next play, Shaw was nearly sacked and nearly intercepted, but on the broken play he was still able to find Coolidge down the middle for the touchdown. With the successful extra point, Wellsboro took a 7-6 lead with 4:45 left in the half.

On the ensuing Troy drive, Wellsboro held the Trojans on a fourth down and ten near midfield . On their first play, Wellsboro's Erik Coolidge gained five yards. On the very next play, Shaw found himself under pressure and threw an interception to Bradly Morgan, who returned it for a Troy touchdown.

The two-point conversion attempt was no good, but Troy took a 12-7 lead into the locker room at half time.

The Hornets looked poised to take the lead early in the second half as Monks nearly broke the opening kickoff for a touchdown. He was brought down at the Troy 42-yard line by the kicker Mark McClure, who was the only player between Monks and the end zone.

The Hornets would go three and out on the possession, but managed to punt to the Troy 14-yard line. The Trojans would also go three and out and nearly saw Pat Clark intercept Ammerman. With the help of a holding penalty and a sack by Chet Johnson, Wellsboro forced Troy to punt from deep in the end zone.

The Hornets would only need three plays before Shaw found a wide open Cameron Hubbard down the middle for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, but the Hornets were able to take the lead 13-12.

On Troy's next series, the Trojans again found themselves pinned deep. It was on the third play that Monks picked up the fumble, but lost the ball near the goal line, giving it back to Troy at the 20-yard line.

Morral said the call is correct had Monks not crossed the goal line. However, he said, the game tape shows Monks had scored before losing the ball.

Troy capitalized on the Hornets' missed opportunity and were able to drive for another score The drive featured a 49 yard scamper by Ammerman and a direct snap to May. who picked up 16 yards. Ammerman finished off the drive with a short run. Ammerman also took the ball in on the two-point conversion attempt, and Troy took the lead, 20-13.

Wellsboro ended a three-and-out series as time expired in the third quarter.

Things seemed to be looking up for Wellsboro on the next defensive series. On Troy's first play, Johnson deflected a screen pass. Three plays later, Hubbard showed that he can catch on defense as well as offense as he picked off an Ammerman pass to give Wellsboro the ball at its own 44-yard line.

The Hornets drove to the Troy 27-yard line before Adam Lutz picked off a Shaw pass. Five plays later, Ammerman found Kevin McDonnell, who burned the Hornets for a 59 yard touchdown reception. The extra point was good and Troy extended their lead to 27-13 with 3:20 left in the game.

The Hornets tried to respond as Jake Coolidge picked up 33 yards on Wellsboro's next offensive play. A short gain, an incompletion, and a sack gave the Hornets a fourth-and-21 at their own 43-yard line. Shaw tried to find Hubbard, but the pass was incomplete Troy took over and ran out the clock to get the win.

Wellsboro's next matchup, is the Saturday afternoon contest at Cowanesque Valley. Their final home game is October 26 against Athens. The Hornets wrap up then season at North Penn as the two teams compete for The Morton Jones Trophy.