By: Chris Masse | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | September 24, 2013
Most know Michael Pietropola as Wellsboro's starting quarterback.
Pietropola's pitches worked. Now he and the Green Hornets are reaping the benefits every week. Owlett and Prough never played high school football prior to this season. The seniors, though, are two big reasons Wellsboro is 4-0 for the first time in the 21st century, consistently creating big plays in all facets.
"I really tried to recruit them," Pietropola said. "It was the first day of summer and I was like let's throw some routes so I could get them into it. They really came alive this summer and they have been huge for us."
Owlett and Prough start on both sides of the ball but are doing their biggest damage offensively. The receivers combine with Kieron Smethers to give Wellsboro one of District 4's most explosive passing arsenals.
Canton learned that Friday as the first-time high school players combined for four touchdowns in a 56-7 Wellsboro win. Owlett caught three passes for 128 yards and two scores while Prough turned a short pass into a 63-yard touchdown.
"Every time, even if you throw a short bubble screen something big can happen," Pietropola said. "They are great in space and they are all great athletes. They can make all big plays."
It is almost scary to think what those two would be doing had they played high school football the past three seasons. Owlett has not played since sixth grade while Prough is back for the first time since eighth. Yet, they already have established themselves as two of the area's premier playmakers.
The duo has combined to catch nine of Pietropola's district-best 14 touchdowns and most have come on long passes too. Owlett caught 79 and 43-yard scoring strikes Friday while Prough made the most of his reception. Owlett (14 catches, 375 yards, 6 touchdowns) averages 26.8 yards per catch while Prough (7 catches, 254 yards, 3 touchdowns) is averaging 36.3.
Both have had a lot of success in other sports. Owlett was a dominant pitcher last spring and Prough was a starter on Wellsboro's district-runner up basketball team. This time, they saw a chance to do something big in football and the offer was too much to pass up.
"Mike was coming over and talking to us and saying that we have a good chance of doing something if we came out and worked hard over the summer," Owlett said. "Everybody worked hard this summer and that helped."
"I think it was player personnel. For once I actually felt motivated to play football," Prough said. "In previous years I didn't feel that way. In other years there was kind of a lack of confidence in the team whereas this year they felt a lot more confident that we were going to do well."
They might not be doing as well if Owlett and Prough did not come out. Wellsboro has made strides the last two seasons, going 4-6 and 5-5 following a disastrous 2010 season. The Hornets had a strong core coming back in 2013, but ultimately, it is Owlett and Prough, who might have taken this team to the next level as it pursues a league title and District 4 Class A playoff berth.
They had not played in a long time, but the bottom line is they can play. Owlett returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against Canton and finished with 254 all-purpose yards. Put the ball in these players' hands and watch out.
"We strived to work hard in the summer to get back in (shape) before the season started. That was a big thing," Owlett said. "I was throwing with Michael every day and lifting so the time the season came around I would be ready to go."
Now the goal is to keep going forward. The 4-0 start is nice but Owlett and Prough came back for more than just that.
"I just want to continue our streak," Prough said. "That's all I'm thinking about."
All opposing defensive coordinators are thinking about is how to slow this dynamic duo.