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Wellsboro clinches NTL title with win over NP-Mansfield.

By: Terry Pruyne | Towanda Daily Review | October 30, 2016 | Photo courtesy Terry Pruyne

 

Wellsboro clinches NTL title with win over NP-MansfieldBLOSSBURG — With the irony of the lights going out at a football game in Mansfield — home of the first night football game in history — and the NTL Championship still undecided, North Penn-Mansfield and Wellsboro packed their buses and headed to Island Park Saturday to settle the score.

The Hornets held a 20-0 led at half and hoped the momentum would continue their way while the Panthers looked to regroup and mount a charge. Quinn Henry picked up where he left off, ending up with four touchdowns in the game that lasted two days for a 32-0 win.

Both teams seemed a bit off in the third quarter following the emotions of Friday night.

"It's an emotional game," said Wellsboro coach Matt Hildebrand. "It's a rivalry, so you come out last night and I was happy how our kids were focused. They were more focused than I'd seen them at this point in the year. Then you have half time and the lights go out. Then you have to try to keep them focused to play today — a noon game which is definitely out of the ordinary for them — to keep them on routine and then to come out focused again. The emotional drain can just wear on you."

North Penn punted at the beginning of the fourth quarter and Wellsboro took over on their own 36. After a couple of short-yardage plays and a holding call, the Hornets faced a third-and-16 at their 29-yard line. Henry called his own number and danced through the line before sprinting into the open field. Near the 10, Judsin Wise caught Henry, but Henry dragged Wise into the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown run and 26-0 lead.

On the following possession, Brock Burleigh ran for no gain and threw an incompletion. Then the senior quarterback found Joel Whitteker open for a 7-yard gain, three yards short of the sticks, and were forced to punt.

A short punt gave the Hornets the ball on the Panthers' 40. A five-yard by run by Chase Moser and an offside call handed Wellsboro a first down. North Penn stymied the Wellsboro offense and the Hornets faced a fourth-and-11, but Henry dropped back, rolled around buying time, and just as the Panthers defenders moved in on him he heaved the ball into the end zone. Brandon Lamphier, who was double teamed, came down with the ball for a score. However, a holding call negated the score and Wellsboro punted.

The game was all but over when the Panthers fumbled the punt and Alex Kozuhowski recovered the ball on the four for the Hornets. Three plays later Dupree Hosey scored from five yards out for the final tally of 32-0.

On Friday night, Henry connected with Lampier for a 55-yard touchdown pass for the game's first score. After Hunter Brown recovered a Whitteker fumble, Henry scored again on a 5-yard run to make it 14-0. The Hornets' final score on Friday came on Henry's 6-yard run.

Henry finished the game with 111 yards on 18 carries and completing 6 of 8 passes for 96 yards as well as four touchdowns.

"Quinn's a special player," Hildebrand said. "You can call the plays and draw everything out. But Quinn does a lot of things you can't teach or can't coach. He's a dangerous weapon and he's still only a junior, so he has a very bright future and he makes our team move forward."

Moser added 102 yards on 13 carries and Brandon Lamphier caught two passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.

For the Panthers, Burleigh completed eight of 20 passes for 63 yards while Brendan Hill added 36 yard on 16 carries.

The Wellsboro defense once again shutout an opponent for the seventh times this season. Only Athens, Troy, and Montgomery scored on the defense — a total of 33 points. Collin Pietrepola led the defense with nine tackles and a sack against North Penn.

"I have to give it out to our defense and our defensive coordinator, Mike Pietrepola," Hildebrand said. "He's one of the best defensive coordinators in District IV. He does great and has the guys ready. And he continues to shutdown teams... The kids get in and watch film, study a lot of film, and watch it during the week. They are very comfortable coming into the game and knowing what to expect. I'm very proud of the kids and how hard they worked and they're looking for more."

Wellsboro will host Hughesville next Friday at 7PM in the District IV playoffs.

"They accomplished what the set out to do at the beginning of the year," Hildebrand said. "One of our goals was to win an NTL title and to go undefeated. I think a lot of people said we didn't play a lot of competition and didn't know how good we could be or were, so we got tested a little bit here, but I'm happy with the way our guys played."