NTL FOOTBALL: TOWANDA HAS BOUNCE BACK SEASON ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD
(2022-11-20)Northern Tier Sports Report
The 2022 campaign was a bounce back for Towanda on the grid iron. The Black Knights went 4-6 on the season, and earned their first playoff berth in several seasons.
“I was very proud of our accomplishments this past year,” said coach Craig Dawsey. “We had a lot of adversity early in the year that we had to overcome and the team responded with a strong positive outlook.”
Sophomore running back Riley Vanderpool went ran for 1,367 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, while, as a team, Towanda ran for nearly 2,000 yards.
Grady Flynn threw for over 500 yards, as Justin schooner had over 200 yards receiving with a touchdown. Elias Shrawder went over 100 yards receiving, as well.
Vanderpool was stellar defensively with 91 tackles to lead the team, including nine tackles for a loss.
Fellow sophomore Sawyer Robinson finished with 70 tackles, while Quinton Woodburn, Varius Farrell and Jodey Sullivan had over 30 tackles each.
Six different players recorded at least three sacks, and they had seven interceptions as a team.
“We had a running back who rushed for 1,000 yards for the first time in awhile which was a great team accomplishment,” Dawsey said. “Through the course of the year our team had some really good games and did some super things in order for them to get to the play-offs. Our captains and seniors did a fantastic job leading in a very difficult situation in regards to one of our coaches having to relinquish his duties due to health reasons. I have never had a team have to go through a situation like that and to still do as well as they did is a credit to them and their commitment to each other.”
Towanda opened the season with a thrilling 34-14 win over NP-Mansfield, but then lost their next three contests - though one was just 21-7 to a tough Milton squad.
They would rally to beat Wellsboro 41-19, but then went on another 3-game losing streak, though one was a close 21-0 loss to Hughesville.
The team came together over the final two weeks, shutting out Tunkhannock 34-0 and then retaining the Bronze Helmet with a 48-13 win over Wyalusing.
They would lose their playoff game to Troy, but the tone had been for the future.
While they boast a strong sophomore class, they’ll be saying good-bye to several key seniors, some, like Jared Gunther and Mitchell Mosier, who have been in the Black Knight program since their flag football days 13 years ago.
They may not have returned Towanda to the top of the NTL, but they got them started on the road back.
“We hope to build on this season that was filled with a group of young men who never quit but endured to the end and learned something about themselves,” Dawsey remarked. “It was incredible to be a part of it.”
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