Rockets blank Panthers, 35-0, to begin season - Titusville Herald: Sports

Rockets blank Panthers, 35-0, to begin season

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 9:00 pm

The second season for Titusville coach Bryan Baldwin started much like his first: a shutout win over Saegertown.

The Rockets scored the first time they touched the ball Friday night before erupting for 22 third-quarter points to deal the Panthers a 35-0 setback at Carter Field.

Senior Landon Palma scored the first of his two TDs early when the Titusville defense forced Saegertown to punt after the visitors received the opening kickoff. The Rocket fielded the punt cleanly at his own 30, found a gap in the middle and was off to the races for a 60-yard touchdown return at the 6:15 mark.

Meanwhile, Titusville’s defense made a couple of plays stopping the Panthers in THS territory while Saegertown, desperately trying to reverse recent fortunes of winless seasons, helped the locals at times with bad snaps and untimely penalties. Their next three drives stalled due to negative plays and penalties even though it kept the Rocket defense on the field for most of the opening canto.

THS scored again on a short pass from quarterback Garrett Knapp to Palma to take a 13-0 lead just before the half, but it was the third quarter surge that provided the Rockets with the cushion to force the continuous clock for the entire fourth quarter.

Charlie Nicholson scored on runs of 8 and 60 yards, while Ryan Bish added a one-yard touchdown dive in a span of just over six minutes that sealed Titusville’s 1-0 start to the 2019 season.

Early-season jitters affected both teams. That fact was not lost on Baldwin.

“We told the guys at halftime they need to elevate what they were doing,” Baldwin said. “Our seniors led the way and they responded.”

While Palma’s quick-strike return started the scoring for THS, the defense tackled well and made life tough for Panther quarterback Alex Kightlinger, who did not complete a pass in the second half. 

The THS “D” caused one fumble that set-up Bish’s score. Boaz LaRocque picked up the loose ball after a bad pitch in the Panther backfield, returning it inside the Panthers 10 to set up the score. Nicholson’s 60-yarder came on the Rockets’ first play following another Saegertown punt.

The defense allowed a few first downs but never let the Panthers advance past the THS 27 for the whole game. Saegertown actually outgained Titusville, 133-128, but the visitors got many yards late after the Rockets had built the lead.

Even when Saegertown had some success, Titusville tackled well and often made the stop after initial contact. This was another fact not lost on Baldwin.

“We worked extensively on that since last season,” Baldwin said. “We saw the benefit of that work at times tonight.”

Nicolson led all rushers with 130 yards on 13 carries, while Knapp ended with 48 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. In fact, Titusville never put the ball on the ground on offense and finished the game with no fumbles.

“We have things to work on but I like where we are,” Baldwin said.

The next test for THS looks to be tougher as next week the Rockets open Region 6 play. Titusville plays at North East Friday.

Summary

Titusville 35, Saegertown 0

SCORING SUMMARY

Saegertown 0 0 0 0—0

Titusvillle 7 6 22 0—35

First Quarter

T — Landon Palma 70-yard punt return. (Nick Wright kick), 6:15.

Second Quarter

T — Palma 3-yard pass from Garrett Knapp. (Kick failed), 10:01.

Third Quarter

T — Charlie Nicholson 8-yard run. ( Nicholson run), 6:27.

T — Ryan Bish 1-yard run. (Wright kick), 2:51.

T — Nicholson 60-yard run. (Wright kick), :23.3.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING — T, Knapp 5-of-12—45, 1 TD, 0 INT. S, Kightlinger 2-of-5—21, 0 TD, 0 INT.

RUSHING — T, Nicholson 13-130, Bish 9-8, Knapp 1-(minus) 10. S, Jacob Resigner 14-49, Ethan Hayes 8-29, Alex Kightlinger 9-19, Robbie Brown 12-(-5), Keenan Schaff 1-0.

RECEIVING — T, Palma 2-3, TD, Hunter Titus 1-16, Isaac Jackson 1-11, Sebastian Peterson 1-9, Boaz LaRocque 1-6. S, Reisinger 1-15, Hayes 1-6.

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