MUNCY-He is a state wrestling medalist by winter and a standout running back/linebacker come fall.
These first two weeks, however, Muncy senior Troy Hembury has earned another label. He is now Muncy's closer.
Six nights after gouging Canton in the fourth quarter, Hembury slammed the door on Cowanesque Valley. This time, he made a huge fourth-quarter interception and broke two tackles a play later while scoring a critical 12-yard touchdown. That two-play sequence helped Muncy snuff out a Cowanesque Valley rally and ignited a 20-point flurry as Muncy won, 48-12 Friday at Stanley Schuyler Stadium. Hembury ran for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns, Teddy Clark added three touchdowns and Muncy is 2-0 for the first time since 2002.
"He (Hembury) just keeps fighting," defensive end Scott Appleman said. "Every single play he goes at it."
Muncy opened a 21-0 lead but Cowanesque Valley fought back. Two Brandon Whitesell touchdown passes made it 28-12 late in the third quarter and when Whitesell intercepted a pass deep in CV territory with 7:38 remaining, his team suddenly had a chance to make it a one-score game.
As quick as that chance it came, Hembury ended it. Hembury made a diving catch off a deflected pass at the CV 12-yard line. Seconds later, he exploded up the middle, ran over one defender and then shook off another, scoring his third touchdown and finally putting away the determined Indians.
"Troy is very tired at the end of the night. He's a beaten puppy, but he did a great job," Muncy coach Jay Drumheller said. "He had a great preseason and he's carrying it over and I'm proud of all these guys because it's been a long time since Muncy has been 2-0."
Muncy scored on its first three possessions as the offensive line dominated and opened big holes for a bevy of Muncy running backs. Three 1-yard touchdown runs by Hembury and Clark made it 21-0 early in the second quarter and at that point, Muncy had outgained CV 164-4 while running 26 plays to its 6. Another Clark touchdown made it 28-6 at halftime.
The defensive line was superb for a second straight week and helped Muncy hold CV to just 14 rushing yards. Appleman was a beast and, more impressive than the tackles and sacks he had, was how many plays he blew up in which he did not make the tackle. He constantly pressured the quarterback while Jake Colburn and Skylar Ebner each had two sacks.
"We're a really good team and it's just fun being with a group of guys we've been with the last few years," Appleman said. "I just do the best I can to get by them and get to the quarterback."
CV (1-1) is short on depth and won just one game in two years entering 2012, but showed it has come a long way in a short time, rallying despite the big deficit. Whitesell made repeated big plays, hitting Ryan Freeman (105 yards) with a 49-yard touchdown pass and Luke Plummer with a 19-yarder that made it 28-12. Muncy knew he was going to throw nearly every play in the second half and constantly blitzed, but Whitesell never was fazed and kept on making clutch throws.
The gutty senior played nearly every snap of the game, threw for 144 yards and also made nine tackles.
"I'm a little sore but I'll just ice it and be good. I don't mind getting hit," Whitesell said. "We're making a lot of progress. We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm glad we just didn't let down."
The Indians made a big fourth-down stop in the second quarter, setting up Whitesell's first touchdown pass and the defense came alive in the third quarter, holding Muncy scoreless. Shea Daley made a team-high 10 tackles, Mike Presto added eight and Ethan Mead broke up four passes. CV lost, but a long struggling program took a big step forward.
"The guys are used to just being everybody's whipping boy. I've seen many games in the past where the guys would have said we're done and it would have been 70 points," CV coach James Burns said. "We took a step and Muncy is no joke. They're a good team."
Muncy broke it open in the final four minutes as Clark capped a short Muncy drive with his third touchdown. The Indians ran for 262 yards, as Jeff Scott and T.J. Moyle also were tough to tackle, and quarterback Anthony Barbiero threw for 130 yards while Elijah Warnick and Maurice Scott combined for seven catches.
Nick Ring put an exclamation point on Muncy's performance, recovering a fumble in the end zone for his first scholastic touchdown after playing so well up front offensively. Muncy has held two opponents to 31 rushing yards.
"Nobody panicked and that's a good sign," Drumheller said. "We have so many guys doing good things. They are very supportive of each other and it's becoming a family atmosphere which is good. In the long run it's going to help us through some games."