NTL FOOTBALL: PANTHERS KEEP MORTY, TOP HORNETS IN ANNUAL RIVALRY GAME
(2023-10-27)Northern Tier West Sports Report
BLOSSBURG — North Penn-Mansfield scored 21 unanswered points here Friday night to down rival Wellsboro 21-6 and retain the Morton F. Jones Trophy.
The Panthers and Hornets combined for 175 yards in penalties and nine punts, as both squads struggled to maintain drives early.
Karson Dominick finished with 133 yards passing and two scores, completing 15 of his 21 attempts, and had an early interception that ended Wellsboro’s initial drive of the game. That pick was preceded and followed by Panther punts, a Wellsboro punt and another NP-Mansfield punt with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Wellsboro would take over at their own 14 and fed junior Ryder Bowen multiple carries. The junior had runs of eight and 11 yards to move the ball into Panther territory. A 16-yard pass from sophomore Marek Mascho to junior Will Gastrock put the ball on the North Penn 40.
From there, Bowen carried the ball four times, his final run going nine yards into the end zone with 9:22 left in the first half. Jonathan Carl's extra point was blocked, but Wellsboro held a 6-0 lead.
The lead didn't last long as the Panthers scored on their ensuing drive after starting at midfield after a penalty on the kickoff.
The Panthers put together a 7-play drive, culminating in an 11-yard Dominick-to-Cale Wagner pass, tying the game. North Penn went for the lead and got it, as Dominick found Wagner once again for the two point conversion and an 8-6 Panther lead with 5:34 left until halftime.
The score remained 8-6 in favor of the Panthers all the way to the 4th quarter, as the third frame played out much like the first and each team came out of the locker rooms and punted on their first two possessions.
The Panthers put together two fourth quarter scoring drives, starting with a Dominick 11-yard TD pass to Luke Kreger that started back at the Panther 17 and was aided by three Hornet penalties, two personal fouls and a pass interference.
Dominick's extra point attempt to make it a two-score game was wide left and the Panthers led 14-6 with 8:42 left.
Wellsboro was unable to get any offense generated and would punt the ball back to NPM with 6:46 left and the Panthers would capitalize .. as Wagner ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-1 to seal the win for NP-Mansfield.
Wagner finished with 102 yards rushing on 14 carries and the senior also caught four passes for 53 yards. Kreger had five catches for 35 yards and Cooper Shaw caught four balls for 26 yards.
Wellsboro’s Marek Mascho completed 7-of-16 passes for 16 yards, four of them going to Gastrock for 29 yards. Bowen had a career-high 172 yards on 27 carries and also led the Hornets with 9 tackles.
Luke Sexauer collected 10 tackles for the Panthers, while Shaw had seven stops and a sack and George Valentine had six tackles and a pick in his first action of the season.
With their second straight win the Panthers have now won the annual rivalry game three of the last four years.
North Penn-Mansfield finishes the regular season 4-6. They’ll be the No. 7 seed in the District IV Class 2A playoffs and will play at No. 2-seed Southern Columbia next week.
Wellsboro ends the season at 2-8 and on a six-game losing streak.
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