LOYSBURG - Northern Bedford's passing attack has given opponents problems all season. It proved particularly troublesome for West Branch Friday.
Blake Over threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns, leading Northern to a 33-6 homecoming win at Panther Community Stadium. Kyler Diehl caught nine passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns as Northern Bedford remained undefeated at 7-0.
"I don't know what adjectives to use to describe it," Northern coach Jeff Batzel said. "The first offensive play we scored and didn't let our foot off the throttle until the third quarter."
Over and Diehl connected for a 77-yard score on the Black Panther's first play from scrimmage. A play action fake sucked in the West Branch defense, and Over found Diehl wide open for a 6-0 lead 19 seconds into the game.
It's the longest completion in school history, according to statistics posted on maxpreps.com.
Later in the quarter, Over laid a pass right into Diehl's hands along the sideline, and he took it in for a 43-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
"They kicked out butts," West Branch coach Lester Smeal said. "We came out a little flat, and we got burnt. They did a great job."
After two more touchdowns in the second quarter, the Panthers took a 26-0 lead to the locker room.
Another Over to Diehl completion good for 52 yards set up Caleb Ebersole's 4-yard touchdown run, and Over finished off a spectacular first half with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tayler Pressel.
Over completed 11-of-14 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. "Blake has great instincts. He knows when to lay it in there and when to zing it," Batzel said. "He anticipates well and sees where the window of opportunity is at to make a play."
Nine of Over's completions went to Diehl for 250 yards and a pair of scores.
Defensively, Northern was just as dominating. The Panthers held West Branch's potent running game to 107 yards on 49 carries and forced four turnovers. West Branch finished with just 132 yards total offense.
"They have a great running game. They move people off the ball. Coach [Garry] Black came up with a great plan, and the kids executed it," Batzel said.
The win sets up a showdown next week with 7-0 Bellwood-Antis for the Inter-County Conference Gold Division title.
"It'll be a lot of fun. It's the game everyone wants to see," Batzel said.
Notes: Prior to the game, Alyssa Smith was named homecoming queen and Zach Pressel won homecoming king honors...Over's 326 yards passing is the second-highest in school history. John Love holds the school record with 334 yards passing against Glendale in 2006, according to statistics posted on maxpreps.com...West Branch lost starting quarterback Jonathan Sanker to injury following a tackle midway through the second quarter. He was taken off the field in an ambulance. His injuries are not serious, according to coach Lester Smeal. The move was more precautionary, and he should recover quickly, Smeal said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
West Branch0 0 6 0 - 6
Northern Bedford13 13 0 7 - 33
NB-Diehl 77 pass from Over(kick failed), 11:41.
NB-Diehl 43 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 1:48.
NB-Ebersole 4 run (Bequeath kick), 8:10.
NB-T. Pressel 17 pass from Over (kick failed), 26-0.
WB-Speigle 6 run (kick failed), 4:34.
NB-Diehl 12 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 4:57.
RUSHING: West Branch-Speigle 25-74, K. Smeal 11-17, Sanker 2-(8), Emigh 3-5, Williams 4-0, L. Smeal 4-21. Northern Bedford-Kagarise 10-48 Ebersole 4-0, Over 2-(-20).
PASSING: West Branch-Sanker 0-1-0-0, Williams 4-10-1-25. Northern Bedford-Over 15-24-1-326.
RECEIVING: West Branch-Pennington 1-15, Emigh 2-8, L. Smeal 1-2. Northern Bedford-Diehl 9-265, Z. Pressel 3-17, T. Pressel 2-31, Miller 1-13.
INTERCEPTIONS: West Branch-Sanker. Northern Bedford-Baker.