Panthers end year with win
In the memories for many of us, the first thing that comes to mind is the last thing.
We remember the last scenes of movies, the last times we spoke with long lost friends, or the last moments spent with our departed love ones.
In sports, it can be the same. No matter how many losses on the season record, it's often the last game and its final events that will first come to mind after many years will pass.
That was the theme of last night's Panther Valley's 36-8 win over Minersville. For the Panthers' Richard Nase and Kyle Ferryman, it was the last game they would ever play for the black and gold and they certainly made it a memorable one. With a little over nine minutes to go in the game, Nase broke off right guard and raced 25 yards to score his last touchdown of his high school career. With those yards, he also jumped over the 1,000 yard rushing mark and placed himself ninth on the all-time PV single season rushing list.
Ferryman's last carry was for 13 yards which then gave him a total of 1,231 yards for the season, placing him third in the school record book behind Dave Slonaker's 1342 in 1979 and Cory Sheridan's 1294 in 1988.
Together, Ferryman and Nase are the first ever 1,000 yard rushers that played in the same backfield for Panther Valley. What makes their accomplishments even more remarkable is that last year, both players were receivers so each had only one year running the ball.
"Coach Hazlet told us at the end of last year that he wanted me to play quarterback this season," said Ferryman, "and then he told Rich he was going to be the feature back in our one back formations."
Nase got off to a good start with a 20-yard first quarter run that gave the Panthers (3-7) the early lead after an eight-play drive. Then after Nase blocked a Minersville punt, senior Mark Williams booted a field goal to put the Panthers up 9-0 at the quarter.
In the second quarter, Richard's brother Charles Nase recovered a fumble at the Miners' 10 yard line and two plays later, Ferryman made it 16-0 with a six-yard TD run.
"The two turnovers killed us," said Minersville coach Pat Mason. "We're a very young team with only four seniors and this is a tough league week after week. Though this was a difficult season for us, we hope the experience gained will help us next year."
"I reminded our team that two weeks ago we were up on Tamaqua at the half and then we lost the game," said PV coach Lon Hazlet. "I told them we didn't play well in the first half tonight so I challenged them to go out and win the second half."
The Panthers did exactly that. After a Kyle Emmert interception of a Miner's pass and subsequent punt after a Minersville drive, Ferryman hooked up with Nase on a 24-yard TD pass with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
After a 63-yard scoring scamper early in the fourth by Ferryman which brought the score to 29-0, the stage was set for Nase when the Panthers took possession after a Ferryman interception return to the Miners' 25 yard line.
"At that point I knew I needed 20 yards to get to 1000," said Nase. "And when I broke through I saw daylight so I turned it up a notch."
Although the night belonged to Ferryman and Nase, there was another significance for the word "last." Coach Hazlet announced his resignation and that he had coached his final game after a three-year stint at Panther Valley.
"It's time for me to step back awhile because I want to spend time with my family and watch my son play football," he said. "But this night is not about me. It's about this team and Ferryman and Nase who will have a chance to play at the next level next year. There are eight starters returning here and the junior high school program was outstanding this year. The future is bright for Panther Valley football."