Antelopes can’t stop experienced Riverside team

Avonworth’s Brennan Neidhart sprints the last few feet of a 64-yard run that would put the Antelopes on the scoreboard in last Friday’s WPIAL quarterfinal game against Riverside. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

The 2017 season came to a close for the Avonworth Antelopes football team when they faced the Riverside Panthers in a WPIAL quarterfinal game played at Seneca Valley last Friday. With 16 seniors in the starting line-up for the Panthers, their experience showed in every facet of the game as they overpowered the Antelopes 42-14.

'That's a good football team," said 'Lopes coach Duke Johncour.

Avonworth had their hands full not only with their opponent but with penalties -- 13 in all -- and the most in a game this season. Riverview got on the scoreboard first on their second possession of the game, moving the ball 81 yards in 13 plays to the end zone. The Panther offense is run-oriented, but a couple of pass receptions were key in the drivem which culminated with an eight-yard touchdown run followed by the extra point kick to put Riverside up 7-0 with :44 left in the opening quarter.

The Antelopes answered the call on their ensuing drive when quarterback Derek Johncour beat a blitz by the Panther defense with a short pass completion to Brennan Neidhart that resulted in a 64-yard touchdown. Jason Novosel converted the extra point kick that put the score at 7-7 with 17 seconds gone by in the second quarter.

Avonworth committed seven penalties through the remainder of the quarter, while Riverside continued to roll on offense with three more touchdowns, putting the Panthers up 28-7 at the half.

Riverside controlled the clock in the third quarter with two long drives that reached the end zone. The Panthers led 42-7 and the mercy rule came into effect with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

Avonworth's Park Penrod came off the bench and threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Turner Grau in the fourth quarter, and Novosel added the extra point kick that put the final score at 42-14.

After the game, Coach Johncour thanked his players and especially the nine seniors, saying, "I can't thank you enough. For the young players, this is something to build on for next year."