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Panthers open with 19-15 comeback win over Ludlow

  • Pioneer quarterback Scott Perlberg (10) hands off to running back Colyn Brechenser (5) during the third quarter of a 19-15 football win over Ludlow Saturday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer receiver Karl Wheeler (88) leaps for a touchdown reception over Ludlow defender Michael Legacy (25) during first-quarter action of a 19-15 football win Saturday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer coach Paul Worth talks with quarterback Scott Perlberg (10) during the third quarter of a 19-15 football win over Ludlow Saturday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Above, Pioneer receiver Jake Wallace (9) reels in a catch defended by Ludlow’s Donald Gregory (8) during third-quarter action of a 19-15 host Panther football win Saturday in Northfield. Below, Pioneer coach Paul Worth talks with quarterback Scott Perlberg (10) during the third quarter. RECORDER STAFF photos/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer punter Wyatt Keith (11) sneaks a punt through Ludlow defenders Jaiden Giza-Bilodeau (17) and Robert Gregory Jr. (40) during first-quarter action of the host Panthers’ 19-15 football win Saturday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



For the Recorder
Sunday, September 10, 2017

NORTHFIELD — For the better part of a year, Pioneer Valley Regional School quarterback Scott Perlberg thought about getting back on the football field. When his chance arrived, he delivered.

In his first varsity start since going down to a season-ending injury last year, Perlberg threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Panthers came from behind to beat Ludlow High School, 19-15, in the season-opener Saturday afternoon.

“He threw the ball pretty well,” Pioneer coach Paul Worth said of Perlberg, who went 14-for-23 for 223 yards and two interceptions. “He wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes, but this was only his second start, going back to last year when he got hurt against Drury.”

The Panthers took the field against a fired-up Ludlow squad which outnumbered them in personnel almost three to one. The Lions scored first on their third series, when freshman quarterback Christopher Fogg (6 for 20 passing for 108 yards and two interceptions) hit sophomore Donald Gregory for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Jaiden Giza-Bilodeau hit the point-after kick to make the score 7-0.

Fogg and Gregory would hook up again late in the second quarter for a 4-yard touchdown pass. The point-after kick sailed wide right to make it 13-0. Pioneer got on the scoreboard late in the second when Perlberg hit senior receiver Karl Wheeler (3 catches, 81 yards) in the back of the end zone on fourth and 13 to make it 13-6. Ludlow stopped the point-after run to make it 13-6 at halftime.

Pioneer narrowed the score to 13-12 on the first series of the third quarter, when Perlberg scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. The Panthers were unable to tie the score on the point-after kick to keep the score 13-12. Pioneer was able to recover the ensuing kickoff on the Ludlow 30 when no one on the receiving team touched the ball. The drive ended up stalling on the Lion 13 when Perlberg’s fourth-and-six pass fell incomplete.

Ludlow caught a break in the fourth quarter when Pioneer’s center snapped the ball over the punter’s head on fourth and 17 from the Panther 7, creating a two-point safety, which extended the Ludlow lead to 15-12.

Pioneer took the lead back for good on their next series, when Perlberg hit a streaking Wheeler down the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown with 2:23 left in the game. Junior Wyatt Keith hit the point-after kick to create the 19-15 final. Ludlow got one more chance to heave the ball downfield with two seconds left, which was intercepted by sophomore Colyn Brechenser as time expired.

“I told the kids that we grew up today,” Worth said. “Because we have four first-year players out there. But I’m real pleased, coming back from being down 13-nothing to win the game.”

Pioneer travels to Ware to take on the Indians Friday night.