Loyalsock tops North Penn
BLOSSBURG - North Penn fell behind early and never managed to close the gap on the visiting Loyalsock Lancers Friday night, losing their season opener 42-20.
Things couldn't have gone worse for the Panthers to start the game, as running back Bryce Zaparzynski fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage. The Lancers recovered the fumble and set up shop at the North Penn 39-yard line.
After two short runs, Loyalsock's quarterback Kyle Datres found receiver Mickey Haller streaking down the left side line for a 35-yard touchdown strike to put the Lancers on the board first. Datres scrambled on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt to put the Lancers up 8-0 with 10:33 left in the first quarter.
North Penn's ensuing possession stalled after quarterback Bo Burleigh failed to connect with receiver Bryce Zaparzynski on third down and forced the Panthers to punt the ball on fourth down from their own 39-yard line.
Loyalsock's ensuing drive took up most of the first frame, as they ran twelve plays totaling 69 yards. Two 15-yard penalties on North Penn kept the Lancer's drive alive before Robbie Newton scored the second touchdown of the game for Loyalsock on a 5-yard run up the middle. The ensuing two point conversion attempt was no good after an illegal forward pass was called and the Lancers held a 14-0 lead with 4:54 to play in the first quarter.
"They went up 14-0 in the blink of an eye," head coach Tom Dickinson said. "You can't do that against a good football team."
North Penn again failed to get anything going on the ground or through the air and punted after their second three-and-out of the first quarter.
On the Lancer's next drive Datres found Jimmy Webb in the flat, and Webb turned it up field for a 37-yard gain to set the Lancers up at the North Penn 42-yard line. North Penn looked to have held their ground, forcing Loyalsock into a third-and-twenty situation, before Datres scrambled long enough to find a wide open Mickey Haller on the right side line to pick up the first down. Two straight running plays for three yards ended the quarter with Loyalsock already ahead 14-0. After two more running plays and a short gain on a screen pass, Datres found the endzone on an 11-yard quarterback keeper. The Lancers completed the two-point conversion attempt and went up 22-0 with 10:05 to play in the first half.
North Penn starter their next drive in great field position after a Brady Andrews kick return to their own 44-yard line. Burleigh finally got some traction through the air, completing four of his eight passes on the drive for 32 yards before the Lancers defense stood tall on forced a turnover on downs at their own 24-yard line.
The Lancers drove to the North Penn 35-yard line on nine plays before the Panthers defense turned the tables and forced a turnover on downs of their own, stopping the Lancers a fourth-and-twenty situation.
The Panthers offense would again stall, going three-and-out on three straight pass attempts, totaling -3 yards on the short-lived drive.
The Lancers would receive the punt and use five plays to march across midfield and to the North Penn 27-yard line before the Panthers Trey Gibson sacked Datres from behind, forcing the fumble. North Penn recovered and started their ensuing possession at their own 23-yard line with 2:32 left in the first half. After a short run, a sack and another incompletion, the Panthers were forced to punt after their third three-and-out of the night.
Loyalsock took over with 1:16 to play in the half and used eight plays to march to the North Penn 22-yard line before Datres pass into the endzone was intercepted by Zaparzynski and returned 50 yards as time expired in the second quarter with the Lancers up 22-0.
After trading punts twice, North Penn's Zaparzynski got the Panthers on the board with a 70-yard punt return touchdown. The Panthers two-point conversion attempt was intercepted and the Lancers lead 22-6 with 3:56 to play in the third quarter.
Loyalsock's offense would again get rolling on their next drive, using a balanced offense to march down the field before running back #22 found the endzone on an eleven yard outside run. Robbie Newton hauled in the pass on the two-point conversion attempt and the Lancers extended their lead to 30-6 with 24 seconds to play in the third quarter.
The Panthers ended the third quarter on a high note, using two plays to gain 21 yards before the third quarter expired. The Panthers quickly marched deep into Loyalsock territory, and after four attempts from within the 10-yard line, Zaparzynski found the endzone on a three yard run on fourth and goal. The Panthers' two-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 30-12 with 9:53 to play in the game.
Loyalsock didn't allow the hope of a comeback to live long, as running back Robbie Newton went between the tackles and dashed 51 yards for the Loyalsock touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the Lancers led 36-12 with 7:45 left to play.
Things went from bad to worse, as the third play of the North Penn's ensuing drive was intercepted by Loyalsock's Fletcher Quigley.
Loyalsock's reserve quarterback Kardale Taylor found Jimmy Webb on a quick out pattern to the left for a 68-yard touchdown to put the game well out of reach. The two-point conversion attempt was intercepted, and Loyalsock led 42-12 with 4:59 to play in the game.
North Penn would put together an impressive drive as time ran out, as Zaparzynski found the endzone for on a five yard run. The two-point conversion try was caught by Dayton Wood, setting the final score at Loyalsock, 42 - North Penn, 20.
Zaparzynski finished the game with 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 carries, 17 receiving yards and one punt return for a touchdown.
Burleigh went 6-19 through the air for 43 yards and one interception, and rushed five times for thirteen yards.
Loyalsock's Datres went 20-30 through the air for 216 yards and one touchdown and one interception, and ran for 21 yards and one touchdown.
"The Northern Tier has high quality football programs," Loyalsock Head Coach Alex Jackson said. "It gives us a different perspective to play these teams in the regular season, and to get some film on them."
North Penn will travel to Athens to play the Wildcats next Friday.