By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | October 31, 2015 | Photo courtesy The Review
TOWANDA — All season long the Black Knights have battled injuries and had a young roster looking for the moment when everything came together.
On Friday night the Black Knights showed what they are capable of when they play their best as they shut out Wellsboro 17- 0.
"They just showed up and they played," Towanda coach Jamie Wecker said. "What I was really impressed with was how physical they played, how much energy they played with. Very impressed with their composure, their overall effort was the best I've seen this year."
Wecker was happy with the way the defense played all night.
Early on it looked like it might be a long night for Towanda as they fumbled the first time they touched the ball. However, the Black Knights defense wouldn’t allow the Green Hornets in the end zone, forcing a three-and-out the first time and then stopping Wellsboro on fourth down the next drive.
"One thing I said was we were trying to give them a couple scores to start the game," Wecker said. "I was really impressed with how our defense played. It's the first time in a long time we took the game to the other team."
Todd Koss led the defensive effort, recording three sacks in the game, but the entire Towanda defense stepped up, holding Wellsboro to 152 total yards.
"Todd has been solid all year, for Todd obviously this was one of his best games," Wecker said. "I thought Keegan Kisner played a great game. I think overall our D-line was very physical up front. The other thing that really helped us a lot, we had great coverage. Overall defensively we completely took charge and were able to take charge which was nice."
Towanda got on the board with 6:51 left in the half when Brandon
McLinko hit Steven Yates on a 56-yard touchdown pass. Tyler Basse hit the extra point and it was 7-0.
Basse made it 10-0 at the half on a 36-yard field goal with 2:54 remaining in the first half.
In the third quarter Yates hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass from McLinko and Basse hit the kick to cap the scoring.
"Brandon McLinko played a great game at quarterback, he was very comfortable," Wecker said.
McLinko was 5-for-16 passing for 184 yards with two touchdowns.
Yates had four catches for 167 yards and two scores and Kalob Benjamin had a catch for 17 yards.
"Steven Yates had a great game, he ran good patterns and ran the ball well," Wecker said.
All season long injuries have hurt Towanda and now they are starting to get healthy and the younger kids are starting to show what they can do.
"One thing we struggled with all year was injuries, we are constantly plugging holes," Wecker said. "We still have some injuries, but overall most of the kids are healthy. The maturity thing, they are starting to understand responsibilities. We really looked comfortable on both sides of the ball."
Wecker was happy to see the play of the seniors on Friday and he thought the younger kids fed off that.
"Our seniors were leaders tonight, they really took charge and they played well tonight," Wecker said. "The seniors really did what they were supposed to do, the young kids they looked up to the older kids. Started making things happen on their own, if they can continue to do this I think the future looks really bright for the next couple years."
Kisner had 111 yards rushing for Towanda on 23 carries and McLinko and Griffin Sites each ran for 7 yards.
While the season hasn't been everything the 2-7 Black Knights had wanted, Wecker was happy that the last home game for the seniors was a special one.
"It was one of the more dominating performances I have seen the last couple of years," Wecker said. "It was one of the more dominant performances I have seen our kids play the last couple of years. It was great to see it tonight. It's great for the seniors, it's a great moment and something they will always have and no one can take away from them."