Haven has too much for PV
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Devin Dilliard (30) of Panther Valley handles a kickoff return against Schuylkill Haven. Behind him is teammate Nick McArdle.
David couldn't slay Goliath last night in Panther Valley stadium. He barely bruised him.
Schuylkill Haven was bigger, stronger, and more experienced than the Panthers and the end result was a 40-7 romp.
Playing with probably the youngest team in the region, the Panthers couldn't stop a balanced ground war waged by Haven. The Hurricanes scored three of the first four times they had the ball in the first half.
"It just comes down to them being bigger and stronger," said the head coach of the Panthers Frank Damian, admitting, "We couldn't stop them."
Opposing coach Mike Farr merely remarked, "I thought all our kids played well."
Farr said his players became undisciplined in the second half, getting preventable penalties. But the flags didn't hurt the team at all. It might have stopped one scoring drive, but by then the damage to PV was already done.
Damian tried a trick play at the start of the game and it almost worked. He called for an on-side kick on the opening kickoff. A PV player had a chance to grab the ball, but just missed it. It rolled out of bounds, giving Haven the ball in good field position on their own 37.
Schuylkill went right to work, using brute strength to eventually move the ball to the Panther six. Matt Naftzinger completed this drive on his first run of the night, scampering around the left side and into the end zone for six points with 6:54 showing on the clock. Ian Hower kicked the extra point.
PV couldn't get any offense going in the first quarter, accumulating only six offensive yards.
The Hurricanes hit the board again with just three seconds in the quarter when Tyler Dissinger rumbled around the right side from the 17.
In the second quarter, PV had its most impressive drive of the night, moving the ball 69 yards on 12 plays with junior quarterback Mike Weaver handling most of the offense. This was promising to PV considering Weaver started the season as as a wide receiver but was switched when quarterback Lukas Damian got injured earlier this season.
On the drive, Weaver carried seven times for 56 yards, including a 14 yard scoring sprint around the right side and into the corner of the end zone. He kicked the extra point, too.
"Mikey has been doing a good job for us at quarterback," said Damian. "He had to make changes and he adapted very well."
At the start of the second half, with the Panther down 20-7, it looked like PV was going to keep pace, driving from their own 30 to the Haven 28. A pair of incomplete passes turned the ball over to the Hurricanes on downs, though, and the home squad never came close to scoring again.
Damian said his team is young and still learning. "It's something we can fix in time," he said, adding that in the off-season he will have his player in the gym.