By: Rick Vargason | Towanda Daily Review | November 5, 2011
The Towanda Black Knights snared the Bronze Helmet for the tenth straight season over the Wyalusing Rams Friday night by cruising to a 41-6 victory. For Towanda Coach Craig Dawsey he was pleased with his team's effort but he was outspoken when it came to the mistakes on the field, "we were able to win today, but the mistakes - the fumbles, the turnovers, the penalties - those are going to hurt you next week when good teams come to play. It's been a cyclical run for us against them (Wyalusing.) Before they got us a number of years now it's been our turn."
Towanda received the opening kick and made quick work of the Ram secondary as junior quarterback Trey Sites reeled off three straight completions to Zach Ripic and Casey Huff to put the ball at Wyalusing's 22. But a false start penalty and a fourth down incompletion turned the ball over on downs at the 27.
Ram senior Dan Frankenfield went to work busting loose for a big 39-yard gain down to Towanda's 34. But on 4th-and-five from the 29-yard line Ripic stepped in front of an errant Joe Champluvier pass at the ten, bringing the interception out near midfield.
On the ensuing play for the Knights Mason Roof taunted the Ram secondary creating cutback-after-cutback to slice his way to paydirt with a 52-yard run for the game's initial score. Roof booted the PAT and Towanda led 7-0 with 5:42 left in the first.
On Wyalusing's next possession Champluvier came under heavy fire as blitzing linebackers Jevin Vanderpool and Jordan Dawsey treated Joe like an oreo cookie, sandwiching the QB and jarring the ball loose where Towanda recovered at the 15. Not to be outdone the Rams stripped full back Garrett Dinelli of the pigskin on the next play to regain possession. But a three-and-out by the Black Knight defense gave Towanda good field position at the Ram 43. That led to a Sites to Ripic post pattern for a 30-yard scoring strike in the back of the end zone. Roof kicked the point after and Towanda led 14-0 with 1:39 to go in the first.
Looking down and out the Rams answered going 80 yards on 10 plays set up by two nice completions from quarterback Aaron Johnson to Frankenfield covering 55 of those yards. Frankenfield finished with 143 yards rushing as the game's leading ball carrier on 18 totes. Tyler Thompson took the straight dive over from three yards out and Wyalusing was on the board, 14-6 with 8:59 to go in the half.
From there the Knights set up their best drive of the night going 68 yards on 13 plays, set up by a beautiful fake punt by Ripic throwing a dart to Vanderpool for 27 yards on 4th-and-12. Sites called his own number from the one and Towanda went up 21-6 with 3:10 left in the half.
At that point it started to snowball for the Rams, as an errant pitch from Wyalusing QB Johnson was recovered by Joey Daniello at the Ram 34. Two plays later Sites split the seam down the middle finding Ripic escaping a tackle to waltz into the end zone. Roof's fourth PAT was true and Towanda was out front, 28-6 with just 1:05 left in the half.
And it didn't let up for Wyalusing as on their first play from scrimmage the Knight defense swarmed Frankenfield at the 15 bursting the pigskin from his clutches as Huff raced by to snag the 15-yard turnover for six more Towanda points. The PAT was blocked but Towanda led 34-6 at the half. "It's been the story of our team all year. As soon as we do something right we shoot ourselves in the foot," stated Wyalusing Coach Jim Huffman. "I'm proud of the way the kids fought, but you can't win games like that."
Towanda capped off the second half with their first drive going 58 yards on 10 plays with Dawsey screaming around the right side for the game's final score from five yards out.
Roof finished with 95 yards on the ground on eight carries to lead Towanda. Ripic had three catches for 67 yards and the two scores while Sites ended up 6 of 15 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Dinelli and Dawsey both collected 29 yards on the ground.
Towanda should collect the number two seed in the class AA District IV playoffs next week and entertain the Danville Ironmen. Wyalusing ends the year at 2-8.