United falls to Penns Manor, can't contain Comets quarterback
Heritage Conference opponents have not found a way to keep Penns Manor quarterback Danny Ferens from running away with games. United was no exception to that trend last Friday, as the visiting Comets overpowered the Lions, 56-0, led by 265 rushing yards from Ferens.
Ferens called his own number on five of the Comets' eight touchdowns and connected with receiver Corey Brown for another.
The excitement of United's Homecoming festivities did not extend onto the field, as the Lions managed to gain just a dozen total yards of offense for the evening and remained winless for the season. Penns Manor improved its record to 3-1.
“This kid's unbelievable,” United coach Greg Mytrysak said of Ferens. “We were hoping he would have the flu, and that didn't work....
“You think you have him contained, and he just continues to make plays with his legs. He makes cuts; he makes everybody miss. He's just something special. He just won't lose.”
PM coach Bill Packer agrees with that assessment of Ferens: “He makes things happen. He just scrambles, he finds the opening and he goes. He's just amazing to watch.”
Packer also gave credit to the Comets offensive line for opening holes for PM runners but said his team's success this season has rested as much if not more so on a strong defensive effort. To prepare for United, he said, “We knew that they like to run power football, so we practiced on stopping the ball up the middle.”
That wasn't the only part of the Penns Manor game plan that paid off. “They beat us in every phase of the game,” Mytrysak conceded. “They dominated us.”
United's opening drive of the game was cut short on the third play, when a high snap evaded Lions quarterback Chuck Hropovich and Chris Henderson recovered the ball for a PM first down at the United 3. Less than half a minute into the game, Steve Dumm carried in the Comets' first TD run on the next play, and James Conway booted the first of six successful PAT kicks out of eight attempts for the night.
While United was unable to gain a first down, Penns Manor scored three more touchdowns, for a 27-0 lead, by the end of the first quarter.
Ferens began PM's second scoring drive with a 49-year romp to the U 12 and capped it with a one-yard keeper. The next drive for points consisted entirely of his 46-yard carry, as he weaved his way deftly through the United defenders. Ferens connected twice with Brown on the following PM series, concluding with a 16-yard TD pass.
United regained possession three plays later when Brown picked off Hropovich for a first down at the U 7. Henderson carried the ball in for yet another PM touchdown.
The Lions failed to penetrate into Comets territory until it was too late, with less than two minutes to play in the half. Meanwhile, Ferens scored twice more, on runs of 17 and 22 yards.
At the top of the third quarter, Ferens dashed into the end zone once more — on a 70-yard run — before turning the Comets offense over to backup quarterbacks Lucas Kowalski and Mike Hildebrand.
United's alternate QBs — junior Weylon McGeary and freshman Matt Dill — likewise got turns at the helm for the Lions. While they gained valuable experience, neither was able to make an impact on the scoreboard.
PM scored its final points on a safety, as the Comets' Andrew Somogyi sacked Dill in the end zone.
To prepare for Friday's trip to Saltsburg, also 0-4, “We've got to get the spirits back up,” Mytrysak said. “There are six games left. We're not ready to pack it in.”
Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.