FOOTBALL: Palmyra trounces Donegal on the road
MOUNT JOY >> The Cougars won just a single game two seasons ago, a far cry for the current state of the team. Palmyra trounced the Donegal Indians (1-2) both offensively and defensively Friday night, improving to 3-0 on the year with a 31-0 victory on the road.
Palmyra went just 1-19 from 2012-13, but this year's Cougars have exciting promise. Its victory two years ago over the Indians at Donegal was a turning point for their program, and while it was just a single game, it transformed the program.
"I think we feel really good with where we are (now)," Palmyra head coach Chris Pope said. "Two years ago, that was our first win in a while. It was a great feeling, but this is a great feeling too. It's really nice starting 3-0."
Running backs Carl Reigle and Alon Rhette rushed for first half scores, with Rhette's 75-yard touchdown run coming from the wild cat formation, where Rhette sprinted down the right side of the field after fending off multiple tackle attempts by Indian defenders.
"He's an amazing athlete," Pope said referencing Rhette's elusive touchdown scamper. "I didn't even realize he wasn't down, he put the ball on the ground instead of his hand, he recognized that and popped up and extend that run. He does amazing things."
Quarterback Tyler Gallagher tossed a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Peter Robertson to open the Cougars' scoring spree and running back Devan Sosnoski capped Palmyra's dominant night with a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Ethan Harro also added a third-quarter field goal to extend the Cougars advantage to 24-0.
Rhette finished the game with 170 rushing yards on just 12 carries, using a rare combination of speed and physicality to bowl over Donegal defenders nearly every time he touched the ball. Reigle added 66 rushing yards on 10 carries, while catching a 13-yard pass from Gallagher out of the backfield.
Gallagher continued to show signs of improved confidence under center in his first year as Palmyra's starting quarterback, following the graduation of Michael Lewis last season. Gallagher went 8 for 14, totaling 131 passing yards and one touchdown along with an interception on a deep passing attempt in the third quarter.
"I think Tyler's coming along," Pope explained. "He was able to pass the ball fairly efficiently tonight. Obviously we'd love to have a balanced attack. I think that's the ultimate goal probably of any coach. Right, now I'd say we're skewed to the run."
The Cougars defense didn't allow a first down until the start of the second quarter, limiting the Indians' offensive line to any forward push throughout the entire evening. Palmyra totaled 412 yards to Donegal's minute 148, showing the prudence of both the Cougars' offensive and defensive line.
"I think we were able to take control of the line of scrimmage," Pope stated. "We were able to keep the run game in check and get the shutout."
Palmyra looks to earn its fourth straight win to open the year next Friday night in a home contest against Trinity.
Palmyra 31, Donegal 0
P- Tyler Gallagher 15 yard pass to Peter Robertson (Ethan Harro kick)
P- Carl Reigle 15 yard run (Harro kick)
P- Alon Rhette 75 yard run (Harro kick)
P- Harro 27 yard field goal
P- Devan Sosnoski 12 yard run (Harro kick)
PDFirst downs1412Rushes-yards34-28143-98Passing8-14-14-9-0Passing yards13150Total yards412148Punts4-375-32.4Fumbles-lost1-02-1Penalties-yards4-403-20
Rushing: P- Reigle 10-66, Rhette 12-170, Gallagher 1-0, Sosnoski 8-37, Hawkins 1-7, Cannon 1-4, Haus 2-(minus 3); D- Dimeler 9-21, Mohr 8-(minus 26), Snyder 7-29, Shirk 6-17, Marshall 10-40, Rupp 2-15, Ketner 1-2
Passing: P- Gallagher 8-14-1, 131 yards; D- Mohr 3-8-0, 44 yards, Bistline 1-1-0, 6 yards
Receiving: P- Harro 2-13, Robertson 3-83, Cooper 2-22, Reigle 1-13; D- Dimeler 1-31, Shirk 2-13, Edwards 1-9