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Panthers Advance to D-5 1A Title Game


November 7, 2019

Gary M. Baranec

Windber's Dylan Tomlinson goes up the middle and is brought down from behind by Northern Bedford's Luke Welsh in second-quarter action Saturday, Nov. 2, at Northern Bedford High School. NB advanced to the District 5 Class 1A title game with a 28-14 win.

Northern Bedford sandwiched a game-clinching touchdown run around two crucial turnovers in the final two minutes of the game to clinch a spot in the District 5 Classs 1A championship game with a 28-14 home semifinal win over Windber Nov. 2.

Up just 21-14 and with Windber putting on a last-ditch effort, Lucas Heck fell on a Windber fumble at midfield and Colby Imler followed that up with a 50-yard dive up the middle that turned into a sprint to the endzone to clinch the win. Imler intercepted a Windber pass on its next offensive play as an encore to his last-minute touchdown heroics.

"Imler has been solid for us all year on both sides of the ball and is a good leader for our team," NB coach Garry Black said of his two-way star who also contributes as the teams punter.

Northern had a big night from its rushing game with some key passes from quarterback Thad Leidy sprinkled in as it rolled up 365 offensive yards.

Cadin Ebersole sprinted down the sideline for a 48-yard score for the Panthers' first touchdown just two minutes into the contest. Dalton Smith got NB's second score on a 2-yard plunge early in the second frame that put NB up by 14-0. Smith toted the pigskin 25 times for 157 yards overall.

Windber struck back on a long drive that ate up nearly half of the second quarter to close the gap to 14-7 at the half.

Northern took advantage of four Rambler turnovers in the game and held a field position advantage throughout much of the contest. NB missed a 30-yard field goal after recovering the second-half kickoff but got the ball back in good field position for another good opportunity. The Panthers took advantage of the short field and went up 21-7 on a Thad Leidy to Brady Clark 13-yard slant pass. Collin Yeatts hit on all four of his PAT attempts in the game.

The gritty Windber eleven battled back to within a score when Freshmen John Shuster scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to culminate a long Windber drive midway through the final quarter.

After the Ramblers held NB, they appeared poised to make a last-ditch effort at a possible tie or win when the turnover bug, and Imler's touchdown jaunt, ended their hopes.

"I'm proud of our kids and I'm happy we are getting another shot at Tussey Mountain," exclaimed Black. "They are our rival, we respect each other a great deal and it will be a great game."

Northern will play Tussey Mountain on Friday night at Tiger Stadium in Hollidaysburg. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

All tickets at the gate on Friday night will be $6. Presale tickets are available at the Northern Bedford HS office through 1 p.m. Friday. Presale prices are: Adult $6 and Student $3.


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