Bloomsburg turns in dominate performance in 34-6 win over Hughesville
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HUGHESVILLE – As recently as just a few weeks ago, it didn’t look like Bloomsburg was going to be able to open its 2020 season in Week 1, and that was just the latest event of what was a roller coaster of an offseason for the Panther football program.
But in true 2020 fashion, things changed quickly, and the Panthers were able to play this week. They took advantage of the opportunity, as Bloomsburg scored a pair of early touchdowns, then had their defense hold Hughesville at bay for most of the game before scoring four more times in the fourth quarter as the Panthers topped Hughesville 34-6.
“We’ve been on a roller coaster since March,” said Bloomsburg coach Mike Kogut. “The strength of our team is our tenacity, work ethic and mental toughness and you saw that tonight. It wasn’t always pretty, and we have a lot to work on, but the kids deserve this win because of what they’ve gone through and the bumps in the road we’ve had so I couldn’t be prouder of our kids. It’s a great win for our school and our program.”
The Panthers weren’t as dominant statistically as the final score might indicate, but their defense was able to keep Hughesville off the scoreboard for most of the game until Bloomsburg had already opened up a 34-0 lead. Bloomsburg’s defense recorded four sacks and added another seven tackles for loss, leading to the Spartans managing just 44 rushing yards and only 69 total yards for the game.
Bloomsburg got off to a hot start on offense, as Nasir Heard returned the opening kickoff 32 yards to set up the Panthers on Hughesville’s end of the field to start. Four plays later, Jack Howell found Damon Rasmussen on a screen for a 12-yard touchdown.
On the Panthers’ next drive, Heard got loose on the second play and raced down the field for a 64-yard touchdown run to give Bloomsburg a 12-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Heard finished with 127 all-purpose yards – 68 rushing and 59 on a pair of kickoff returns.
But from that point, Bloomsburg was unable to put much together offensively until late in the game as they punted three times and turned it over three times in their remaining first half possessions. Thanks to Bloomsburg’s defense, however, which only allowed Hughesville a pair of first downs and also forced a turnover, Hughesville was unable to capitalize.
“I was very pleased with our defense,” said Hughesville coach Adam Gehr. “After the first couple of series they settled down. we were getting a good push and pressuring the quarterback and our run defense was good. Overall our defense played very well. We just didn’t give ourselves a chance tonight. We had some opportunities and missed some wide-open receivers. There’s little stuff that we have to correct.”
“We’re trying to find out what works for us right now (offensively),” said Kogut. “We’re trying to find our niche. We’ve got a lot of people in the skill game that can make plays.
“Coach (Tim) Carr, did a fantastic job in his first game as defensive coordinator and did a great job of getting our kids ready. Our kids played really strong. Every time we fizzled (offensively), our defense stepped up. When it was a short field, they stepped up. We were really pleased with the effort and running to the ball.”
In the second half, it was the Howell-Hock connection that was the difference, as Howell connected with his classmate Brody Hock for six receptions, including a pair of touchdowns. Hock finished eight receptions for 135 yards in the game, of which 113 of those yards came in the second half. Howell connected with Hock for a 39-yard touchdown on the third play of the fourth quarter to put Bloomsburg up 19-0.
After the Panthers picked up a safety when Hughesville was called for intentional grounding in the end zone on their next possession, Howell connected with Hock again just over two minutes later, this time for a 10-yard reception. Hock then returned an interception on defense on Hughesville’s next drive, putting Bloomsburg up 34-0.
“Our kid ran the wrong route on the pick-6,” said Gehr. “Hock did big things against us last year and he did it again tonight. He’s their go-to guy and we knew that going in and for the most part we did ok, but you can’t shut down a great kid like that all night.”
Hughesville was able to avoid the shutout as after the interception return for a touchdown, the Spartans put together a four-play, 68-yard drive, capped by Mikey Dylina’s 29-yard touchdown run.
Bloomsburg 34, Hughesville 6
Bloomsburg (1-0) 12 0 0 22 – 34
Hughesville (0-1) 0 0 0 6 – 6
11:14 – (B) Damon Rasmussen 12-yard pass from Jack Howell (kick failed), 4-42, :46
8:34 – (B) Nasir Heard 64-yard run (pass failed), 2-64, :46
11:41 – (B) Brody Hock 39-yard pass from Jack Howell (Doerschler kick), 7-72, 2:20
10:42 – (B) Safety
9:01 – (B) Brody Hock 10-yard pass from Jack Howell (Doerschler kick), 3-20, 1:41
8:52 – (B) Brody Hock 42-yard interception return (kick failed)
7:15 – (H) Mikey Dylina 29-yard run (kick failed), 4-68, 1:37
First downs 10 7
Rushes-net yards 23-110 36-44
Passing yardage 155 25
Passing 12-25-3-1 5-14-0-1
Fumbles-lost 4-2 4-1
Penalties-yards 14-110 8-63
RUSHING: Bloomsburg: Luke Potora (6-45), Jack Howell (6-(-11)), Nasir Kelly (3-2), Nasir Heard (2-68-1), Brody Hock (1-9), Joshua Bogdanowicz (1-3), Damon Rasmussen (1-1), Toby Zajac (1-0), Mike Petock (1-0), TEAM (1-(-7)); Hughesville: Colton Yocum (7-42), Devin Swank (6-9), Brenden Knight (6-5), Joey Swink (6-(-15)), Mikey Dylina (5-42-1), Luke Kaiser (3-(-6)), TEAM (3-(-33))
PASSING: Bloomsburg: Jack Howell (12-25-155-3-1); Hughesville: Joey Swink (4-12-17-0-1), Luke Kaiser (1-2-8-0-0)
RECEIVING: Bloomsburg: Brody Hock (8-135-2), Daniel Guzevich (2-4), Damon Rasmussen (1-12-1), Devon Yocum (1-4); Hughesville: Devin Swank (3-10), Aiden Barlett (1-8), Angelo Ferrigno (1-7)
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