By: Michael Watkins | Towanda Daily Review | November 13, 2010 | Photo courtesy Mike Watkins
TOWANDA - The Towanda Knights took on the Hughesville Spartans and took them down to the tune of 56-21.
Coming into the game almost everybody expected both teams to put up big numbers on the ground and that was just the case, the two teams rushing for 644 yards combined. The deciding factor in the game turned out to be turnovers and the ability to convert first downs. Towanda never turned the ball over and converted 26 first downs. This gave the Knights the edge and they ended up winning big.
Hughesville started the game off on offense with a series of 11 runs and one pass, but ultimately ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Towanda three-yard line. Despite the long field, Towanda converted a big pass play to Jordan Dawsey and a few big runs from Mason Roof and Cody Miller, which helped them march down the field to the 10 yard line, where Jordan Dawsey took it in from there on a nice run with just over a minute remaining in the opening quarter. On Hughesville's next possession Cody Butler broke a 49 yard run for a touchdown to even the score at seven.
The Knights got back to work on offense and picked up right where they left off as Cody Miller completed another long pass, this time to Zach Ripic. From there they converted a few first downs on the ground before Cody Miller called his own number and ran it in from the one-yard line. After a Hughesville three-and-out, a great punt return, Towanda started their drive at the Hughesville 34-yard line. From there Miller scrambled for a decent gain and then threw his first touchdown of the night to Mason Roof. Hughesville again worked their way into Towanda territory, but again turned the ball over on downs.
After a 37 yard run from Roof, Miller was able to punch it in from 14 yards out to put the Knights up 28-7 with 24 seconds left in the half. Towanda squib kicked to the Spartans who returned the ball to the Towanda 38 with three seconds remaining in the half. Hughesville threw a long pass to Cody Butler after the defender appeared to get tripped up, and Butler scored at the buzzer to bring the game to 28-14.
Hughesville opened up the second half with a successful onside kick; they recovered the ball at the 50-yard line. Ethan Showers, who had 138 yards rushing on the night, got 43 of those yards on the ensuing play, which allowed Cody Butler to score from three yards out to bring the game back to a score game.
It didn't stay this way for long however, as Towanda put together a nice drive featuring Mason Roof, and capped it off on a 24 yard touchdown pass from Miller to Casey Huff. From that point the game was all Towanda. Hughesville again turned the ball over on downs and Mason Roof made them pay on a 57 yard gallop to the end zone to put the score at 42-21.
Down 21 at the beginning of the fourth quarter is a hard deficit to overcome and turnovers do not help. The Spartans learned this lesson the hard way, when Cody Butler fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the look of frustration was evident on his face. With great field position and an offense that hadn't been stopped all night, the odds were good that this game was just about over.
Towanda worked their way down to the five-yard line where Cody Miller scored his third rushing touchdown of the night. Hughesville's Butler fumbled the ball again on their next possession, giving the Knights the ball at midfield. From there Cody Miller split the defensive backs on a great touchdown throw to Caleb Willey, which ended the game; 56-21 was the final.
Mason Roof was the leading rusher for Towanda with 112 yards and a score. Cody Miller had a fantastic night as he went 9-15 for 176 yards and three touchdowns, and he also had three scores on the ground. For Hughesville it was Ethan Showers with 138 yards and Cody Butler not far behind with 102 yards. Towanda will now have to travel to Lewisburg to take on the No. 2 seed Green Dragons in what should be their biggest challenge yet.