Northeastern quarterback Shannon Valenti rolled to his left and had nothing but green field in front of him.
Thirty seconds remained in a first half that was only close on the scoreboard, where the Bobcats led the visiting William Penn Bearcats by seven points. Northeastern (3-1, 6-1) would go on to win handily, 35-8.
But at the time of Valenti's rollout, it was still a tight game. Suddenly, the junior QB pulled up and fired a deep spiral toward wide receiver David Ankney in the end zone.
Ankney rose up over the Bearcats' defensive back and snatched the ball for his second touchdown of the game with 27 tics remaining on the first-half scoreboard. The Valenti-to-Ankney connection also resulted in a first quarter 51-yard score.
The Bearcats played tough, often shooting the inside gaps to frustrate the Bobcats' parade of running backs. But the visitors were outmanned, gaining just 23 total yards and two first downs in the first half. They would finish with 82 total yards and a lone highlight, a 32-yard TD pass from Andrew Gibbs to Ruben Mendez.
Northeastern head coach Jon Scepanski said Valenti played his best game as a Bobcat. The transfer QB completed just five passes, but they went for 128 yards.
"He did a great job of managing the game," Scepanski said.
The running game, and notably, running back Chris Whack, loosened up the visitor's defense in the second half. Whack had three carries for negative-2 yards in the first half and six carries for 143 yards in the second.
Whack broke off a 49-yard scamper before taking a handoff 82 yards and a touchdown on Northeastern's next possession.
"It all starts up front with our offensive line," Scepanski said.
The Bobcats have a tough matchup next week at Spring Grove, which Scepanski reminded his team after the game. Northeastern had several 15-yard penalties against the Bearcats, which the coach said must get fixed.
NE — David Ankney 51 pass from Shannon Valenti (Artman kick) 5:03
NE — Ankney 30 pass from Valenti (Artman kick) 00:27
NE — Valenti 9 run (Artman kick) 2:19
NE — Chris Whack 82 run (Artman kick) 00:00
WP — Ruben Mendez 32 pass from Andrew Gibbs (Gibbs pass to Nykam Beverly) 8:32
NE — Whack 8 run (Artman kick) 4:50
WPNEFirst downs416Rushes-yards28-3846-336 Passing4-145-14Passing yards44128Total yards82464Punts5-1843-96Fumbles-lost2-10-0Penalties-yards3-106-60
Rushing — WP: Gibbs, 8-5. Andrew Radzik, 3-(-4). Khalid Dorsey, 10-17. Beverly, 5-17. Nyshaun Ritter, 1-(-2). Markeis Cash, 1-5. NE: Valenti, 10-38. Anu Johnson, 16-87. Chris Whack, 9-141. David Ankney, 3-35. Taemar Willis, 1-2. Michael Cooper, 1-10. Wyatt Hughes, 3-14. Caleb Duncker, 1-0. Blake Einsig, 2-9.
Passing — WP: Gibbs, 4-11-44-0. Angle Dejesus, 0-3-0-0. NE: Valenti, 5-14-128-1. Einsig, 0-0-0-0
Receiving — WP: Nyshaun Ritter, 1-(-2). Will Barton, 1-17. Mendez, 1-32. Cash, 1-(-3). NE: Ankney, 3-101. Jordan Zirkle, 2-27.