PEN ARGYL With just two winning seasons in the last eight years, it's been a while since Pen Argyl had seen an offensive performance like the one Dylan Evans put in on Saturday, when he ran for five touchdowns in a 35-28 win over Northwestern.
"We didn't score five touchdowns for a few games at times," said Knights head coach Paul Reduzzi.
The senior back ran for 216 yards on 29 carries. The Knights' had five first-half possessions and three of them resulted in touchdowns.
Northwestern matched the Knights through most of the first half. The Tigers scored on three of their first four possessions, but Pen Argyl's defense dug in and got four straight stops to help flip the score from a 14-point deficit to a 35-21 lead early in the second half.
"They grabbed all the momentum," Reduzzi said. "We fought just to stay alive through that."
Pen Argyl didn't give up a second-half first down until the Tigers' third possession after intermission, over a minute into the fourth quarter.
"We didn't finish our drives because we couldn't run the ball," said Northwestern head coach Tom Linette. "You have to credit them. They played good defense."
Northwestern averaged over four yards per carry, but that was bolstered by Ty Cunningham's 57-yard touchdown run. Take that run out and the Tigers ran for just 2.7 yards per carry.
Northwestern went ahead 7-0 on that Cunningham run, which came just a minute and a half into the game.
The Knights answered, going 65 yards in eight plays capped by Evans' 3-yard touchdown run.
Northwestern went back ahead on Bobby Clymer's 2-yard touchdown that made it 14-7 with 5:36 left in the first quarter. That score was set up by a 78-yard pass from quarterback Ben Snyder to Payton Bachman.
Northwestern got its next big gain out of a wildcat formation. Cunningham took the snap and hit Bachman for a 48-yard gain. Cunningham's 3-yard touchdown run put the Tigers up 21-7 with 8:09 left in the first half.
The Knights then went 80 yards in three plays, ending with Evans' 60-yard touchdown run.
The Pen Argyl defense forced a Northwestern punt and Evans returned it 39 yards then carried the ball on all five plays of a 26-yard touchdown drive. That score made it 21-21 with 1:41 left in the first half.
"That's a big thing coming out at halftime 21-21," Evans said. "It's like a brand new game."
The Knights took control in the second half.
They went 69 yards on three plays to open the third quarter, scoring in a minute and 16 seconds thanks to a 57-yard Evans run.
Two possessions later, after two Northwestern punts, quarterback Nathan Hood completed three passes on a 13-play touchdown drive. When Evans scored from 2 yards out, the Knights were up 35-21 with 11:47 left in the game.
Tigers came right back and scored on a three play drive that included two completions by senior quarterback Josh Werley, who shared time with Snyder.
Werley hit Cunningham for a 56-yard touchdown that made it 35-28 with 10:36 left in the game.
Pen Argyl's defense seemed to get stronger in the fourth quarter. Three Northwestern possessions over the final nine minutes netted just two first downs and none crossed midfield.
The win keeps the Knights in good position to earn the No. 2 spot in the District 11 Class AA playoffs. The loss means the Tigers will need a several things to fall their way in order to earn a district berth. They are still in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.