Northern Bedford wins despite 8 fumbles
LOYSBURG — The scoreboard wasn’t working, the first-down marker broke and Northern Bedford fumbled eight times and lost five of them.
But the Black Panthers held on for a 22-20 victory over Moshannon Valley, and that’s all that mattered to coach Garry Black.
“I told the guys before the game that if we got this one, we could get the ball rolling in the right direction,” Northern Bedford coach Garry Black said.
Northern Bedford lost its opener to Central and followed that with a heartbreaking setback in a shootout with Southern Huntingdon last Thursday. Friday night’s win over the Black Knights certainly wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win.
A key play was the one time the ball bounced the Panthers’ way.
After a Case Donaldson fourth-quarter interception, Northern Bedford drove 43 yards to the 7-yard line. But Donaldson had trouble with the shotgun snap and briefly fumbled it. He recovered in time to throw a tipped pass that landed in Bentley Zimmerman’s hands. Zimmerman was laying on his back in the end zone. The score gave the Panthers a 15-14 lead after Kyler States’ extra point.
“I told them it’s a play they’ll never forget,” Black said. “It was lucky. They didn’t give up on the play. Case is a senior. Bentley is a senior, and we’ve only got five of them. It was completely lucky, but they’ll never forget it.”
Moshannon Valley managed just 155 yards of total offense, but Joe Bacher returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown, and Jon Dale returned another to the Northern Bedford 17 to set up another score.
That touchdown made it 22-20, and Dale’s number was called on the two-point conversion.
He battled, pushed and extended the ball toward the goal line as the whistle blew. Then he heard silence.
For several seconds, officials gathered, not sure whether Dale had converted a two-point conversion that would have tied the game at 22 with 58 seconds left.
Then came the signal — no good.
“I was about a good foot away, but nobody in this arena thinks I was down,” Dale said. “I’m pretty sure I wasn’t down, but you can’t go back to it now. We’ll bounce back and go get Claysburg next week.”
Dale opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run set up by the Black Panthers’ third lost fumble of the first quarter.
Northern Bedford responded by briefly taking an 8-7 lead when holder Hayden Foor pulled off a fake extra point attempt and connected with a wide open Brady Clark for a two-point conversion after Clark’s touchdown run.
Just seconds later, Moshannon Valley was back ahead after Bacher’s kickoff return.
As the game turned to the fourth quarter, Bacher stayed in the game but was struggling to run.
“Bacher as banged up, so we didn’t have him to block for Dale,” Keith said. “That’s what happens when you have low numbers, but that’s no excuse. These kids played their butts off, and I can’t say that enough.”
The Black Knights held the lead until Ben Murawski was intercepted on third-and-27 by Donaldson. Zimmerman caught his touchdown pass nine plays later.
“We should have never put ourselves in that position by throwing the ball on third and forever,” Keith said. “We should have taken our losses, ran the ball and punted it away. They only had to go half the field. That one’s on me.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Moshannon Valley 7 7 0 6 — 20
Northern Bedford 0 8 0 14 — 22
MV–Dale 1 run (Matchock kick), 1:10.
NB–Clark 5 run (Clark pass from Foor), 6:01.
MV–Bacher 83 kickoff return (Matchock kick), 5:46.
NB–Zimmerman 7 pass from Donaldson (States kick), 4:07.
NB–Smith 9 run (States kick), 3:02.
MV–Matchock 4 pass from Murawski (run failed), 0:58.
TEAM STATISTICS MV NB
First downs 11 18
Total yards 155 315
Rushes-yards 39-95 52-266
Yards passing 60 49
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 7-13-1 8-13-0
Punts-avg. 3-33.7 3-30.7
Fumbles-lost 4-3 8-5
Penalties-yards 5-35 7-55
RUSHING–Moshannon Valley, Dale 26-67, Bacher 8-27, Murawski 3-15, Matchock 1-(-1), TEAM 1-(-13). Northern Bedford, Donaldson 12-132, Smith 22-107, Ebersole 8-25, Clark 4-8, Imler 1-4, Leidy 2-(-2), TEAM 3-(-8).
PASSING–Moshannon Valley, Murawski 7-13-1-60. Northern Bedford, Donaldson 5-6-0-33, Leidy 3-7-0-16.
RECEIVING–Moshannon Valley, Matchock 5-42, Dale 1-10, Bacher 1-8. Northern Bedford, Donaldson 2-10, Smith 2-5, Diehl 1-13, Imler 1-11, Zimmerman 1-7, Clark 1-3.