Towanda pulls away from North Penn for victory.

By: Ryan McNamara | Towanda Daily Review | September 24, 2011


BLOSSBURG - When Towanda and North Penn opened their preseason camps, each team put a mark next to the September 23rd match-up knowing that it would be a season defining game.

Both teams came into Friday night's contest holding undefeated records on the year and were poised to walk away with a victory. The weight of the game was not lost on the fans as hundreds of supporters from each side came in droves to North Penn's Bob and Marion Jones Field despite the looming rain in the forecast.

The rain soaked field proved to be a major factor in the game as turnovers helped the Black Knights take a 23-9 road victory over their NTL foes. Towanda's stellar run game was a three-headed attack as quarterback Trey Sites, and running backs Mason Roof and Garrett Dinelli accounted for 167 yards on the ground.

North Penn's opening drives showed the Panthers inability to cope with the wet conditions as the Black Knights recovered a pair of fumbles. The Knights first fumble recovery came when Jevin Vanderpool fell on a loose ball on the Panthers third play from scrimmage. After the North Penn defense held Towanda on a huge 4th and goal stand, the Panthers turned the ball over once more in the shadow of their own endzone the very next play.

The Knights capitalized on the favorable field position with Mason Roof finding the endzone on the first play of the drive to take a 7-0 lead over the host Panthers.

North Penn would quickly answer back though.

On second down, Panther receiver Marquis Delgado pulled a Jason DeHaven pass out of the air after it was tipped by a Towanda defender. Delgado took the pass 62 yards down to the Black Knight's 1 yard line.

Two plays later DeHaven ran a QB sneak up the middle to find pay dirt. After a missed extra point attempt, North Penn trailed 7-6.

Towanda showed that both teams were having trouble with the wet weather as the Knights coughed up a fumble on the ensuing drive with Sam Bohnert recovering at Towanda's own 44.

Both teams traded possessions before North Penn marched down the field in the second quarter spurred by runs of 26 and 32 yards by the Panthers Skye Stiner. The Knights defense held strong though, limiting North Penn to a 24 yard field goal. North Penn went into the locker rooms holding the 9-7 lead over Towanda.

In the second half, the North Penn defense flexed its muscles holding Towanda on a 4th and 1 on the Knights opening drive. The Panther offense couldn't get anything going, settling for a pair of punts.

With 2:53 left in the 3rd quarter, Towanda's Sites hurled a 34 yard strike to Zach Ripic to put the Knights in scoring position on the North Penn 18 yard line. Ripic pulled off a key 14 yard rush after two straight Towanda penalties and an incomplete pass. After the Panther defense held strong on 3rd down, the Knights lined up for a 39 yard field goal.

Ripic booted the ball through the uprights to give Towanda the 10-9 lead.

Vanderpool recovered his second loose ball of the night on the Panthers next drive to set-up a 17-yard touchdown run by Mason Roof giving the Knights a 17-9 advantage.

North Penn found life when Skye Stiner picked off a Towanda halfback pass and returned it to the Towanda 42 yard line.

In a one-possession ball game, the Black Knight's defense came through holding the Panthers on 4th and 4.

North Penn didn't go away easy though, forcing Towanda to punt with just over two minutes left on the game clock.

The Panthers looked as though they would have a chance to find a game-tying score, but on 2nd down, Towanda's Jordan Dawsey ripped through the offensive line and took the ball from the North Penn quarterback. Dawsey broke away untouched for a 53-yard touchdown dashing all hopes of a come from behind victory for the Panthers.

Towanda came away the victors in the much anticipated NTL battle with a final score of 23-9.

Trey Sites led the way for the Knights taking 10 rushes for 72 yards and completing two passes for 35 yards.

Dinelli rushed for 45 yards on 5 attempts while Roof went for 50 yards on 16 attempts. Towanda totaled 206 yards between six different rushers.

North Penn's Skye Stiner was the majority of the offense for the Panther's rushing for 97 yards on 24 attempts and taking three catches for 84 yards.