KNOX, Pa. (EYT/D9) – On a night when Keystone honored their local first responders and military personnel worldwide, it was the Panthers that came out victorious, beating Brockway, 24-6.
“We always have a first responders appreciation night,” said Keystone coach Ryan Smith. “I always tell the boys that the first responders are there when you are in a time of need and we should respect and honor that. Wearing these camo jerseys tonight was the least that we could do.”
(Photos courtesy of Alize Sullenberger and Living Proof Productions)
The black and gold continued their success on defense, adding three more interceptions to their total of six, giving the ball-hawking secondary nine interceptions on the young season.
“We changed up a lot of things in the offseason,” stated Smith. “The secondary last season was somewhere that we needed to improve and every one of those guys have stepped up and made plays when we asked them to.”
Running back Kyle Nellis carried the ball 16 times for 42 yards, while quarterback Bret Wingard paced the offense with his legs and his arm, proving why he is the true definition of a dual-threat quarterback.
“Kyle had some big runs tonight,” Smith said. “When you have a guy that can keep that clock running and keep that clock moving, that really helps us with our time management.”
On the night, Wingard was 11 for 30 for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 11 times for 16 yards and one score.
“Bret is a huge team leader and this week it just happened to be with his arm, slinging it out there,” said Smith. “He’s going to give it everything he has when he’s on the field.”
Wingard’s favorite target thus far, Zander McHenry, hauled in four catches for 83 yards and one touchdown, while Ian Keth had four catches for 66 yards.
Keystone struck first, opening the scoring on a second-and-12 play when Wingard tossed the ball deep to McHenry for a score, putting Keystone on top 7-0 after the extra point.
The score remained 7-0 until midway through the second quarter when Brockway’s Carter Hickman was able to find the end zone on a 3-yard rush.
After the blocked extra point, Keystone still held a 7-6 lead.
Keystone added another score when Wingard found McHenry at the goal line for his second passing touchdown of the game. After the PAT Keystone grabbed the momentum and led 14-6.
Just before the half, the Panther defense proved tough, forcing a quick Brockway three-and-out. With fourth-and-long on the scoreboard and the shadows of the goalpost looming behind the Rover punter, an errant snap traveled over the his head, sending the Rovers scrambling to get back on the ball, but surrendering great field position to Keystone.
With the Panthers threatening inside the 15 with just under 10 seconds left in the half, Smith called on his field goal unit to give the Panthers a two-score advantage, 17-6 heading into the half.
After an injury sideline starting quarterback Brayden Fox, the Rovers had to turn to the run game using Hickman as the feature back.
The junior running back finished the night with 14 rushes for 69 yards and one score.
Fox finished the game 11 for 20 for 188 yards and two interceptions before being sidelined the entire second half with an apparent lower leg injury.
“Anytime you can get a quarterback to come in cold and throw a team off their game plan that is a huge help,” said Smith. “Obviously that’s not what you want to happen to anyone, but tonight it was a great team effort.”
Blake Pisarcik finished the night with two catches for 83 yards, while Matt Pyne finished the evening with three catches for 60 yards and Jalen Kosko added three catches for 40 yards for Brockway.
For the Rovers, Peyton Maurer paved the way on the defense with seven tackles, also adding two sacks to his stat line.
Keystone will head to non-conference opponent Cameron County next Friday, while Brockway will return home to take on Coudersport.
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