By: Chris Manning | Towanda Daily Review | September 11, 2010 | Photo courtesy Chris Manning
TOWANDA - It was (Cody) Miller time in Towanda Friday as the Black Knight quarterback threw for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns, while adding two more on the ground, to help give his team a 40-15 win over Southside.
As for his success, Miller credits his teammates.
"My linemen blocked well," he said, "and my receivers were good at getting open. I just threw it to them."
Towanda Coach Craig Dawsey praised his senior captain no end, though.
"That's Cody," Dawsey said. "Cody Miller is Cody Miller. He's special, he's been special since I've seen him growing up. He played like a senior and a captain."
That's what the Black Knights needed on a night where neither team could get much going in the first half.
Towanda started off with the ball but after two sets of downs were forced to punt. The Hornets then went 50 yards to the Towanda 18-yard line but Casey Huff ended the drive with an interception.
The Black Knights used that momentum as on the ensuing drive Miller found Mason Roof on a screen for 63 yards on third and five to get to the Southside 20-yard line. Two plays later Miller hooked up with Garrett Dinelli for the first touchdown of the game. Zach Ripic added the extra point and Towanda went up 7-0.
The Hornets didn't sit back, though, as a kick off return to their 43-yard line sparked their offense.
A 20 yard run and an 18 yard run by Trenton Allington put them inside the Black Knight 20-yard line. From there the Hornets rushed their way to the end zone, a 10 yard run by Jordan Shay with 1:09 left in the opening quarter.
After the Brad Bellinger extra point the game was tied at seven all.
Play turned sloppy from there on out.
The Black Knights fumbled the ball away on their next possession, followed by Southside turning it over on downs on the Towanda 25-yard line.
The Black Knights couldn't get out of their own end, though, as Miller was picked off by Southside's Allington. Three plays later, however, Towanda's Mason Roof picked off Bellinger. The two teams traded punts, followed by another Southside interception, this time by Debray Williams. The Knights' defense would hold, though, and for Southside to punt.
Towanda and Southside would once again exchange fruitless drive just before the half.
In the second it was a different story.
The Hornets looked ready to take over the game as on the first play of the third quarter Allington ran deep into Towanda territory, but it was called back on a penalty. The Knights then forced Southside to punt, with the Hornets botching the snap. Bellinger was tackled deep in his own territory, turning the ball over on downs.
On Towanda's ensuing drive they got their ground game going, as Dinelli ran for eight yards, Roof ran for 10 and Miller finished it off with a 10 yard scamper for a touchdown at the 9:17 mark of the third quarter. The Knights would miss the extra point but still lead, 13-7.
Towanda's defense got into the act, recovering a fumble on the Hornet's next drive. The Knights took over on the their own 38-yard line, then went eight plays to find the end zone, keyed by a 49 yard hook up between Miller and Caleb Willey. On the touchdown play Miller fumbled the snap on the one, but Dinelli was in the right place at the right time, falling on the ball in the end zone.
Ripic made the extra point to give Towanda a 20-7 lead with 5:51 left in the quarter.
The Hornets still had life as Shay returned the kick off to the Towanda 37-yard line. However, the Black Knight defense was resilient, forcing Southside to four-and-out.
Towanda went 65 yards in nine plays on their drive, capped off by a 17 yard Miller touchdown run with 57 seconds left in the quarter. After the Ripic kick the Knights extended their lead to 27-7.
Southside was forced to punt after going three-and-out, giving Towanda the ball on their own 25-yard line.
It didn't take them long to get on the scoreboard again as on their first play Miller found Willey for 75 with 8.6 seconds left in the third quarter.
The rout was on.
Though the extra point was blocked, Towanda led 33-7 going into the final quarter.
Southside showed signs of life, scoring on their drive as Allington scampere 16 yards to make it 33-15 after the two-point conversion with 10:07 left in the game.
But it was too little, too late.
Teams exchanged the ball the next two drives, followed by the Knights finding the end zone one more time. This time Miller found Roof for a 64 yard touchdown completion halfway through the quarter. After the Ripic kick Towanda led 40-15, which would be the final.
"It felt really good," Dawsey said about the win. "Its always good to win at home. I'm proud of everyone, the coaches, the kids. The coaches challenged the kids and they responded."
Dawsey believes this was a big step in his team growing up.
"This is a step forward maturity wise," he said.
As for the second half surge, he says his team just made up their mind.
"I just said, 'make up your minds'," Dawsey said about his speech. "They just made up their minds and decided to play the way they're capable of."
Miller added that they just figured out what worked and what didn't.
"We just had to look at everything," he explained. "The positives and negatives and do what were doing right and fix what were doing wrong."
Overall on the day Miller went 16-for-23 for 391 yards, three touchdowns with two interceptions. He also ran for 17 yards on five carries for two touchdowns.
Dinelli was the team's leading rusher, with 56 yards on 12 carries, including the score.
Roof added 16 yards on four carries.
On the receiving end Roof had 139 yards on three catches with one score while Willey had 149 yards on five catches with a score. Cody Logan had 47 yards on four catches; Dinelli had two catches with 27 yards and a touchdown and Jordan Dawsey caught three passes for 32 yards.
"Going up against one of the better New York schools, its good to get a win," Miller said.
Now Towanda will face Jersey Shore, but coach Dawsey hopes that they will leave the turnovers behind.
"We had a few mental lapses," he said about the turnovers. "They have to learn that every Friday is a new Friday."
For the Knights, they will look forward to having a for more Fridays like the last one.