Panther Valley duo having banner year
Six of the nine TIMES NEWS area teams picked up wins last weekend.
Included among those squads were Lehighton, Tamaqua and Marian which upped their season records to 4-3.
With Jim Thorpe at 6-1 and Northwestern and Pleasant Valley at 5-2, no less than six area clubs currently have winning records.
The last time six TN teams were above .500 after seven weeks of the season was 2008. In fact, in the previous 20 years there had only been four times that this has happened (2008, 2005, 1999 and 1994).
What makes this year's success more impressive is the fact that after the first two weeks, no area team was over .500 and the nine clubs had a combined record of 6-12. Since that time, our teams are a collective 27-18.
Another of the teams that posted a victory last weekend was Panther Valley. While the Panthers aren't one of the squads that currently sport a winning record, OVERTIME will take a look at their dynamic duo in the backfield.
Besides that, OVERTIME was also feature notes on Marian's kicking game, a long touchdown from Panther Valley and the passing attack of Palmerton.
For Kyle Ferryman and Richard Nase, this year has been one of change.
And that change has produced some impressive numbers for the Panther Valley senior duo.
Prior to the season, head coach Lon Hazlet asked both players if they would switch positions and move into the PV backfield.
How has that move worked out?
Ferryman, at quarterback, has run for 912 yards and eight touchdowns. The former receiver has topped 100 yards in five games (including the last four) and is second in the TN area in rushing yards. Nase's stats are also solid, having gained 709 yards and six TDS on the ground. The running back has reached 100 yards in three contests.
"You have to realize that these are two kids who never played the position they're playing right now," said Hazlet. "Kyle was a receiver and Richard was a tight end. It's just a testament to those two boys how successful they have been.
"Both of them are tough kids that have excellent speed, and they're both unselfish in their play."
Besides toughness and quickness, Ferryman also exudes energy and endurance
At just 5-8 and 170 pounds, the Panthers' signal caller takes a pounding running the ball nearly 20 times a game. But that doesn't slow him down one bit.
"Everything you want in a football player you get with Kyle," said Hazlet. "He's tough physically and mentally. And he always going 100 miles an hour. When kids might go half-speed in practice or drills, he won't. You don't have to motivate him. We knew he'd be dynamite (in the backfield).
"He's a perfect example of a kid his size that if he lifts weights in the offseason and builds his body the right way, you can take the pounding on the field. The kid's a warrior. Pound-for-pound he's one of the toughest kids I've coached."
Like Ferryman, Nase is a three-sport athlete with tremendous athletic ability.
And blessed with a 6-4, 220-pound frame and tons of talent, the sky just might be the limit for him.
"Richard is also a great overall athlete," said Hazlet. "He's an outstanding wrestler and successful in track where he can run, throw and jump. He's a big kid and is getting recruited to play defensive end at the next level.
"Being in the backfield has all been new to him. He carried the ball a little bit last season when Richie Smith got hurt. He's finally learning how to run the ball instead of just running with the ball ... We're just scratching the surface with him. He needs to find that right fit in college and if he does, watch out."
A number of Panther Valley's starting offensive line has also been relegated to just watching Ferryman and Nase as injuries have forced them off the field.
That's one more reason why their success is so remarkable.
"People don't realize that a majority of our starting offensive line is on the sidelines in street clothes right now, so these two are doing what they're doing with a makeshift line in front of them," said Hazlet.
"Once you let them loose, you can't catch them. Once Ferryman is in the secondary, he's gone. If Kyle gets seven, eight yards on you he'll make you pay. And Richard is fast too. He went to camps over the summer and he impressed a lot of people with his speed and agility."
With the Panthers out of the playoff chase at 2-5, the two teammates are down to only three games left in their high school career.
Despite the record, it's a safe bet their approach won't change and they'll be giving 100 percent on every play. There's also a chance the two could both end with 1,000 yards rushing.
"It's been an honor for me to coach these guys," said Hazlet. "They're two of the best I've ever had. They're just quality kids. They're a lot of fun to be around and I'm very appreciative of what they've given to me and this program."
TAKING THE FERRY-MAN ... Panther Valley's Kyle Ferryman has been racking up the yardage this season and is currently just 88 yards away from 1,000.
If the Panther quarterback has a run like he did in the fourth quarter of last week's game against Shenandoah, he'll reach four figures in just one attempt.
Ferryman broke loose for a 94-yard touchdown run against the Devils, sealing PV's 34-21 victory. That scoring run was the longest by a Panther player since Oct. 15, 1999 144 games ago when Dan Blazosky also had a 94-yard sprint to the end zone against Shenandoah. The Panthers won that contest, 35-3.
KICKIN' COLT ... During Marian's win over Minersville last Friday, Bailey Becker accomplished a rarity in Colt Country.
The sophomore booted a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter to extend Marian's lead en route to a 43-7 victory.
Over the past 25 seasons, Bailey is just the seventh Marian player to kick a field goal. Paul Martin had three and Neil Andrews had two, while Shawn Gates, John Boyle, John Chuma and Bob Wargo each kicked one.
Those 10 field goals have come over a span of 284 games.
BOMBERS IN THE AIR ... Palmerton may have dropped a 41-28 decision to Bangor last Friday, but in the contest the Bombers' passing game had itself quite a night.
Zach Buck threw for 156 yards and Logan Lesher added 88 more for a combined 244. The last time Palmerton had a game in which it gained that many yards through the air was Oct. 7, 2006 76 games ago when Zach Heller totaled 257.
Also in Friday's matchup, Buck and Lesher threw passes to seven different receivers. Since the TIMES NEWS started running individual stats with its boxscores (1988), the Bombers have never had a game in which seven different players caught a pass. That covers a span of 277 games. The most receivers catching a pass prior to Friday was six, which was accomplished nine times.
INDIANS SCORING FRENZY ... Lehighton exploded for 48 first-half points in cruising to a 55-8 victory last Friday against Allen.
Coupled with the 31 points the Indians scored the week before that against East Stroudsburg North, Tom McCarroll's club has tallied a combined 86 points in back-to-back weeks.
The last time a Lehighton team scored that many points in consecutive weeks was Oct. 15 and 22, 1993 when they defeated Northwestern 54-0 and followed that with a 43-0 win over Northern Lehigh.