By: Nate Brown | Towanda Daily Review | November 14, 2015
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — In the opening round of the District Four Class A Football Championships, the North Penn-Mansfield Panthers defeated the hosting South Williamsport Mountaineers 28-14.
The Panthers will be in the district final for the second straight year and they will be looking for their first title.
The Panthers were the third seed of the district championships as they defeated the second seeded Mountaineers of South Williamsport casting their upset bid.
North Penn-Mansfield was led offensively by quarterback Brock Burleigh. Burleigh went 11-for-20 passing the football, for 133 yards as well as throwing two touchdowns. He also ran the ball nine times for 47 yards and a rushing touchdown as well. He did turn the ball over once throwing an interception.
Brad Pequignot carried the ball 24 times for the Panthers as he accumulated 105 yards on the ground. He also recorded the game securing interception.
Garrett Bickhart led all receivers with seven receptions for 80 yards as well as receiving both of Burleigh's two passing touchdowns.
The South Williamsport Mountaineers relied heavily on the running game.
Nate Koletar, running back of South Williamsport, rushed the ball 25 times for 97 yards and recorded a rushing touchdown.
Gideon Green recorded 12 carries for 45 yards for the Mountaineers as well as recording a rushing touchdown.
South Williamsport quarterback Tommy Dunkleberger went 5-for-11 passing the ball on the evening for 107 yards as well as throwing an interception. Both teams opened the contest by turning the ball over on downs after extensive opening drives.
The first quarter would feature no scoring by either side.
The North Penn-Mansfield Panthers started the second quarter off by putting the first points up on the board.
They strung together a 65-yard drive that began in the first quarter that resulted in a 9-yard touchdown pass between Burleigh and Bickhart.
Burleigh and the Panther offense attempted the two points after but failed to convert.
The South Williamsport Mountaineers responded on their very next drive.
Return man Ashton Martin set them up with good field positon as he returned the Panther kick-off all the way up to the Mountaineers’ 43 yard line.
After seven rushing attempts by the Mountaineers, they capped off their 43-yard drive with a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Koletar. Kyle Betz converted the point after attempt as South Williamsport jumped out to a 7-6 lead.
The Panthers recorded their second touchdown of the game with just 40 seconds left in the first half of play.
They began at their own 49 yard line with a minute and 27 seconds left in the half. The drive was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass between Burleigh and Bickhart as Bickhart recorded his second receiving touchdown.
On the two-point conversion attempt, Joel Whitteker hauled in the reception on a full-extension dive to bring in Burleigh’s pass to put the Panthers up 14-7 at the intermission.
South Williamsport tied the game up on the opening drive of the second half.
The drive began at their own 13 yard line after a mishandled kickoff return. A 51-yard completion between Dunkleberger and Chevy Bolay set up a first-and-goal for the Mountaineers at their own 1-yard line. Green then pounded it in and with the converted extra point, the game was tied at 14- all.
North Penn-Mansfield retook the lead on their very next drive.
The Panthers were facing a third-and-goal on their own 4-yard line. Burleigh kept the ball himself as he scrambled up the middle into the end zone for the score.
Pequignot took the hand-off on the two-point conversion attempt, ran into a pile at the line of scrimmage, and then bounced to the outside on his way into the end zone to put the Panthers up 22-14.
After forcing the Mountaineers to turn the ball over on downs in the fourth quarter, North Penn-Mansfield put together a drive starting at their own 10 yard line that lasted eight minutes and two seconds to consume the majority of the fourth quarter.
The Panthers, however, were forced to turn the ball over on downs at their own 1-yard line as they failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal from their own 3 yard line.
The Mountaineers looked to get back into the game but Dunkleberger looked to connect on a screen pass as Pequignot of the Panthers intercepted the pass and ran into the end zone to extend the Panthers’ lead to 28-14 following the failed two-point conversion.
The game would end with North Penn-Mansfield victorious at 28-14.
North Penn-Mansfield will travel to Mansfield next Friday night to take on Wellsboro in the District 4 Class A final.
As for South Williamsport, their season has come to a close at 7-4.