North Penn downs Canton.

By: Rich Rogers | Towanda Daily Review | November 1, 2009


CANTON - The Canton Warriors played ball control offense and tough defense for 38 minutes, leading 14-0 in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the game lasts 48 minutes, and in those final 10 minutes, North Penn scored three times to seal a 17-14 victory.

For the fan who loves smash mouth football run between the tackles, this was "must-see" football. The teams combined for 96 running plays on the afternoon, played in high winds and rain on a muddy Miller A. Moyer Memorial Field.

North Penn's opening drive resulted in a punt, and the Warriors went to work on their own 13-yard line. On the ensuing 15 play, 87 yard march, no less than five different players took turns churning out short gains, culminating with Quarterback Ben Pepper's dive for the left pylon from six yards out for the score. Pepper added the extra point and Canton led 7-0 at 3:04 of the opening period.

Both teams traded punts as the defenses took charge, with Canton slowly gaining a field position edge. Midway through the second quarter, the Panthers faced a third-and-14 from their own 15-yard line when Quarterback Mackey Stiner was sacked at his own five-yard line. Ryan Dinger's punt from the end zone was hurried, and traveled to only the 14-yard line. From there, the Warriors needed only three plays to punch it in, with Pepper sneaking into the end zone from five yards out. Again, Pepper's extra point was true and Canton took a 14-0 lead into the locker room.

The Warriors took the second half kickoff and continued their methodical march between the hashes, rushing 11 times to the North Penn 24-yard line, but a fourth-and-six pass from Pepper fell incomplete to end the drive. The teams traded punts for the remainder of the third quarter, and at the start of the forth, North Penn found themselves backed up again, facing second-and-11 from their own eight-yard line.

It was then that lightning finally struck for the Panther offense, as Stiner found Graeme Zaparzynski over the middle for a quick completion, which the senior wideout turned into a huge play as he outraced the Canton secondary for a 92 yard score. Eathan Wilston added the extra point, and suddenly it was a seven-point game with 10:16 left. It took only 38 seconds for the Panthers to even the score, as Logan Wise scooped up a Cody Wesneski fumble and raced 31 yards to the end zone. Wilston's extra point was good, and just like that the game was tied at 14.

Canton's ensuing drive ended at midfield, as Pepper's quarterback sneak on fourth-and-one was stuffed by the Panther line. North Penn, in turn, drove to the Warrior 15-yard line before fumbling the ball back to end the threat. Both teams traded punts, and the game appeared to be headed for overtime, until the Panther defense came up with another huge play, as Greg Pomarico intercepted a Pepper pass at the Warrior 38-yard line.

From there, the Panthers moved into field goal position, managing the clock perfectly and taking their final timeout with three seconds remaining while facing first-and-goal at the one-yard line. Wilston came in and coolly hit the game-winning 18 yard field goal as time expired and sent the North Penn sideline into celebration.

North Penn's Skye Stiner led all rushers with 103 yards on 26 attempts. Pepper led Canton with 87 yards on 13 carries with two scores.

Next week Canton travels to Troy to battle for the "Old Shoe," while North Penn plays Wellsboro.