Lewisburg Out-Muscles Towanda.
LEWISBURG: The District 4 “AA” semi-final game featuring the second and third seeded teams also boasted a battle of two undefeated schools. Northern Tier League representative, the Towanda Black Knights, traveled 1 ¾ hours south to take on the Green Dragons of Lewisburg from the PA Heartland Conference. It was difficult to determine how these two teams would match-up, having competed in different leagues, but there were two common opponents in Mifflinburg and Hughesville, and, at least by that measure, the squads seemed to stack-up pretty evenly. All too often though, that sort of comparison makes for poor prognosticating.
Towanda swept its regular season by dominating opponents in the NTL, but they would face something very different on this chilly Saturday afternoon. The Knight’s highly touted signal-caller, Cody Miller, was able to scramble around the field, evading tacklers to the tune of 84 yards on 18 carries. He was also able to mount an aerial attack which netted 197 yards and the team’s only two scores late in the game. But the Dragon defense nearly always made the stops when they had to, forcing Miller to go to the air 33 times with only 15 completions and 2 interceptions to thwart drives on the last play of each half.
While Lewisburg’s defense was doing its job, their offense was punishing the Knight defenders. Merle Moscarello got the ball 11 times in the first half and pounded it 148 yards down-field. Nate Brown finished off the drives in the half with 42 yards and 2 touchdowns. Finally, QB Camden Cassels showed his poise hitting 5 of 7 passing with two scores, including a double pass which was lateraled to Robby Gaines, who then tossed it into the waiting arms of tight end, Brandon Smith, for a 47-yard touch down. It was the last score of the half and put the Dragons up 26-0.
Towanda’s only chance to score in the opening half was on their fourth possession when they drove 79 yards to a 4th &5 at the Lewisburg 7, but came up empty-handed when a 24-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right. Besides that drive, they were forced to punt three times, over on downs once, and had the pick to end the half.
The second half was somewhat more competitive after the Dragons received the kick-off and marched 67 yards to the end-zone, capped by a Nick Kifolo 8-yard TD. The Knights were able to answer right back, primarily due to a 61-yard break-away run by Jordan Dawsey. That got Towanda a 1st & 10 at the Dragon 24. Six plays later Miller found Mason Roof in the open for a 8-yard touchdown pass.
The teams each traded a series before Kifolo got his second score on a 49-yard scramble early in the final quarter. Down 39-7, Towanda put together a time-consuming drive of 74 yards to put the last points on the score-board on a 29-yard Miller pass to Casey Huff.
Coach Tilford’s reserves were making one final push into Knight territory when they fumbled the ball back to Towanda at the Knight’s 18 yard-line. But a final interception by Brandon Batman took away any more chances for the Knights and ended the contest at 39-14.
TOWANDA amassed a record of 11-1, and the NTL large school title throughout the 2010 season. Congratulations to Coach Dawsey and his Knights on a fine year of football.
LEWISBURG remains undefeated at 12-0 with the win. They will travel to Danville to do battle with the unbeaten Ironmen(12-0) next week for the D-4 “AA” crown. This will be the culmination of a very competitive “AA” field in the PA Heartland Conference. Best wishes to both teams as they vie to be the district’s representative in the “AA” state playoffs.
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