SAXTON - Northern Bedford County High School quarterback Blake Over stands tall at 6-foot-5.
During Friday's Bedford County version of the Backyard Brawl between the Black Panthers and Tussey Mountain Titans, Over stood head and shoulders above all the other players on the field as the senior tossed two touchdown passes and ran for two more in leading his team to a 28-20 win in Inter-County Conference inter-divisional action at the Tussey Mountain Sports Complex.
"He's deceiving. He changes directions really, really well and quickly," Northern Bedford coach Jeff Batzel said. "He's a lot different football player this year than he was last year."
Over had a hand in all but two points - those came off the foot of place-kicker Jonas Bequeath - as he tossed two first quarter touchdown passes (a 12-yard strike to Kyler Diehl and a 21-yarder to Austin Heck) on NBC's first two possessions of the contest that gave them a 14-0 edge.
"We didn't see him [Over] scramble [in scouting] as much as he did tonight," Tussey Mountain coach Josh Smith said. "He's a solid ball player. He was a little shy last year with contact but this year that's not the case. He brings it every snap;"
The Titans cashed in on their first chance of the second quarter when QB Quinn Barnett found Kyle Kline open from 4-yards out to pull within one score.
Over, who finished the first half with 168 yards through the air, had another throw intercepted in the end zone by Titan defender Daniel Taylor late in the second that ended a 12-play drive and kept the score at 14-7 at halftime.
The Titans took to the ground to get their offense moving as they rushed for 175 yards after the break while only attempting two passes that both fell incomplete.
Tussey Mountain wasted no time getting things going as Taylor ended a nine play, 77-yard drive with a 16-yard burst to pay dirt to knot the score at 14-14 with 7:58 remaining in the third.
The Black Panthers punted on the ensuing possession, then Kline fumbled away the Titans chances following that before Northern Bedford pulled off a 12-play, 60-yard drive that ran the clock from 4:18 left in the third until Over bulled his way in from a yard out at the 10:13 mark of the fourth on a fourth-and-goal. Bequeath's extra point was blocked by Barnett as NBC led just 20-14.
"We were debating what to do [before the fourth down] and he [Over] was pleading with us, 'Put it in my hands coach. I will get it in, I'll get it in,'" Batzel said. "At some point, the kid gets it done and he did."
On the ensuing kickoff, Taylor returned Bequeath's kick 26-yards to the TM 39 before fumbling the ball away to Diehl who recovered for the Panthers.
The fumble was the third lost fumble on five total fumbles in the game for the Titans.
Over capitalized on the turnover by finding the corner and racing in from 10-yards away. He added the two-point conversion run on a fake extra point after taking the inside pitch from Diehl.
"Coach trusts me and I want to do what's best for the team," Over said. "If that means scoring, it means scoring. If it means handing the ball off 20 times a game, I would do that. I needed to step up tonight, and I'm glad I was able to come through and help out the team."
The Titans would answer back as Kline scored his second TD on a 2-yard run with 5:24 to play to set the final.
"We still had plenty of time to go down and score, which we did," Smith said. "Maybe we should have put a little urgency in it but we still had time. We had to make a stop defensively - we weren't able to do that much."
Over, who finished 13-of-22 for 207 yards, hooked up with Diehl seven times for 99 yards, while Heck rushed 19 times for 95 yards.
Taylor led the Titans, who amassed 229 yards on the ground, with 82 on just seven chances.
"It would have been nice to get the third score in the first half but that didn't happen, and Tussey gained the momentum throughout the middle portion of the game," Batzel said. "To our credit, I tell our kids [that] bad things are going to happen in games. It's how you react to those bad things that defines winners versus losers. We bounces back we were getting handled at the line of scrimmage."
The Black Panthers, improving to 2-0, host Everett next Friday, while the Titans, now 1-1, will entertain Moshannon Valley the same night.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford 14 0 0 14 - 28
Tussey Mountain 0 7 7 6 - 20
NB-Diehl 12 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 8:11.
NB-Heck 21 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 30.6.
TM-Kline 4 pass from Q. Barnett (Wentz kick), 8:43.
TM-Taylor 16 run (Wentz kick), 7:58.
NB-Over 1 run (kick failed), 10:13.
NB-Over 10 run (Over run), 9:06.
TM-Kline 2 run (kick failed), 5:24.
RUSHING: Northern Bedford-Heck 19-95, Diehl 1-1, Over 9-30, Dasher 1-2, Hershberger 2-3, Brallier 3-23, TEAM 2-(-3). Tussey Mountain-Kline 12-61, Sipes 9-78, Taylor 7-82, Q. Barnett 2-3, Taylor-Chadwick 2-5.
PASSING: Northern Bedford-Over 13-22-1-207. Tussey Mountain-Q. Barnett 4-9-0-61.
RECEIVING: Northern Bedford-Diehl 7-99, Heck 2-39, Dasher 2-26, Snyder 1-41, Hershberger 1-2. Tussey Mountain-Kline 1-4, Sipes 2-56, T. Runk 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Northern Bedford-None. Tussey Mountain-Taylor.
TEAM STATISTICS NB TM
First downs 22 12
Rushes-yards 47-151 32-229
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 13-22-1 4-9-0
Yards passing 207 61
Total yards 358 290
Fumbles-lost 1-1 5-3
Penalties-yards 5-36 3-30
Punts-avg. 1-32.0 2-36.5