HERSHEY-The Hershey defense held a seven-point lead for the entire second half on Friday night for a 13-6 win against Cambridge at Summers Field.The fact that the Panthers kept stopping the Trojans time and again did not come as a surprise to their coach, Ryan Smith.
"That's what the defense has done all year long," Smith said. "Our opponents have averaged only about 10 points a game all year. It's hard to fathom how hard we play. They just bend and don't break and they don't give up touchdowns."
Cambridge (2-5) scored the first touchdown when T.J. Gregory found Jordan Volk from eight yards out early in the second quarter for a 6-0 lead after the PAT was missed.
But Hershey (4-3) answered right back on its next series. Gaige Marshall gave the Panthers ideal field position at the 50.
On the second play of the drive, Josh Margritz ran up the middle for a gain of 10. Then quarterback Colton Marshall rolled out to his right and found Landan Maassen over the middle at the 18 yard line.
Hershey then converted on third down and one when Margritz carried the ball to the five for first and goal.
Two plays later, Colton Marshall ran it in from two yards out. Maassen's kick was blocked and the game remained tied at 6-6.
Even though Cambridge hasn't lived up this season to the standard it has set in the past, Smith knew that his team couldn't stay behind for long against the Trojans.
"I think that was key," said Smith. "They jumped us and we needed to hit them right back. I knew we had to answer back."
Late in the first half, the Panthers got going again when Marshall connected with Maassen at the Cambridge 31 for a gain of 38.
Then on the following play, Margritz busted loose to the nine for first and goal. Tyler Brown then got eight of the nine needed with the next carry before the senior punched it in 1:23 left in the first half for 13-6 lead after Maassen made the PAT.
With a stout defense, Smith says that getting scoring drives right before halftime has been a key for his team and to take the lead on Cambridge before the break was a big boost.
"That's been a series we've needed to have," Smith said. "We made every big play we possibly could on that drive. Colton made a big throw to Landan. Everything came together on that drive. To be ahead of Cambridge at halftime was a cool thing."
It was even cooler for the Panthers to still have that lead after the end of four quarters, which was what ended up happening.
Hershey dominated the field position the entire second half. Although its offense didn't add to the lead with Cambridge getting fourth down stops on every drive, it chewed up clock, which was all that was needed for the Panther defense.
Cambridge could never get much going being backed up on its side of the field. The Trojans changed quarterbacks from Gregory to Taylor Kubik for the last two possessions for more of a passing threat. But the Panthers still held, clinching a big win that likely landed Hershey into the playoffs.
Cambridge: 0 6 0 0 - 6
Hershey: 0 13 0 0 - 13
Second quarter scoring plays
C-Jordan Volk 8 pass from T.J. Gregory (kick failed), 10:52
H-Colton Marshall 2 run (kick blocked), 6:42
H-Tyler Brown 1 run (Landan Maassen kick), 1:23