By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
BLOOMSBURG — Muncy finally forced a Bloomsburg punt on its last possession, and the Indians were looking to get a score to cut the deficit to seven.
So on third-and-long, the Indians knew a big play was needed. Unfortunately, it was the Panthers who’d come up with it.
Muncy quarterback Anthony Barberio was looking to pass and got blindsided by Bloomsburg’s Hunter Thompson.
The hit forced the ball loose and it took just one bounce as Jahveal Hemphill grabbed it and proceeded to run 70 yards untouched for a huge momentum shifting touchdown as the Panthers ended up with a 27-8 win over the Indians on a rainy Friday night at Panther Stadium.
“That was a momentum changing play. ... Our two freshmen are not freshmen anymore. They play like veterans. We’re very happy with the way they’re playing,” Kogut said in reference to Thompson and Hemphill. “Up 14-0 to go 21-0, I think it took the wind out of their sails offensively. They had some things going here and there and that kind of slowed them down a lot.”
The Indians (2-3) did little in terms of moving the ball on the Panthers (4-1) all game, especially on the ground.
Bloomsburg’s defense continually swarmed and put pressure on the Muncy offensive line, causing the running game to not get going. The Indians had just 72 yards on 30 carries and were 2-for-11 on third down conversions and 0-for-2 on fourth.
Muncy was in the red zone just twice.
“We forced them to a lot of third-and-longs and put them in that situation. They had to punt a good bit, which is certainly the goal of our defense (to) try to get the ball in our offenses hand,” Kogut said.
“We were swarming to the ball on defense. I thought our defense played outstanding and offense made big plays when we needed (them) to,” Kogut added.
The Indians did throw for 201 yards, 101 coming from second-string quarterback Eli Warnick.
Ricky Klingerman to Colby Klingerman was a connection the Indians defense had no answer for.
Colby Klingerman reeled in seven receptions for nearly 100 yards and twice found the end zone, including a fade to the back corner to put the Panthers ahead 14-0.
Ricky Klingerman ended the night with 179 passing yards and ran for 43 on five carries.
Bloomsburg’s first score came when Sam Miller punched it in from one yard out to complete a 70-yard drive on just three plays.
“We made some plays early and often, which was great,” Kogut said. “That hasn’t been our tendency to start that way. ... I didn’t like the way we played our second half. I think we lost our intensity and focus a little bit.”
The Panthers scored with 3:20 to go in the third quarter when the Klingerman’s hooked up for their second score on a 25-yard pass to go up 27-0.
Muncy’s lone score came with one minute remaining when Warnick hit Maurice Brown on a five yard pass in the back of the end zone.