Kopera’s big night propels Colts past Comets
CLYMER– Two Northern Cambria seniors achieved personal milestones and the Colts moved one step closer to reaching a team goal in their 42-19 victory against Penns Manor in the Heritage Conference football season finale on Friday night at Pat Corrigan Field.
Running back Adam Kopera rushed 29 times for 314 yards and two touchdowns, and easily eclipsed the 1,000-yard season rushing mark. Mike Hoover, the Colts’ quarterback, reached 1,000 passing yards for the season when he hit Owen Prasko with a 79-yard scoring pass late in the second period. Hoover reached his milestone in spite of missing two games with a mid-season ankle injury.
Prasko scored two touchdowns for the Colts. His 6-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter broke a scoreless tie. Kopera broke the game open with a 10-yard touchdown run on the first possession of the second half. He added a 10-yard scoring run that put the Colts ahead, 29-7 after three quarters.
The Colts, who snapped a five-game losing streak, entered Week 9 in 12th place in the District 6 Class 1A points standings.
“We called them out before the game. (We said), ‘Hey, this could be our last meaningful game. If we don’t win we have no playoff contention,”’ Colts coach Sam Shutty said. “The seniors had to have a gut check and really play hard.”
A victory in Week 10 would ensure Northern Cambria a first-round play-in game on Nov. 1 or 2.
“We had really hard-fought games where we found ways to lose,” Shutty said. “And tonight was one of those (nights) where we finally shut the door on adversity, got done what we needed to get done, and controlled the game.”
Players of the game: Kopera raised his season rushing total to 1,281 yards. Hoover completed four of eight passes for 116 yards, and increased his season passing yardage total to 1,033.
Unsung heroes: Northern Cambria’s Joe Wagner forced a fumble that Zach Daisley recovered prior to Owen Prasko’s second touchdown. It was the game’s only turnover.
Most vital statistics: Northern Cambria gained 573 yards in total offense, punted only once and did not commit a turnover.
Shutty: “Adam really took it on his shoulders. There were a lot of plays where there was nothing there, and he made something happen.”
Penns Manor coach Bill Packer: “He’s a heck of a back. What happens is he finds a seam, and if there’s nothing out there he’s a good cutback guy. He was cutting back well. And we weren’t coming from the backside. We didn’t do a good job there at all.”
Kopera: “This (victory) is definitely helpful because now we get to play in a WestPAC crossover. We know the Heritage’s dominance over the WestPAC. So we’re still going to play a very tough team. But it’s something to look forward to; the playoff hunt is still alive.”
Hoover: “It was nice to reach 1,000, but we’ve got bigger things to look forward to now. We’ve to go in next week, and get to the playoffs.”
Penns Manor wide reciever Dimitri Lieb, on the Colts’ sizeable edge in third-quarter time of possession: “We definitely needed the ball. We needed to finish our drives. Northern Cambria scored and kept the momentum, and we didn’t. We need to bring the momentum into next week and play as hard as we can.”
Notable: The Colts rushed for first downs on their first four plays from scrimmage for 69 yards before their first possession of the night stalled. … Dimitri Lieb’s 67-yard kickoff return set up the first Penns Manor touchdown, a 4-yard run by Zack O’Neal. Lieb also led all receivers with seven receptions for 62 yards. … Kopera rushed for all 65 yards on Northern Cambria’s five-play third-quarter scoring march. … Isaac Noll ran 26 yards for the Colts’ fifth touchdown of the night. … Northern Cambria controlled the ball for 9 minutes, 15 seconds of the third period. … Connor Keith ran 2 and 62 yards yards for the Comets’ second-half touchdowns. … Penns Manor’s Justin Marshall suffered a concussion while covering the onside kick that followed Keith’s first score. … Eric Lubert succeeded Kopera in the fourth quarter and ran 3 yards for the Colts’ final touchdown of the night. … Penalties continued to hamper the Colts, who were whistled 15 times for 120 yards. Two of the penalties halted a promising march on Northern Cambria’s first possession.
Records: Northern Cambria (3-6), Penns Manor (2-7).
Next week: Northern Cambria hosts Ferndale, and Penns Manor hosts North Star.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Cambria 0 14 15 13–42
Penns Manor 0 7 0 12–19
NC–Prasko, 6 run (Amsdell kick), 11:57
NC–Prasko, 79 pass from Hoover (Amsdell kick), :57
PM–O’Neal, 4 run (Marshall kick), :30
NC–Kopera, 10 run (Amsdell kick), 9:12
NC–Kopera, 6 run (Wagner run), 1:16
NC–Noll, 26 run (kick failed), 11:03
PM–Keith, 2 run (kick failed), 9:53
NC–Lubert, 3 run (Amsdell kick), 5:36
PM–Keith, 62 run (pass failed), 5:16.
TEAM STATISTICS NC PM
First downs 23 13
Total yards 573 212
Rushes-yards 53-457 23-85
Yards passing 116 127
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 4-8-0 13-23-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 15-120 4-36
Punts-avg. 1-50.0 3-31.0
RUSHING–Northern Cambria, Kopera 29-314, Prasko 10-81, Myers 2-18, Noll 3-15, Offner 1-11, Noll 2-10, Lubert 3-9, C.Dumm 2-8, Phillops 3-1. Penns Manor, Keith 13-54, Lieb 4-6, Hill 1-3O’Neal 4-22, Engel 1-0.
PASSING–Northern Cambria, Hoover 4-8-0-116 Penns Manor, M.Hill 13-23-0-127.
RECEIVING–Northern Cambria, Prasko 2-81, Noll 1-26, G. Dumm 1-9. Penns Manor, Lieb 7-62, Keith 2-6, A.Hill 2-40, Engel 2-13.