PUNXSUTAWNEY - Coming into Friday night's game, the Northern Bedford Panthers and the Punxsutawney Chucks couldn't have been more of a mismatch.
Well, at least on paper.
The playoff-bound Panthers came to Punxsy looking to get ready for the postseason.
But Northern Bedford walked away with a 28-14 victory.
The game was an early back-and-forth struggle, as neither team could get anything going in the first half. The Panthers, led by 2,000-yard passer Blake Over, went three-and-out on their first possession, but were able to march down the field against the young Punxsy defense the next time they got the ball.
Over got into a groove, as he completed three straight passes, putting the Panthers (8-2) inside the Chucks' 20. Over then connected with Kyler Diehl for an 11-yard slant to the 1-yard-line.
However, Northern fumbled the ball on the very next play to end the threat.
The Chucks and Panthers traded punts as the Chucks soon gained control of the ball from their own 14.
Faced with a third-and-10, quarterback Dakota Thomas was picked off by Over who took it 14 yards for the score and a 7-0 Northern lead.
With 6:34 left in the half, the Chucks started a drive from their own 29. Christian Falgout broke a long run to put the Chucks inside the Panthers' 20.
Thomas then rolled out on third down, looking to convert a first down, but he was stripped of the ball.
Elias Brallier scooped up the ball, but as he was run down by the Chucks, he fumbled it, a fumble that was subsequently recovered by Falgout.
"That was a pretty wild play," Northern Bedford coach Jeff Batzel said. "I'm just upset that we couldn't hang on to it. It would've given us a nice opportunity at the end of the half."
Down 7-0 to start the third, Punxsy's Matt Burkett orchestrated a 10-play drive, as he connected with Clayton Dale for a 5-yard touchdown, tying it at 7-7 with 8:54 left in the third quarter.
"Burkett throws the ball very well. As you saw, he made some perfect throws for us," Punxsy coach Alan Nichol said of his other quarterback. "He made some calls by him. We were able to use both quarterbacks' abilities to help us on that drive."
Northern Bedford answered the Chucks' score, as Over connected with Kyler Diehl for an impressive 6-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 14-7.
"They've been a good combination on the route forever," Batzel said. "They have a good rapport with each other, and each knows what the other is going to do."
The Chucks had a chance to answer, but the drive was stalled, as Falgout coughed up the ball, giving the ball back to Northern Bedford on its own 20.
"We moved the ball up and down the field quite a bit, but when we go into the red zone, we turned the ball over too many times," Nichol said. "You just can't have more turnovers than the other team. It just doesn't work out very well."
Over took the Panthers on another scoring drive, as he connected with Dasher for a 16-yard score, making it 21-7.
The Chucks gave it one last effort, but after Burkett led the Chucks inside the 15-yard-line of Northern Bedford, Ridge Hershberger picked off the Chucks' quarterback to seal the game.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford 0 7 7 14 - 28
Punxsutawney0 0 7 7 - 14
NB-Over 30 int. return (Bequeath kick), 6:34
P-Dale 5 pass from Burkett (Pennington kick), 8:54
NB-Diehl 6 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 5:22
NB-Dasher 16 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 6:43
NB-Dasher 25 pass from Over (Bequeath kick), 2:31
P-Perry 3 run (Pennington kick), :11
RUSHING: Northern Bedford - Hershberger 10-58, Over 6-18, Brallier 6-20, Dasher 2-12. Punxsutawney - Falgout 26-107, Thomas 7-24, Pennington 3-14, Burkett 2-20, Perry 2-3.
PASSING: Northern Bedford - Over 19-27-0-231. Punxsutawney - Burkett 10-16-1-104, Thomas 1-5-1-9, Weaver 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Northern Bedford - Dasher 6-108, Diehl 11-108, Snyder 2-21. Punxsutawney - Thomas 3-27, Dale 2-14, Byers 2-34, Weaver 2-16, Ligenfelter 1-11, Bullers 1-11.
INTERCEPTIONS: Northern Bedford - Over, Hershberger.