JOHNSTOWN — It didn’t seem to matter which Penns Manor skill player ran the ball against Conemaugh Valley. Every Comets’ runner just seemed to have a head of steam and a generous hole to run through.
Penns Manor amassed 351 rushing yards and scored a touchdown on each of its first seven possessions en route to a 48-6 shellacking of the Blue Jays in a non-conference football game at Tom Yewcic Stadium on Saturday.
Penns Manor outgained Conemaugh Valley, 457-169. The Comets also racked up 26 first downs to the Blue Jays’ eight.
“We knew from watching them play Northern Cambria that they would be able to do that,” Conemaugh Valley coach Tom Marshall said of the Comets’ ability to run at will. “They were just bigger and stronger than us. They really wouldn’t have had to throw the ball at all. We just didn’t have the physical presence to stop them on the ground.”
The Comets marched 56 yards on seven straight run plays on their first drive to get on the board first.
Bailey Mumau ran twice for 29 yards on the drive, and Louie Tate ran three times for 22 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown on a second-and-one that made it 7-0 with 7:02 left in the first quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Blue Jays’ next drive, Penns Manor drove 59 yards on nine plays to extend its lead to 13-0.
Quarterback Luke Kowalski capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the first.
Kowalski then made it 20-0 on the Comets’ next possession by faking a handoff out of the shotgun formation and racing 20 yards for a touchdown with 10:48 to go in the first half.
Conemaugh Valley put together its lone scoring drive of the game on the following possession.
Blue Jays running back Anthony Hutzell scored from 4 yards with 5:07 to play in the first half to make it a 20-6 game.
But Kowalski answered for Penns Manor on the Comets’ ensuing drive, capping an eight-play march and hitting tight end Gavin Grimaldi for a 12-yard touchdown to stretch the Comets’ lead to 27-6 with 2:09 left in half.
Kowalski, who ran for a team-high 74 yards on just six carries, also completed 8 of 12 passes for 84 yards.
“Our passing wasn’t very good in our first game so we really wanted to work on that today,” Penns Manor coach Bill Packer said. “We worked on it all week in practice and he’s (Kowalski) a nice athlete. He throws the ball well, and I think he’s got a little confidence now.”
Mumau put the game out of reach on the fifth play of the second half by bolting 23 yards on a sweep around left end for a touchdown to make it 34-6.
Tate ended a 12-play, 66-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run on Penns Manor’s next possession to make it 41-6. Tate ran for 64 yards on eight carries and caught two passes for a team-high 34 yards.
“Every time I touched the ball there was a huge, beautiful hole there,” Tate said. “If I got tackled, it was my fault. I would have had no one to blame but myself if I didn’t score or have a good run. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better line.”
Penns Manor wide receiver Tyler Somogyi caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Clayton Stupic with 1:59 left in the game to round out the scoring.
Seven Penns Manor players ran for 20 yards or more, including Mumau, who rushed for 63 yards on just four carries.
“We have a pile of sophomore running backs that come in and don’t miss a beat,” Packer said. “They’re only going to get better. We’re pretty good in depth at the running back position.”