MUNCY - Troy Hembury had success running the ball against the Bloomsburg defense in the first half on Friday night and Muncy's coaching staff wanted to give its workhorse more touches in the second in hopes of denting a 14-point deficit.
The plan was to move Hembury to quarterback and run the Wildcat. The idea was solid based on Hembury's first-half numbers that included 87 yards and a touchdown, but the execution was a bit faulty.
Two errant exchanges on their first three plays resulted in Bloomsburg recoveries. One led directly to a touchdown and the second left the Panthers just 8 yards short of another score as Bloomsburg turned a 14-point halftime lead into a 42-20 runaway.
"We've been working on it (the Wildcat) for a couple of weeks and we thought it was a good time to try and inject it," said Muncy coach Jay Drumheller. "It went wrong. It's different when you run it against a live team than your scout team."
The victory gave the Panthers (5-1, 3-1 HAC-III) precious District 4 playoff points as they battle a crowded field that had five teams entering Friday night with just a single loss and another undefeated. Bloomsburg came into last night fifth in the standings, 20 points ahead of Muncy.
With a schedule that includes Southern Columbia, Danville and Central Columbia over the next four weeks, Bloomsburg will need every point it can muster as just the top four teams qualify for the District 4 Class A playoffs.
"If we didn't have this game, we lost control of what could happen and we would have had to count on someone else," said Bloomsburg coach Larry Sones.
Muncy (4-2, 2-2), who Sones said is by no means out of the playoff picture, will have a chance to rebound next week at CMVT and vault back into contention.
"We are just taking it week to week," said Drumheller. "We have a four-game series and we got to see what we can do. We're going to set our sights at a game at a time."
The Indians trailed just 21-7 at the half last night before the two turnovers early in the third quarter erased any hopes of a comeback bid. The first snap slipped through the fingers of Hembury and bounced along the damp turf before being scooped at the 7 by Bloomsburg's Tyler Vincent who reached the end zone for the third of his four touchdowns.
Vincent's final score resulted from another bad exchange from the Wildcat. Bloomsburg recovered the miscue at the 8 and two plays plays later, Ricky Klingerman lofted a pass high in the air that Vincent plucked from the night sky for a 5-yard touchdown.
"That's a 14-point swing right there and with their style, not that they can't throw the ball because they can, but they want to run the ball," said Sones. "That gave us a little bit of breathing room there."
Vincent finished with five catches for 62 yards and three touchdowns. His 30-yarder on a fourth-down play in the first quarter gave the Panthers their first lead at 14-7
Klingerman targeted more than just his tight end. Seven Panthers caught balls, including five of them who caught at least three balls.
"Their quarterback was on fire tonight and he hit everyone," said Drumheller.
Klingerman finished 26 of 41 for 330 yards and five touchdowns. Colby Klingerman caught eight passes for 113 yards and the other two scores.
"It's hard to defend speed if you don't have as much as you do because eventually someone is going to get open," said Drumheller. "That is something we will have to work on in the offseason."
Ricky Klingerman threw from the pocket, rolled to his left and his right and threw fades, crosses and go patterns with precision. He completed 13 of his first 15 passes before back-to-back incompletions. He had 243 yards by halftime.
Hembury played just two series in the Wildcat but did finish with 121 yards on two touchdowns on 19 carries.
"He is a tough kid," said Sones. "Watching him on film you don't realize how impressive he is until you see it firsthand, but I was pleased with our kids because if one kid was on him then there was others coming and putting an extra hat to him."
Hembury's first two carries of the game resulted in a first down and his third carry - a 36-yard touchdown - gave Muncy a 7-0 lead. Bloomsburg dug in from there and allowed just 212 total yards and forced three turnovers - all leading to Bloomsburg touchdowns.