KENWOOD — North Star fell victim to Penns Manor’s two-headed rushing attack that included Dimitri Lieb finding most of his yardage on the perimeter and Conner Keith plugging up the middle.
The Comets racked up 391 rushing yards on 50 carries to defeat North Star 44-20 in a Heritage-WestPAC crossover match-up between ninth-place squads Friday ngiht.
“That was tearing us up all night because we don’t have the speed and strong guys up front,” North Star coach Wes Berkebile said. “Our linebackers weren’t able to get in and fill on their runs. They did a good job of blocking our guys out.”
Keith and Lieb combined for 267 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.
“I thought offensively, we moved the ball well,” Penns Manor coach Bill Packer said. “I thought we did most of the things we wanted to do tonight.”
Penns Manor (3-7) ended a five-game losing streak and secured a berth in the District 6 Class A playoffs with its win and losses by Blacklick Valley, Ferndale and Moshannon Valley.
The Comets scored on each of their first three possessions. Lieb started the scoring with a 35-yard scamper to convert a fourth-and-1. Lieb caught a pass from Max Hill for the conversion.
North Star (2-8) answered with an eight-play drive that was capped when Eli Brougher dragged his toes just inside the sideline for an 8-yard touchdown reception from Alec Supanick. Supanick’s run tied it at 8-all.
Penns Manor went ahead again on Hill’s 5- and 8-yard touchdown runs in the second. Both conversions were successful as the hosts led 24-8.
North Star defensive lineman Alex Wojnarowski intercepted a Hill pass and returned it 5 yards for a touchdown, leaving Penns Manor with a 24-14 lead at halftime.
The Comets, who benefited with solid field position all game, added to their lead on Lieb’s 20-yard touchdown plunge to lead 30-14.
Penns Manor’s eight-play drive was punctuated with Lieb’s third touchdown of the night, a 2-yard plunge to go up 36-14 in the fourth.
Supanick, who accounted for 173 of North Star’s 216 yards, broke off a highlight-reel scramble that went for a 51-yard touchdown. Multiple defenders whiffed on the dynamic senior.
“He’s a great athlete; it shows on the field,” Berkebile said. “A lot of what he does, he does by himself.”
“That quarterback is something else,” Packer said. “I didn’t know he was going to be that good. We couldn’t tackle him, you got to give that kid a lot of credit. He kept them in the game.”
Mike Rizzo’s 10-yard touchdown run set the final with 2:34 left.
Berkebile’s squad won two more games this season than it did all of last year.
“Basically we had the same team come back that we had last year with a couple fill-ins,” Berkebile said. “These guys are going to be a solid football team.”