COAL TOWNSHIP — The run game of quarterback Collin Bowers gave Danville head coach Jim Keiser a bit of a scare heading into Friday night’s game at Kemp Memorial Stadium, but the Danville defense made the proper adjustments and Peyton Persing helped the offense power to a 47-14 win over the Indians.
The Shamokin defense opened the game with a strong showing, forcing a three-and-out from the Ironmen that netted no yardage, but Danville quickly returned the favor after a 43-yard punt and then showed how effective its multi-pronged offensive attack can be.
Peyton Riley scored on a wide-open 44-yard pass reception on a third and 16 after his Shamokin defender dropped coverage to pursue a scrambling KJ Riley.
The Shamokin offense responded by showing some of its own signs of life, driving the ball into Danville territory on an off-tackle run by Brycen James behind a pulling lineman, Brian Hornberger, for 25 yards.
Peyton Riley intercepted a pass on the very next play to kill any momentum the Indians had built. To rub salt in the wound, Peyton Persing, who had an outstanding night that included 227 yards of offense and multiple scores, scored on the next play of the game on a 44-yard run to put Danville up 13-0 with 4:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Bowers, who ran for 100 yards, reduced the margin to a single possession after running a 60-yard keeper between the hashes for a touchdown to open scoring in the second quarter. His number did not get called at all during the opening 12 minutes.
Keiser said, “That Bowers kid is tough. He’s the second-best running quarterback we’ve seen all year and that is behind (Loyalsock’s) Connor Watkins.”
He continued, “We knew (Bowers’ running game) was coming and we were all kind of wondering when it was and then it did, and we had to make some adjustments. I thought overall we handled it well.”
The third quarter of the game went scoreless, with the Shamokin defense finding an answer to Danville’s spread attack and the Indians regained momentum at the open of the fourth quarter when senior wide receiver Joey Masser hauled in his first touchdown pass of the season on a 12-yard catch in the back of the end zone.
“We were sweating this one out,” Keiser said of his coaching staff. “This game was a lot closer than it looks on paper, but I can’t give our guys enough credit. ... I had to give a bit of a halftime speech, which I never do, because I felt like the game could still go either way.”
Danville went on to score three touchdowns in 58 seconds with less than six minutes remaining in the game to break the contest open.
Danville’s Shane Kozick scored on a 13-yard reception, James fumbled the football on the ensuing kickoff, which led to a 12-yard touchdown run by Jagger Dressler, and Evan Welliver returned an interception 43 yards to reach the final score of 47-14.