PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” The A. J. Parise Youth Football Senior team, behind a strong defensive effort, won its home opener overÂ Brockway 30-8 Saturday at Jack LaMarca Stadium in Punxsutawney.
Punxsy's defense intercepted three passes, including one returned for a touchdown by Devin Kelly, to lead the Chucks to their first victory of the season.
"The kids came out pumped and ready to play," Punxsy head coach Joel Martin said. "We completely dominated the first half."
Brockway was able to move the ball into Punxsy territory on its first drive, but the Chucks' defense set the toneÂ for the game when it dropped the Bears forÂ losses on four consecutive plays for a turnover, giving the home squad the ball for the first time at the Brockway 46-yard line.
A holding penalty resulted in a second-and-19 at the 40 for Punxsy whenÂ Kelly broke loose for a 32-yard run all the way to the Brockway eight.
On a third and goal from the one-yard line, Kelly walked in untouched to open the scoring and give the Chucks an early 6-0 lead.
Kelly got his secondÂ touchdown of the game on Brockway's first play of the following drive after intercepting a Jesse Johnson pass, which was tipped by Joey DiPietro, and returning it 38 yards for the score.
After both teams exchanged possessions to begin the second quarter,Â the Chucks' Cody Verostic intercepted a Johnson pass to give Punxsy the ball at the 42.
The offensive thenÂ put together a seven-play scoring drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown run by Matt Wehrle around the right side to extend Punxsy's lead to 18-0.Â
Verostic got his second pick of the evening on the Bears' next drive as the Chucks' defense continued to shine.
The Chucks received the second half kickoff and quickly put the game out of reach when Ethan Riley turned a quarterback sneak into a 50-yard touchdown run behind a Brady Snyder block on second down.
The Punxsy defense forced Brockway into another four-and-out, and Punxsy's offense held the ball and controlled the clock for a 12-play drive that ended in a turnover-on-downs early in the fourth quarter.
The Bears were able to put together their only scoring drive of the game after the turnover, and Johnson capped it off when he connected with Dylan Lecates for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
J.D. Wood ran in the conversion to make the score 24-8.
Punxsy's Stone Smith canceled any hope of a Brockway comeback when he returned the ensuing kickoff for a 55-yard touchdown, setting the final tally at 30-8.
"We got a good effort from all the kids, up and down the lineup,"Â Martin said of his team's performance.
The Punxsy defense allowed a total of 71 yards to Brockway's offense.
KellyÂ led the defense with seven tackles and his interception returned for a touch- down.Â
Verostic had two interceptions and two tackles, and Canaan Knox had four tackles.
Issac Stouffer, Jake Pearce and Zander Neal each added three tackles for a Chucks' defense that had 23 different players with at least one tackle.
The Chucks offense gained 225 yards on the ground, led by withÂ Riley's 63 yards and Kelly's 55 yards
Wehrle added 46 yards, and Tyler Getch gained 22 carrying the rock.
TheÂ Senior Chucks'Â next game is in two weeks when they travel toÂ New Bethlehem to take on Redbank, Saturday, SeptemberÂ 10th.View more articles in: