SOUTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP - After running for 162 first-half yards, Jermaine Brooks touched the ball just one last time.
And that was all it took to provide the game's best play. Brooks fielded a third-quarter punt at Wellsboro's 29-yard line, spun away from two CMVT tacklers, made two nifty cuts, received a big block from Nick Marple and burst down the left sideline for a 71-yard touchdown.
On a day Wellsboro made a series of big plays, Brooks, who collapsed from exhaustion following his return, saved the best for last and put an exclamation point on an emphatic win.
Wellsboro outgained CMVT, 479-24 through three quarters, scored 20 first-quarter points and romped to a 44-6 win at Wen Cerra Memorial Field.
"I was just focused on getting upfield and putting the team on my back and getting a touchdown," said Brooks, who totaled 241 yards on 13 touches. "It took a lot out of me. That's why I laid down in the end zone."
Brooks and his teammates visited the end zone often, scoring three times on their first four plays. Wellsboro (3-2) won its second straight, held CMVT to one first down through three quarters, built a 30-0 halftime lead and produced eight plays of more than 20 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Michael Pietropola completed 6 of 7 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Pietropola put all six throws in just the right spot, his receivers made good catches and he averaged 38.5 yards per completion.
Pietropola hit Konnor Spencer for a 53-yard completion on Wellsboro's first play and hard-working fullback Wyatt Covert scored from 2 yards out a play later. Ironically, that first play was the only one that did not produce a touchdown among the first four as Brooks scored on a 62-yard run the next series and Ben Shaw caught a 58-yard touchdown, making it 20-0 less than nine minutes into the game.
"I felt confident today. It was definitely a big day for me and I got great protection," Pietropola said. "When you can trust your receivers that's big. We have height and speed. They're all great athletes and they work hard."
"Mike is a pure athlete and he's only going to get better. He's a true student of the game," Wellsboro coach Steve Boyce said. "When in doubt we put the ball in our athlete's hands and that's definitely him. He seemed to put the ball in the right place. He was spot-on and you have to give a lot of credit to the receivers. It was a perfect storm of everyone getting on the same page at the same time."
Wellsboro's defense was so good that 21 of CMVT's 33 plays against the starters went for minus yards or no yards.
It was the fourth time in five games, Wellsboro held an opponent to 18 points or fewer.
"Connor is our strongest guy pound for pound and he's got speed. He and Thomas are tough to block," Boyce said. "When we create that chaos and our linebackers are coming it's a beautiful game to watch."
The Hornets inflicted the mercy rule less than eight minutes into the third quarter when Levi Mack capped an impressive 12-play, 94-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown. Pietropola completed passes of 43 and 27 to Dylan Widows and Marple on third and long situations, keeping the drive alive.
"I feel like we're starting to really get going," Pietropola said. "Preseason injuries killed us and now we're starting to get everyone back and we're starting to come ahead with a full head of steam."