Panthers suffer 51-6 season opener defeat

Turnovers, special teams blunders doom North Penn-Mansfield

by Ed Weaver – August 27, 2018

Turnovers and two special teams mistakes spelled disaster in the 2018 season opening football game for the North Penn-Mansfield Panthers against Montoursville on Friday, August 24.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult battle coming down here,” said Panther head coach Tom Dickinson. “We had some injuries and whatever could go wrong did in the first half. We have an interception for a touchdown, a punt block for a touchdown, and a kick return for a touchdown, so you can’t overcome that with some young players. We’ll learn from this and we have nine more games.”

On the third play of scrimmage quarterback Brent Burleigh’s pass was intercepted by Logan Ott and returned for a touchdown to put the Panthers in an early deficit. Montoursville then increased their lead later in the opening quarter as Dylan Moll found the end zone to make it 14-0.

Two more Warrior scores in the second quarter put the Panthers further behind the eight ball before they managed to find the end zone. Cameron Wood was the first Warrior to score in the quarter then the special teams unit got in on the action as Dylan Bennett came off the Panthers’ left edge to block a punt which was picked up by Logan Balouris.

Trailing 27-6 the Panthers mounted their best drive of the night as the first half came to a close. The Panthers dialed up Mikah Kolb on multiple run attempts. Kolb was able to turn small plays into big hitters to work the Panthers down into Warrior territory. Eventually the Panthers wound up inside the Warrior 5-yard line where Kolb finished the drive, bulldozing his way into the end zone to cut the score to 27-6.

The momentum the Panthers gained from that touchdown was short-lived, however, as Ott returned the ensuing kickoff through the middle of the North Penn-Mansfield defense to give the Warriors a 34-6 lead at halftime.

After intermission the Warriors added another touchdown. Quarterback Hunter Shearer found Jaxon Dalena open in the back right corner of the end zone to push the score to 41-6. Later in the fourth, Rocco Pulizzi ripped off a strong run, breaking tackles in the back field, then fighting to get across the goal line to make it 48-6.

Montoursville’s final points came on a 35-yard field goal by Colin Gorini, securing the 51-6 season-opening win for the Warriors.

Shearer finished 9-of-10 through the air for 100 yards and a touchdown, Pulizzi led the ground attack with 62 yards on 7 carries, and Dalena hauled in 4 passes for 55 yards for the Warriors.

Burleigh was 9-for-16 for 47 yards and an interception and Kolb rushed 15 times for 83 yards for the Panthers.

North Penn-Mansfield (0-1) hosts Athens (1-0) at Island Park on Friday, August 31.

Credits:
Idea/Concept: Ed Weaver
Videography: Kaitlyn Callahan, Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Kaitlyn Callahan
Writing: Ed Weaver
Anchor: Ed Weaver
Correspondent: Kaitlyn Callahan

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by Citizens & Northern Bank, Matthews Motor Company

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