Strong start powers Gremlins to win over Chucks

Punxsy QB Dylan Ishman
Staff Writer

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsy Chucks football team — playing in the newly formed District 9 League's Large School Division — matched up with another familiar foe in the Karns City Gremlins on Friday evening. For the Gremlins, the game plan early was mostly ground-and-pound — and in the first half, it worked well for them, as they opened up a 27-0 lead at the break. Punxsy came out fighting in the second half — and even outscored the guests 22-15 in the final 24 minutes of game time — but the damage had been done, and Karns City picked up its first win of the year with a 42-22 final score.

"We came out in the second half and showed some fight, and we were able to move the ball against their ones — we had a nice long drive against their first team — so that's encouraging, but unfortunately, there wasn't enough of that in the first half," Punxsy head coach Brad Wright said after the game. "We got muscled up and man-handled a little bit. We have to get tougher, because week in and week out, there aren't going to be any teams this year that'll be easy. Even the teams with losing records are going to be tough, because these are all big schools. We just need to find a way to be combative and to be more mentally ready in the first half to fire off the ball and move people. That's what it's going to come down to — fundamental football."

Punxsy's second-half surge on the offensive side of the ball came mostly through the air, as Dylan Ishman threw for three touchdowns and 148 of his 215 total yards in the second half alone; overall, he was 15-of-28 through the air for the Chucks. Receiver Alex Gianvito hauled in a total of six catches for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with Max London snagging two receptions for 54 yards and one score, as well as sparking two of the scoring drives with big kick returns of 26 and 47 yards.

Punxsy, which fell to 0-2 with the loss after falling to Clarion last Friday, will travel to Brookville next Friday for the Route 36 Rivalry game with the Raiders. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.