Penn Yan scores big come from behind win over rival Panthers

The Penn Yan Mustang football team hit the road for the first time this season to take on the Geneva Panthers in a big Finger Lakes East early season match. Both the Mustangs and Panthers scored impressive opening night wins with both teams tallying big offensive numbers. So Friday night’s contest at the newly renovated and upgraded Lohman Stadium figured to be a potential offensive donnybrook with the winner looking to move ahead in the tough Finger Lakes East League.

The game did feature some big play passing offense by both teams, but also had some tough defensive stands by both squads. The hometown Panthers jumped out early to take a 21-19 lead at the half, but the Orange and Blue gridiron forces took control of the game in the second half. Penn Yan’s defense shutdown and shutout the vaunted Geneva offense in the final two quarters and scored two big touchdowns of their own to defeat Geneva 35-21.

Geneva scored on their second possession on a big pass play to take a 7-0 lead at the 7 minute mark of the first quarter. The Mustang offense sputtered in their early drives. After 12 minutes, Geneva enjoyed a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Penn Yan finally found pay dirt. After a Brennan Prather interception, the Orange and Blue mounted a 73-yard drive featuring a big 25-yard run by sophomore Julien Miller and a 24-yard touchdown gallop by sophomore Mehki Mahan. Brennan Prather kicked the extra point to knot the score at 7.

Geneva regained the lead 14-7 on a 4-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes remaining in the half. The final two minutes of the half featured three touchdowns, two by Penn Yan and one by the hometown Panthers. Penn Yan quarterback Will Rogers connected with Mehki Mahan on a 75-yard touchdown pass to pull Penn Yan to within one point, 14-13. Geneva quickly answered to grab a 21-13 lead. But the Mustang lightning offensive lit up the scoreboard again with a minute left. Rogers hit a wide open Conner Fingar with a 67-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion attempt was thwarted by the Panthers. Time ran out in the first half with the scoreboard reading Geneva 21, Penn Yan 19.

The second half belong to the Orange and Blue forces. The Mustang offense keyed by senior Jack Peterson, Riley Brittingham, Kyle Berna and a veritable herd of determined Mustangs. They swarmed the Geneva backfield exerting a lot of pressure on the Panther quarterback and completely shutdown the Geneva running game. The Mustang offense converted on their first drive of the third quarter. Senior Will Rogers set the score with a 18-yard run. He then hit junior Brennan Prather on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Prather then proceeded to pick up the 2-point conversion. Penn Yan took their first lead of the game 27-21 after three quarters.

Geneva did their best to retake the lead in the final 12 minutes. But each time, the Mustang defense stiffened and stopped them cold. Penn Yan put the game on ice with a brilliant 80-yard drive featuring a series of shovel passes — a tactic that the Geneva defense had no answer for. The drive culminated with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Conner Fingar with 2 minutes remaining. Kyle Berna ran in the 2-point conversion to give Penn Yan a comfortable 35-21 lead. That score would stand. The Mustangs improved their season record to 2-0. Geneva slipped to 1-1. Up next for the Orange and Blue is another tough Finger Lakes East match with East Rochester/Gananda in Penn Yan Friday night, Sept. 14.

Penn Yan quarterback Will Rogers enjoyed a monster effort in Geneva Friday night. He was 28 for 36, passing with 382 yards and 4 touchdowns. Kyle Berna had 12 catches for 100 yards. Conner Fingar had 9 catches for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. Julien Miller and Mehki Mahan added 25 yards each rushing. The high-powered Mustang offense has been impressive in their first two games with a lot of big play scoring potential. In Geneva, the Penn Yan defense showed they will be a force too. A good combination and formula for a winning season the Mustang gridiron crew.