SOMERSET-Penn Cambria hoped to catch the playoff-bound Somerset Golden Eagles by surprise, and for a half, the Panthers kept it close Friday night.
But an anemic Panther offense couldn't find the end zone as Somerset won, 28-2.
"They're fast, they're physical, they're big," Panthers coach Jason Grassi said. "We were right in the ballgame, we just couldn't get the offense going."
Penn Cambria's defense kept the Eagles in check for most of the first half. Junior Mark Mardula intercepted a Tanner Stull pass on Somerset's first play from scrimmage, and the teams traded possessions for most of the first quarter.
Somerset opened the scoring late in the first, finishing a 7-play drive with Stull finding Raven Beeman from 19 yards out for a score.
Neither team capitalized on opportunities in the second quarter. Facing a fourth-and-5 from their own 40, the Panthers stopped Stull short of the first down.
Penn Cambria then drove the ball to Somerset's 15, but an errant snap over Mardula's reach cost the Panthers 14 yards.
Colin Shable's 41-yard field goal attempt three plays later fell short.
Somerset gambled on fourth down later in the frame, as the Eagles attempted a fake punt with seconds left in the half. Chad Tsikalas intercepted Michael van Lenten's long pass, to end the first half.
"Coach Grassi had his kids ready to play," Somerset coach Bob Landis said.
Beeman ignited the Eagles on the second half kickoff, returning it 57 yards to Penn Cambria's 37. Stull and senior Matt Boyer powered Somerset's attack on the ensuing drive before Boyer plunged into the end zone from 4 yards out to give Somerset a 14-0 lead.
"That kickoff return was huge right off the bat," Grassi said.
The Eagles stopped Penn Cambria's next drive, then quickly strung together a 6-play push of its own. Dylan Barnes pierced the middle of the Panther defense from 14 yards away to extend Somerset's lead to 21-0.
Penn Cambria open its scoring in an odd way late in the third period. After a drive stalled at the Eagles' own 30, Somerset punter van Lenten watched the snap sail over his head.
Van Lenten collected the ball inside his own 5-yard line and attempted to kick under pressure with several Panthers on his tail.
However, he ultimately was only able to fall on the ball in his own end zone for a safety for Penn?Cambria.
The Eagles made amends on their next possession. Barnes scampered 49 yards on the first play of the drive, and Boyer barreled in for his second touchdown from 6 yards out to cap the scoring at 28-2.
Barnes led all rushers with 94 yards on the ground, while the aggressive Eagle defense allowed only 18 yards rushing to the Panthers. Grassi's Panthers finish the season with a 2-8record.
"I hate to see these seniors go, but I like the young guys we have here. I think we'll get there," Grassi said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penn Cambria0 0 2 0 - 2
Somerset7 0 14 7 - 28
S-Beeman 19 pass from Stull (Hayward kick), 1:53.
S-Boyer 4 run (Hayward kick), 10:05.
S-Barnes 14 run (Hayward kick), 6:07.
PC-Bad snap recovered in end zone by Somerset (Bastian kick), 0:44.
S-Boyer 6 run (Hayward kick), 8:02.
RUSHING: Penn Cambria-Strasser 10-17, Mardula 8-10, Eckenrode 3-3, Conley 4-1, Farrell 1-0, Bastian 2-(-3), Tsikalas 5-(-10). Somerset-Barnes 8-94, Stull 12-84, Boyer 7-40, Faulkner 5-9, Beeman 4-6, Hemminger 3-4.
PASSING: Penn Cambria-Tsikalas 6-13-0-42, Mardula 2-4-1-21. Somerset-Stull 3-10-1-46, Barnes 4-7-1-39, Van Lenten 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: Penn Cambria-Delerme 1-24, Kost 1-19, George 1-14, Behe 1-8, Fulton 1-1, Strasser 1-(-1), Rambeau 1-(-1), Hurley 1-(-3). Somerset-Beeman 3-43, Berkebile 3-29, Mostoller 1-13.
INTERCEPTIONS: Penn Cambria-Mardula (2), Tsikalas. Somerset-Baker.
TEAM STATISTICS PC S
Yards rushing 29-18 39-237
Passing (comp.-att.-int) 8-17-1 7-18-3
Yards passing 63 85
Total yards81 322
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-15 3-25
Punts-avg. 8-35 2-29