The North Penn-Mansfield Panthers are catching fire late in the season, winning their third straight game to put them over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The Panthers claimed a 31-7 victory on Friday night against the Phillipsburg-Osceolla Mountaineers behind a strong run game and an overwhelming defensive effort by the Panthers.
In the opening quarter of the game, the Panthers were able to strike first, as quarterback Colton Litzelman found one of his favorite targets in Brandon Thompson for a 38-yard touchdown to open the game.
Later in the quarter, kicker Kevin Alexander was able to connect on a 30-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 10-0 lead with only one minutes remaining to end the first quarter.
In the first 11 seconds of the second quarter, the defense came up with a key play to help extend the lead.
Kohen Lehman recovered a fumble and took it the distance for a 43-yard touchdown for the defense.
With the score at 17-0, the Panthers afforded themselves some breathing room early in the game.
Lehman continued to be the catalyst of the Panthers scoring in the second period, as he broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run giving him both an offensive and a defensive touchdown in the first half alone.
As time expired, the Mountaineers punched in a one-yard touchdown with no time left on the clock but were still fighting an uphill battle down by a score of 24-7 with only two quarters left to play.
The third quarter was a defensive battle for both teams, with neither teams being able to put any points on the board in the quarter.
The scoring was capped off in the fourth with Litzelman punching in his second touchdown of the night, but this time on a run, to bring the final score to 31-7 and give the North Penn team their fourth win of the year.
The Panthers relied once again on an assortment of running backs to carry the load, with a total of six players recording at least one rush attempt to accumulate 174 yards on the ground to go with two touchdowns.
Quarterback Litzelman continues to have a strong season, throwing for his 10th touchdown of the year, and also rushing for his first.
He has been extremely efficient, and has only thrown one interception so far in 145 attempts going for 908 yards. Litzelman has also has completed an remarkable 65% of his passes.
He leads all NTL quarterbacks in completion percentage that have attempted more than 10 throws on the season. He also has the third most passing touchdowns in the NTL as well.
The running game for the Panthers was led once again by Bryan Bogaczyk, who toted the ball 20 times for 92 yards. Lehman also contributed four carries for 58 yards including his big 49-yard touchdown in the second.
Defensively the Panthers have stepped up in a big way over the past three games. After allowing 42 points to Bloomsburg and 39 points to Troy, the Panthers have only allowed a total of 27 points during their three game win-streak and only seven on Friday. The defense was led by Brett Harvey who racked up eleven total tackles in the win.
The Panthers host their Homecoming game this Friday night against the 1-6 Towanda Black Knights. North Penn-Mansfield has staged a massive comeback this year, roaring back from a 1-2 start to climb to 4-3 heading into the end of the season.
The Panthers will need to continue their hot streak as they host three home games to finish off their season.
Team Stats: NPM PO
Total Plays: 56 50
First Downs: 11 6
Penalties-Yards: 6-50 8-85
Passing: Colton Litzelman 12-20 91 yards 1 TD.
Rushing: Bryan Bogaczyk 20-92; Kohen Lehman 4-58 1 TD; Koleton Roupp 15-15; Cameron Fabian 4-12; Eli Shaw 1-6; Colton Litzelman 2-(-9) 1 TD.
Receiving: Brandon Thompson 1-38 1 TD; Mitchael Tice 2-21; Kalan Matczak 3-14; Logan Tokarz 4-9; Cameron Fabian 1-5; Koleton Roupp 1-4.