By: Nate Brown | Towanda Daily Review | October 3, 2015 | Photo courtesy Nate Brown
The Towanda Black Knights recorded their first victory of the season on the road as they downed the North Penn-Mansfield Panthers 31-30 in a come-frombehind thriller.
Towanda scored 17 unanswered points after going down 30-14 to the Panthers with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
It was the leg of Black Knight kicker Tyler Basse who gave Towanda the lead and eventual victory as he converted on a 33-yard field goal with three minutes remaining in the final quarter of play.
Both teams took opposite approaches to the game as Towanda relied heavily on the running game as North Penn-Mansfield used the passing game.
Junior running back, Keegan Kisner carried the majority of the work load for the Black Knight offense as he ran the ball 31 times as he accumulated 153 yards on the ground and a score.
Dalton Potter, quarterback of the Black Knights, went 7-for-9 passing the football for 84 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown on the evening.
Brock Burleigh torched the Towanda defense all evening with his arm as he went 20-for-32 for 253 passing yards and three touchdowns. Burleigh threw a costly interception late in the game that would help the Black Knights hang on and secure the victory.
Bradley Pequignot of the Panthers had 12 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown to lead the Panthers' rushing attack.
Joel Whittaker of the Panthers led all receivers with three catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Garrett Bickhart, also of North Penn, added six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown of his own.
Steven Yates of Towanda caught every one of Potter's completed passes posting 84 yards on seven catches and also added two touchdowns for himself.
North Penn-Mansfield received the opening kickoff as Burleigh and his offense began work at their own 20. A costly pass interference penalty called against the Black Knights on a 3rd-and-8 allowed the Panthers a new set of downs on their own 31-yard line. After a few running attempts, Burleigh would drop back, fire a pass over the middle into the arms of a wide-open Whittaker for the opening score of the football game. Burleigh and Whittaker would connect on the two-point conversion attempt as the Panthers went up 8-0 on the Black Knights.
Both teams would then exchange three-and-outs and the Black Knights would retain possession and look to put their first points up on the scoreboard.
It was not until the second quarter that Towanda would score their first touchdown of the game. After multiple rushes by Kisner, the Black Knights were staring down their own goal line as they handed the ball to Kisner once again. He would plow his way up the middle for the touchdown.
The Panthers would be quick to respond as it took them just three plays to respond to the Black Knights' opening touchdown. Burleigh put a ball out in front of Whittaker who had beaten his defender. After hauling in the pass, he would showoff his speed as the Towanda defenders attempted to chase him down with no success as he would trot into the end zone.
The Panthers would again go for thetwo-point conversionandwould convert as Pequignot found the end zone.
On the Black Knights’'very next drive, Potter would put the ball on the ground deep into Black Knight territory as the Panthers would fall on the ball. It then took Pequignot just two attempts to find the end zone. The two-point conversion attempt was not successful as the Panthers jumped out to a 22-7 lead.
Towanda would respond on their very next drive. The 64-yard scoring drive was capped off by a rushing touchdownby Potter.
North Penn-Mansfield led Towanda heading into halftime, 22-14.
Towanda received the opening kickoff but would be forced to punt the ballaway.
Burleigh and the Panthers would use their next drive to extend their lead. Burleigh threw a perfect overthe shoulder pass in the corner of the end zone to Bickhart. Pequignot would again convert the two-point conversion as the Panthers jumped out to a 30-14 lead.
Towanda would then score 17 unanswered points on their way to the victory.
Towanda was forced to punt on their next drive but the punt was muffed by the Panther return man as a Black Knight fell on it at their own 16-yard line.
It was not long after that when Potter connected with Yates on a 22-yard touchdown pass. Potter would get the ball to Griffin Sites on a quick pass to convert the two-point conversion and just like that, the Black Knights were back in it as the scoreboard read 30-22.
Early in the fourth quarter, Potter would throw a screen pass to Yates who would shake his defender in the backfield, breaking multiple tackles along the sideline, before eventually crossing the goal line for a 24-yard touchdown.
The Panthers' defense would stuff Towanda's attempt to draw the game even defending the twopoint conversion perfectly as the Panthers hung on to a 30-28 lead.
The Black Knight defense came up huge on the Panthers' next drive forcing a three-and-out.
Not being able to find the end zone on their next drive and standing on their own 15, Towanda called upon Basse to give them the lead. His 33-yard field goal attempt was right down the middle and the Black Knights were on top, 31-30 with three minutes left in the game.
On the Panthers' next possession, Burleigh was hit as he released the ball and Larry Nichols would intercept the pass causing a crucial turnover late in the fourth quarter.
Towanda had to punt the ball away on their next drive as the Panthers looked for some late game heroics. As time was expiring and having no timeouts left, Burleigh would drop back looking for an open receiver. He was dragged down by a host of Black Knight defenders for the sack. With seconds left on the clock, the Panthers had one more attempt to win the game but Burleigh's attempt was incomplete as Towanda held on for the 31-30 victory.
Towanda will host Athens next Friday evening as they look to string together victories. North Penn-Mansfield will travel to Warrior Run next Friday in hopes of ending their current three-game skid after beginning the season 2-0.
Towanda currently sits at 1-4 on the season as North Penn Mansfield falls to 2-3.