Turnovers spoil night for Panthers
CRESSON – Despite trailing by seven points coming out of halftime, Penn Cambria seemed to have the momentum in the third quarter Friday night.
The Panthers kept Somerset pinned deep in their end of the field most of the quarter, and started one drive near midfield and another in Eagles’ territory. However, the Panthers could not capitalize on the field position to tie the game.
A bad snap on a punt, an interception and a fumble in the second half all allowed Somerset to regain field position and momentum. Two of the miscues led to touchdowns for Somerset, as it pulled away from Penn Cambria for a 35-7 road victory.
“Turnovers were a big part of the game tonight,” Penn Cambria coach Jason Grassi said. “A couple of interceptions, one or two fumbles, against a great team like that you can’t turn the football over. It’s as simple as that.”
Mark Mardula had back-to-back punts that pinned the Eagles at the 15 and 3-yard line, respectively. Penn Cambria’s defense took advantage of the field position, forcing Somerset to punt both possessions, setting up the Panthers’ offense at midfield and the Somerset 33 on consecutive possessions.
Unfortunately for Penn Cambria, its offense could not capitalize on the field position. and had to punt on both possessions. On the second punt, the snap went over Mardula’s head. He scrambled through some Somerset tackles, but the Eagles corralled Mardula at the 44-yard line to change field position.
The change gave momentum to Somerset, which ran off a 10 play, 56-yard drive to push its lead to 21-7.
Nick Hite returned the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to set up Penn Cambria at the Somerset 27. However, on the first play of the drive, Mardula tried to throw a screen pass, but Nathan Barron made a diving interception.
On Penn Cambria’s next drive, Mardula broke tackles on a scrambling run, but was hit by three Somerset defenders and fumbled. The Eagles recovered on the PC 30. The turnover set up the fourth Somerset touchdown, a 2-yard run by Raven Beeman. Somerset added a 48-yard touchdown run by Jake Heiple in the final minute.
Mardula hit Drew Slatko in the back of the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown in the second quarter for Penn?Cambria’s only points.
“They were very well prepared tonight,” Somerset coach Bob Landis said. “Coach Grassi does a phenomenal job up here. They had a good defensive game plan. We came out and didn’t execute that well. They did a fantastic job playing keep away.”
Penn Cambria must win next Friday against Bishop McCort to hold its spot in the District 6AA playoffs.
“That was the goal of these kids,” said Grassi. “They wanted to get into the playoffs. We have one more regular-season game, and they want to get win No. 6 and go into the playoffs on a positive note. We don’t care who we play or where we play, we just want to get into the playoffs. These kids are hungry, and they just want to play.”
Somerset0 14 0 21-35
Penn Cambria0 7 0 0 – 7
PC-Slatko 14 pass from Mardula (Mardula kick), 11:39.
S-Heiple 9 run (Reed kick), 7:31.
S-Deblase 3 run (Reed kick), :23.
S-Hemminger 1 run (Reed kick), 9:35.
S-Heiple 2 run (Reed kick), 3:47
S-Heiple 48 run (Reed kick), :58.
RUSHING: Somerset-Heiple 18-133, Barnes 16-62, Hemminger 7-40, Beeman 6-26, Deblase 1-3, Eller 1-1. Penn Cambria-Mardula 17-51, Strasser 2-1, Wyland 1-(-1), Hite 5-(-2), Hurley 1-(-5).
PASSING: Somerset-Barnes 5-12-1-98. Penn Cambria-Mardula 10-20-2-94.
RECEIVING: Somerset-Mostoller 2-56, Coyle 2-41, Beeman 1-1. Penn Cambria-Hite 3-42, Hurley 3-25, Slatko 2-18, Krug 1-5, Wyland 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Somerset-Beistel, Barron. Penn Cambria-Hurley.