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Panthers strike early and often

CLAYSBURG — Northern Bedford went into Claysburg-Kimmel and played spoiler as the Bulldogs were celebrating senior night on Friday.

The Black Panthers wasted no time making sure C-K’s seniors, as well as the rest of the team, had a game that was less than memorable on the field.

NBC returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and never looked back in earning a 56-6 victory over Claysburg in Inter-County Conference action at Bulldog Stadium.

Play of the game: Northern Bedford’s Griffin Keller fielded the game’s opening kickoff from Claysburg-Kimmel’s Wyatt Buell at the NB 30. The junior, listed at 5-foot-3 and 120 pounds, ran right up the middle of the coverage team before breaking right to the outside all the way to the end zone for a 70-yard score just 12 seconds into the contest.

Northern Bedford coach Garry Black: “It’s exciting for Griffin Keller. He’s a kid that works really hard, and spends a lot of time in the weight room. He’s a little guy that’s fast, and I’m proud that he got an opportunity and made the most of it. That jump started things obviously. That’s a great way to start off a football game when you can start without playing offense, and you’re already up.”

Player of the game: NBC’s Dalton Smith gained 97 yards rushing on nine carries, all in the first half, and caught two passes for 61 yards. The senior scored three touchdowns in three different ways: ran for a 40-yard score in the second quarter to make the score 29-0, hauled in a 56-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Thad Leidy with no time remaining before halftime, and then intercepted Claysburg quarterback Caleb Oakes and returned it 95 yards for a TD at 3:20 of the third to make it 42-6.

Smith: “I read the quarterback’s eyes, and I saw it coming through the air — I knew it was mine. So, I took it to the house.”

Unsung hero: Leidy was 9-of-14 for 162 yards through the air with one interception — by Preston Bush. In addition to the TD pass to Smith, the senior also found Evan Clouse on a 6-yard scoring play in the first quarter, and then hit Cadin Ebersole on a 30-yard TD pass for the next score at 10:06 of the second quarter.

Most vital statistic(s): The Black Panthers amassed 302 total yards of offense (157 through the air and 145 on the ground) in the opening half, while the Bulldogs gained 120 — leading to the 36-6 NBC lead at the break.

Black: “Lots of good things from all the players up-and-down. Each and every week that’s the way it’s been, and it continues to be that way — just different guys making plays. (I’m) happy with that, and how that played out for us.”

Claysburg-Kimmel coach Matt Bilchak: “We’re experiencing a lot of growing pains that we didn’t think that we were going to necessarily have to be making this season. But, I’ve been proud of the consistent effort, and scoring (tonight) definitely helps, but we have a ways to go as we continue to rebuild where we are at. We’re seeing that through the effort that we’re putting forth, and being able to string drives together is part of that.”

Notable: In addition to the kickoff return, Keller also plowed his way across the goal line from 2 yards out to set the final with 5:35 left to play. … In addition to his TD catch, Ebersole also scored on a 9-yard sprint with 2:19 remaining in the third to make the score 49-6. … Northern Bedford’s Kainen Brown also came up with an interception on the first play following Smith’s INT return for a touchdown. … Trailing 29-0, the Bulldogs put together a 12-play, 69-yard scoring drive which Cole Claycomb, who led the way for C-K with 60 rushing yards on 14 carries, found the end zone from 5 yards out. … Oakes, a sophomore who is still adjusting to being the starter, threw for a season-high 63 yards. … Zeke Barr came up with a fumble recovery in the first quarter for Claysburg.

Records: Northern Bedford (5-1); Claysburg-Kimmel (1-5).

Next week: Northern Bedford entertains Conemaugh Township on Friday in the semifinals of the District 5 Class 1A playoffs; Claysburg-Kimmel hosts Everett.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Northern Bedford 14 22 13 7 — 56

Claysburg-Kimmel 0 6 0 0 — 6

First Quarter

NB–Keller 70 kickoff return (Yeatts kick), 11:48.

NB–Clouse 6 pass from Leidy (Yeatts kick), 1:21.

Second Quarter

NB–Ebersole 30 pass from Leidy (Clouse run), 10:06.

NB–Smith 40 run (Yeatts kick), 6:29.

CK–C. Claycomb 5 run (kick failed), 17.4.

NB–Smith 56 pass from Leidy (Yeatts kick), 0.0.

Third Quarter

NB–Smith 95 interception return (kick failed), 3:20.

NB–Ebersole 9 run (Yeatts kick), 2:19.

Fourth Quarter

NB–Keller 2 run (Yeatts kick), 5:35.

TEAM STATISTICS NB CK

First downs 14 12

Total yards 380 199

Rushes-yards 27-206 38-136

Yards passing 174 63

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 10-15-1 4-14-2

Punts-avg. 0-0 4-36.3

Fumbles-lost 3-1 5-1

Penalties-yards 4-36 7-65

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Northern Bedford, Smith 9-97, Leidy 2-23, Ebersole 3-36, Clouse 1-6, Clark 2-23, Keller 4-1, A. Detterline 3-7, Johnson 2-14, TEAM 1-(-1). Claysburg-Kimmel, Bush 5-22, C. Claycomb 14-60, Imler 11-48, Ehredt 1-1, Weyandt 1-(-3), McGeary 3-23, TEAM 1-(-10).

PASSING–Northern Bedford, Leidy 9-14-1-162, E. Snider 1-1-0-12. Claysburg-Kimmel, Oakes 4-14-2-63, Campagna 0-0-0-0.

RECEIVING–Northern Bedford, Fernandez 1-5, Smith 2-61, Clark 2-20, Clouse 2-29, Ebersole 1-30, B. Snider 1-17, Walter 1-12. Claysburg-Kimmel, Bush 2-43, Biesinger 1-0, Imler 1-20.

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