HERSHEY-It wasn't fancy but Hershey did what it needed to do on Thursday.The Panthers beat West Holt 13-6 in the first round of the Class C2 state playoffs at Summers Field.
"You're never going to be sad when you win a playoff game," Hershey coach Ryan Smith said. "But our guys will be the first to tell you they aren't happy with how they played."
On its first drive of the game, West Holt got into Hershey territory but the Huskies were turned away when Gaige Marshall intercepted a pass by Connor Osborne.
After getting the first turnover of the game, Marshall went to work on the offensive end by carrying the Panthers (9-0) near the end zone.
Hershey faced fourth down and goal from the two yard line. Quarterback Logan Weir scrambled to his right and found Landan Maassen for the touchdown and the Panthers led 7-0.
In the second quarter, Hershey made an error on special teams when the ball was snapped over Maassen's head on a punt. The senior recovered the ball and got a punt off but it was blocked and West Holt had it at the Panther 35.
Behind running back Viktor Jonseth, the Huskies powered the ball down the field and they got on the board with an eight-yard touchdown run by Jonseth.
But Hershey kept the lead as Noble Wentworth's extra point was blocked with a little under six minutes left in the first half
With four seconds left in the first half, the Panthers scored their second touchdown on a 40-yard screen pass from Weir to Marshall that put the Panthers up 13-6.
"It was funny because it was roughly the same play we ran last year in the playoffs (in the second round win over Blue Hill) that we scored on," Smith said. "West Holt had that scouted out too. I heard one of their defensive backs say, 'Watch for the screen.' But our wide receivers did a good job of selling it and they blocked well on the play."
In the second half, the Hershey defense shut down West Holt and hung on to the lead. The Huskies only really threatened once in the second half,
Late in the third quarter, Osborne got the ball to the Panther 25 on a scramble. But on fourth down, the West Holt quarterback's pass over the middle was incomplete and Hershey got another stop.
"We gave up chunks of yards on some plays but for the most part, our defense made the plays they needed to," Smith said.
The Panthers closed the game out with Maassen and Marshall running for first downs in their own territory and Hershey advanced to the second round where they will host Hastings St. Cecilia on Wednesday.
"You look at the scoreboard and you're happy that you held them to six points," Smith said. "But West Holt outplayed us in a lot of aspects and we're fortunate to have come away with a win today. Our kids are hard on themselves. It's not to the point where it's detrimental. But they know when they're messing up and they know what they need to do. You won't find a better group of kids to coach."
West Holt: 0 6 0 0 - 6
Hershey: 7 6 0 0 - 13
First Quarter: H-Landan Maassen 2 pass from Logan Weir (Maassen kick), 4:46. Second Quarter: WH-Viktor Jonseth 8 run (kick blocked), 5:53. H-Gaige Marshall 40 pass from Weir (kick failed), 0:04.