H.S. FOOTBALL: Kowalski powers Penns Manor
KENWOOD — Penns Manor and United entered the season with some uncertainty.
The two teams have taken different paths through the first four weeks and, though the paths crossed for a couple hours Friday night at Pat Corrigan Field, the teams kept going their own ways, the Comets toward another successful season and the Lions to another difficult one.
Penns Manor blew past United, 48-0, in a Heritage Conference football game, improving to 4-0 while the Lions fell to 0-4, and Lucas Kowalski,
the quarterback replacing the area’s all-time leading rusher, Danny Ferens, is starting to come into his own in his first season as the leader of the offense.
Kowalski scored five touchdowns, though he had just 10 carries, and rushed for 130 yards to give the Comets a 34-point head start in the first half.
“It feels great, because I know we had doubters out there,” the senior quarterback said. “It feels great to start off the season 4-0, and we hope to keep it up.”
“The kids heard a lot of negative things about them not being that good this year, but they know that there’s talent there and they know that they’re good,” Penns Manor coach Bill Packer said. “It was important for us to get that start, so now they have confidence.”
In the first half, Kowalski finished a few drives keyed by other players, and he sparked a few good possessions himself, all the while benefiting from Penns Manor’s stout offensive line. Kowalski scored on runs of 1, 13, 11, 21 and 61 yards for the Comets’ first five touchdowns.
His last one was the most impressive, on his part and his blockers’. On third-and-10, Kowalski dropped back to pass but broke forward when a Red Sea-like opening formed on the left side of the line and bolted through for a 61-yard score.
“I just read the defense,” he said. “They all flowed to the pass. There was a hole in the middle, and I just hit it and ran.
“Guys up front, again, they threw me excellent blocks. I had something to work with, and I just read their blocks and ran.”
The Comets finished with 375 yards rushing, 448 yards overall, and threw United for minus-2 yards.
“We knew we had a nice offensive line coming back, so we were looking forward to that group,” Packer said. “These kids were looking forward. Danny Ferens was a great football player, but we were a good football team last year and we had a lot of guys coming back from that line, so we felt pretty good coming back. We’re pleased where we’re at, but we’ve got to clean a few things up.”
Meanwhile, United had hoped to progress under a new coach after a couple trying seasons, including an 0-10 campaign last year. It hasn’t shown up yet, at least not on the scoreboard. The Lions have been outscored 174-27.
“There are times when it seems like there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” United coach Lance Holupka said. “This week at practice, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we were very encouraged by what we saw. Our kids showed up. We really worked. In fact, when we got here today, we pulled in and in 15 minutes all our kids were dressed and out on the field. I told them, ‘If you need extra work and you want to go down there and get your long snaps in or whatever you need to do, get you extra work. Get on the field. But I need everybody on the field by 6.’ Everybody was on the field by 5:35.
“With a team that’s 0-4 and the results aren’t very good, they’re still willing to come out and work. … So the tunnel is long, but I can see the light at the end of it, because we are working and trying to get better. We just need to keep going.”
Louie Tate and Kyle Krevel ran for scores for the Comets in a quick second half, with the mercy rule running clock in effect after Tate’s touchdown.
Krevel and Bailey Mumau ran for 54 and 53 yards, respectively, and Kowalski went 4 of 8 for 49 yards.
David Brothers gained 18 yards on four carries to lead the Lions.