By: Ryan McNamara | Towanda Daily Review | September 5, 2015
MANSFIELD - Quinn Henry passed for four first-half touchdowns and led the rushing attack as Wellsboro rolled past Cowanesque Valley 54-6 Friday night at Mansfield University's Karl Van Norman Field in the season opener.
"We have a lot of young guys, but they're very athletic and able to make plays," explained Wellsboro head coach Matt Hildebrand following the game. "They kept fighting and responded well to what their coaches were telling them."
Wellsboro wasted no time, recovering a fumble in Cowanesque territory less than a minute into the game. After two touchdown plays on QB keepers that were called back on penalties, Henry found Parker Jones on a sharp pass over two defenders to take the early lead, 7-0.
The Hornet defense forced a three-and-out, but Wellsboro was backed up by a 51-yard punt by CV. However, an 18-yard rush by Henry and 29-yard rush by Alex Kozuhowski put the Hornets into CV territory. On second-and-long, Henry slipped out of the pocket to rush for another 42 yards, but was stood up just short of the goal line. On the ensuing play, Henry rolled out and flicked a shovel pass to Anthony Cooper from four yards out to give Wellsboro a 14-0 advantage.
Still hungry for more, the Wellsboro defense nearly intercepted a deflected pass on the first play of the drive before Jones pounced on a fumble to regain possession at the Cowanesque 34-yard line. The CV defense responded by holding Wellsboro on a fourth-and-four attempt, but on their first offensive possession, the Indians coughed up the ball again.
Wellsboro didn't spoil another opportunity to start a drive in enemy territory as Cooper busted up the middle through traffic to extend the lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Cowanesque wouldn't go away without a fight though as Colton Vinluan took the ensuing kickoff, bounced it outside and flashed his speed to return the ball 75 yards all the way for a touchdown. After a botched extra point, the CV deficit was cut to 21-6.
Starting their next drive nearly at midfield, Wellsboro marched into CV's turf and capped the drive with another Henry-Jones hookup - this time from 10 yards out - for the duo's third touchdown of the night.
After Wellsboro's defense forced another punt, Kozuhowski returned the ball from his own 35 all the way down to the CV 2-yard line, where he was just tripped up by the last defender. Following a fumble and two rushes for no gain, Henry rolled out on the left side and found a diving Chase Moser in the back of the end zone to bring the Hornets' lead to 35-6 with just under four minutes left in the half. That score would stand until halftime.
In the second half, Wellsboro's offense continued to set the tone, scoring less than three minutes into the drive on a 6-yard scamper by Nick Tremper. Another Hornet fumble recovery set up a 9-yard TD rush up the middle by Cooper to extend the lead to 48-6.
Cowanesque almost found the end zone once again when Connor Calaman returned the ball 63 yards down to the Wellsboro 25, but the Hornet defense stiffened to force a turnover on downs. The Indians' Casey McLauglin got the ball back with a fumble recovery, but CV was unable to score.
Wellsboro's Collin Pietropola rumbled up the middle for the final score of the night from seven yards out.
Henry went 11-of-13 for 96 yards and four touchdowns and also led the rushing attack with 85 yards on 10 carries. Tremper had 12 carries for 83 yards and a score while Cooper rushed eight times for 65 yards and two scores.
Jones caught four passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns.
"We're very young, but highly coachable," said Hildebrand. "We had a lot of guys who were thrown into the fire and they responded well tonight."