The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports Conemaugh Township

September 8, 2012

Shade notches WestPAC upset at Conemaugh Township

DAVIDSVILLE — The Shade Panthers and Conemaugh Township Indians both entered Friday’s WestPAC game with the hope of improving on offenses that both only mustered one touchdown a piece last week in their season opening losses to Windber and Berlin-Brothersvalley respectively.  

Both teams showed significant improvement, but Shade defeated Conemaugh Township on the Indians’ own turf, 27-13.

Township struck nine plays into the game’s opening drive as Bruno Rosa hit Jeff Fisher on a wide-open 15-yard touchdown pass with 7:08 remaining in the first quarter.

The Indians missed the extra point to take a 6-0 lead.

Nash Walker and the Panthers responded by returning the ensuing kickoff just past the 50-yard line.  Walker added a 27-yard touchdown reception from Cody Kiser to put the Panthers up, 7-6.

“Nash Walker played great today, giving us some big returns and big catches for us,” Shade co-head coach Don Fyfe said.

Township engineered a 15-play, 55-yard drive. Backs Kris Knotts and Taylor Cahill took turns running the ball out of a split-back formation for 3 to 5 yards at a time, culminating in Knotts’ 3-yard touchdown rush. Knotts added a two point conversion run to put the Indians up by 7 points.

“We were pretty evenly matched as far as the talent of our teams are concerned,” Panthers co-head Mike Pribish said. “They played a good, tough game.”

 Shade’s Brock Medva rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Medva answered the Township score with a touchdown. He took advantage of good field position from another Nash kick return by running 27 yards for a score on the second play of the drive.

“Brock is tough and a good athlete,” Conemaugh Township coach Sam Zambanini said. “A lot of the plays he made happened when we shut down the play side and he cut back off tackle on the other side and we just over-persued.”

Township led 14-13 at halftime after Shade missed the extra point.

Medva and Nash were productive in the second half. Medva took the bulk of the work as Shade marched down the field until Shade’s Matt Orner was stuffed in the backfield by Taylor Cahill on a first down play.

It seemed as though the momentum was about to shift back in favor of the Indians until a play later when Kiser took the snap, and bombed the ball down the field to an open Walker for a 50-yard touchdown pass.

“I learned these kids’ instinct is never quit and that they can work as one whole unit,” Pribish said.

Pribish also said he was impressed with Walker’s toughness, noting that he had played well throughout the game despite some minor injuries. Pribish said that can be attributed to the team-first approach that he tries to instill in his players.

The Indians struggled to move the ball the rest of the game and failed to score any second half points.

“It’s a 10-game season and we’re only two in, we’re not hitting any panic buttons by any stretch of the imagination,” Zambanini said. “We have a lot of guys who are inexperienced, but we’ve seen marked improvement from these young guys. They are getting better.”

Medva scored the final touchdown late in the third quarter on a spectacular 70-yard rush that sealed the game for the Panthers.

  Pribish and Fyfe credited the selflessness of the players each week.

 “Tonight Brock and Nash both had a great game, next week Dylan might have a great game, it doesn’t matter to these kids. As long as the points are on our side of the board at the end of the game, that’s what they’re here for,” Fyfe said.

“I knew we had a lot of fight and I knew we had a lot of great kids,”  Pribish added. “We just needed to get that one win.”

Shade returns home next week to face the Portage Mustangs while Conemaugh Township travels to Myersdale to take on the Red Raiders.

 

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