SWIFTWATER - There is only so much that players, teams and coaches can blame on the conditions of the games they play in. However, in last night's rain and mud-fest at Pocono Mountain West, Lehighton managed to cough up the football five times and lost possession twice, on its way to a 21-14 loss.
To the victors' credit, however, the Panthers' received plenty of outstanding offensive output from their team to deserve the hard-fought win. Senior quarterback/tailback Rich Adams put up excellent numbers for the second straight week to lead his team to their second straight win. He rushed 22 times for 156 yards on the night and scored his team's final two touchdowns to bring his team back from a deficit for the victory.
"He is such a tough runner and we have a nice little one-two punch in him and Quiteh in our backfield," Pocono Mountain West Head Coach Jim McCarroll mentioned. "But Rich is the kind of kid who loves to lower the shoulder and run right at you."
Early on, it was his partner in crime Terrell Quiteh, as the junior tailback took the ball from his team's 17 yard line and broke loose through the middle, broke two tackles and was off to the races for the game's initial score.
After that, the two teams battled evenly throughout the remainder of the first half, as the score remained knotted at 7-0 in favor of the hosts.
The second half started quickly, as sophomore quarterback Josh Agosto took the second half's starting kickoff and found his way 83 yards to the endzone to make things interesting. Kyle Hunter found Matt Rebovich for the two-point pass conversion and the locals took the lead at 8-7.
Things continued to look bright for the Tribe as their ensuing onsides kick attempt worked in their favor, as they recovered the ball on the Panther 45-yard line. However, the Panther 'D' held fast and limited the Indians to a fourth-and-out that cued the punt team.
The teams traded possessions until the fourth frame, where the Indians finished up their final scoring drive with a Hunter run for a score. The quarterback was pushed by a tribe of Indians to paydirt and LHS held a 14-7 lead after the two-point conversion failed.
"I can't say enough about our kids," Lehighton head coach George Ebbert admitted. "Everyone of our players seems to be limping and we still put up a great effort.
The Panthers then took advantage of one of the Indians' five fumbles on the night and made the locals pay, as they pulled off a score from their own 18-yard line. An Adams 33-yard run started things off and eventually, Adams finished, as well, as he broke through the Lehighton line and sprinted for the score from the 41. Adams tacked on another run for the two points and the hosts regained the lead.
On their following possession, Adams proved not to be finished, as he spear-headed another scoring run and eventually got in from the four to add on some insurance.
Lehighton's late-game heroics were upended, as an incomplete pass on fourth-and-ten ended their hopes.
"We just have to take care of the little things in games and we didn't do that tonight," Ebbert added. "Hopefully, we can remain somewhat healthy and shut down East Stroudsburg North's option next week and maybe we can come away with a win."