Penns Manor too much for Blairsville
The discussion at Penns Manor during the past four seasons has been centered around star quarterback Danny Ferens.
And for good reason.
As a junior, Ferens was the centerpiece of the Comets' PIAA Class A semifinalists in 2011, and he hasn't backed down through six weeks this year.
Ferens rushed for 204 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season and scored four touchdowns and Cody Bytner added 179 yards to lead Penns Manor to a 42-28 victory over visiting Blairsville on Friday night in a District 6 Heritage Conference game matching the league's top two quarterbacks.
Blairsville sophomore Scott Thompson, the conference's top passer, managed just 106 yards passing on 6 of 17 attempts with one touchdown.
It was the senior presence of Ferens that made the biggest difference, as Penns Manor (5-1, 4-1) won its fifth consecutive game after a season-opening loss to Northern Cambria.
“I guess it's because I've started for four years now that people keep talking,” Ferens said. “We've definitely had some success over that time, but it's not been just one person.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Ferens is being recruited by numerous FBS schools because of his athleticism and speed.
“Wherever he goes to school, he's going to play and he's going to contribute,” Blairsville coach Ab Dettorre said. “Everyone knows he's got great speed. I think he'd make a great strong safety.”
Penns Manor built a two-touchdown lead before halftime and never was threatened, despite a pair of long touchdown runs by Blairsville's Deion Robinson. The sophomore scored on a 71-yarder to tie the score at 7-7 in the first quarter and added a 73-yarder in the third to cut the Bobcats' deficit to 28-14.
In between, Ferens raced 55 yards for a score and crossed from 3 yards out before Bytner's 70-yard touchdown run gave Penns Manor a 28-7 advantage.
“Cody showed a lot of people tonight what he can do,” Ferens said. “He's been injured with an ankle since the first game.”
Penns Manor took an early 7-0 lead on a 32-yard touchdown run by Bytner before Blairsville knotted the score when Robinson shook loose up the middle and outraced the defense for his 71-yard scoring run.
Thompson's 2-yard touchdown run was the first of two fourth-quarter scores for Blairsville (3-3, 3-3), cutting Penns Manor's lead to 35-21.
But the Comets secured the victory when Ferens scored his fourth touchdown on a 20-yard run on fourth down with 5:52 left.
“It started up front for us. Our offensive line made some nice holes,” Penns Manor coach Bill Packer said. ‘Offensively we had an excellent night.”
About a minute later, Thompson fired a 24-yard scoring strike to Colton McMillen to close out the scoring.
“Penns Manor played like a team that knew they could win. We played like a team that thought we could win,” Dettorre said.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.