Lehighton unleashes early, cruises to opening victory
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LANSFORD, Pa. – After a few-week delay to start the 2020 high school football season, the Lehighton offense was ready to go. The Indians jumped out to a 34-0 lead in the first half and cruised to a 40-12 victory over Panther Valley in the season opener for both Schuylkill League teams at Panther Valley Football Stadium on Friday night.
Senior quarterback Richard Fronheiser piloted the Lehighton offensive unit in the first two quarters, which was just his second varsity start. He tossed five touchdowns and threw for 340 yards. His tremendous start allowed him the opportunity to rest in the second half of the contest.
Fronheiser spread the ball around as well. Zack Hunsicker finished with nine catches for 98 yards and one score while Hunter Crum recorded six receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Ian Rarick, and Ethan Buchert also notched receiving touchdowns in the victory.
The team’s lone second half score came via the run game as JJ McDowell had a five-yard rushing touchdown with just under nine minutes left in the third quarter to make it 40-6.
Panther Valley’s best drive, and the first one which resulted in points, came right before halftime. Louis Clouser set up the Panthers well with a 60-yard kick-off return. Then Panthers’ quarterback Michael Pascoe, in his first varsity start, ran the ball most of the ensuing drive and capped it off with a two-yard rush into the endzone with 97 seconds remaining in the opening half.
Pascoe took the bulk of the carries on that drive, but Clouser had those duties for a majority of the game. The senior running back finished with 124 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
The Indians led 34-6 at intermission and the reserves played most of the second half. Panther Valley followed suit in the fourth quarter as well, swapping their starters with the second-string unit.
Friday’s contest was the start of an eight-game, league-only schedule for Schuylkill League teams this fall. The league is split into two divisions, based on school enrollment size. The Schuylkill League was set to start a scheduling co-op with the Colonial League this fall, but officials from both leagues decided to postpone that until 2021 due to the uncertainties with this season stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Panther Valley will remain home to host Marian Catholic next week, who lost to Jim Thorpe 43-0 on Friday night in their opening contest. Lehighton will stay on the road and visit Tamaqua, who beat Shenandoah Valley 49-7 on Friday night, on September 19 at 1:10 p.m.
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