The Penn Yan football team faced Letchworth/Warsaw (Letsaw) Saturday in Penn Yan, losing a physical game 28-14.
The Mustangs began the game losing the advantage of real estate, as their first drive ended with a quarterback sneak by Kyle Berna which lost a yard, giving Letsaw the ball on Penn Yan’s own 34 yard line.
Penn Yan’s defense bent, but didn’t break as a 4th and goal was stuffed at the 2-yard line. The offense took over, but after a run for no gain, an incomplete pass, and another quarterback keeper, the Mustangs found themselves with a 4th and 10. Letsaw was flagged for roughing the punter, giving Penn Yan five extra yards to play with. Letsaw took over on Penn Yan’s 31 after the punt.
Seven plays later, Letsaw scored and kicked the extra point, making it 7-0.
Penn Yan again saw itself deep in its own territory after the kickoff, letting the ball bounce and giving the Mustangs the ball on their own 12-yard line. The offense was able to move the ball out to the 35, but after a punt that was blocked, Letsaw began with the ball on Penn Yan’s 12. Letsaw connected on a pass for a touchdown with 9:52 remaining in the second quarter, making it 14-0. The score would remain the same at halftime.
Letsaw scored again with 5:55 left in the third quarter, and after the extra point, made it 21-0. A lesser team might have given up there, but Penn Yan kept battling. The Mustangs received the kickoff on its own 42-yard line, but the teams traded fumbles. On the ensuing drive for Penn Yan, Berna shed tackles and carried a defender as he broke through the line for a 21-yard gain to place the ball at Letsaw’s 3 yard line, to the delight of the erupting crowd. Facing a 3rd and goal on the 5-yard line, Berna kept the ball through the right side of the line for a touchdown. Kicker Brennan Prather added the extra point to make it 21-7 with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter.
Letsaw scored on a long run to begin the fourth quarter, upping their lead to 28-7. The game seemed over, but Mekhi Mahan took matters into his own hands on the kickoff, receiving the kick and sprinting up the left side of the field for an 88-yard touchdown return just 16 seconds later to make it 28-14.
Penn Yan’s offense had the ball twice more, but a fumble and an interception killed any chance of a comeback. Coach Tim McBride thought there were positives that came out of the loss.
“I’m proud of the way we were able to match their physicality,” he said. “In the end, we weren’t able to execute well enough offensively to win.”
Berna was 11-for-24 passing for 88 yards. Prather caught 4 balls for 60 yards. Mahan had a nice game defensively with 20 tackles to go along with his kick return touchdown.
“He played his heart out,” said McBride.
Penn Yan travels to Waterloo to play Friday night at 7 p.m.