Northeastern drops its football season opener against Gettysburg

Northeastern head football coach Jon Scepanski

MANCHESTER – Entering Friday’s opener against Gettysburg, there were some questions about the Northeastern Bobcats' football team.

Specifically, who would the Bobcats rely on to carry their offense.

While there were some nice plays against the Warriors, coach Jon Scepanski and his club still have some questions after falling, 34-19.

“I think our kids played their tails off and that’s all we can ask of them,” Scepanski said.

Most of the positives for the Bobcats came on defense or special teams throughout a night in which the opening kickoff was delayed by 30 minutes due to a storm that hit the area.

The special teams recovered a fumbled punt that set the ‘Cats up for their first score of the night deep in Gettysburg territory. Northeastern's second score was set up by a long kickoff return that enabled the offense to again start on the plus side of the field.

“I think we won the special teams battle,” Scepanski said. “And I think our defense did a great job. We executed it fairly well, and you look at the score, but it was just a few big plays.”

Those big plays certainly helped the visitors get the upper hand. A big kickoff return to start the game put the Warriors deep in Northeastern territory. A 20-yard run on the first play from scrimmage by Justino Neikirk (eight carries, 147 yards, 2 TDs) set up a 2-yard TD run by Landon McGee (14 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD) to put Gettysburg on top.

A couple of possessions later it was McGee who got the offense going with a big 39-yard run on the first play. Neikirk capped that eight-play, 52-yard drive with his first TD of the night to make it 14-0.

“Tino and Landon have some nice scoots,” Gettysburg coach Matt Heiser said. “I’m excited to see what we can build on and try to get better.”

While the offense was never able to get a sustained threat going all night — just 152 yards of total offense, 69 of which came on the final drive — it was good for Scepanski to see his team punch one in late in the fourth quarter.

Second-year quarterback Dalton Moyer, who connected on just one of his first nine passes on the night, found Luke Wadkins open over the middle in the final minute for a 40-yard strike.

“I think that’s a confidence builder,” Scepanski said. “We weren’t just going to stop playing and it gives us a positive to move on.”

Northeastern faces Red Land next week while Gettysburg travels to Cedar Crest.

Gettysburg          14           0             13           7             -              34

Northeastern      0             6             7             6             -              19

Scoring Plays

First Quarter

Get - Landon McGee 2 run (pass failed), 9:39

Get - Justino Neikirk 3 run (Fuhrman run), 2.1

Second Quarter

NE - Adrian Castano 15 run (kick failed), 9:31

Third Quarter

Get - Jeremiah Scott 15 run (Jermian Gondwe kick), 5:50

NE - Adam Stockbower 8 run (Ryan Maley kick), 2:24

Get - Neikirk 60 run (pass failed), 2:14

Fourth Quarter

Get - Tanner Newmann 14 run (Gondwe kick), 2:53

NE - Luke Wadkins 40 pass from Dalton Moyer (kick failed), 35.3

Team Statistics

Get - Ne

First downs 18  10

Rushing 39-290 38-103

Passing 5-15-0 2-10-0

Passing yards 79 49

Total yards 369 152

Fumbles-lost 3-0 3-0

Penalties-yards 4-50 6-45

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Get – Justino Neikirk 8-147, Landon McGee 14-98, Jeremiah Scott 4-22, Daniel Spangler 4-1, Brady Heiser 3-9, Chris Boone 2-1, Andrew Gastley 1-4, Tanner Newmann 1-21, Cody Fuhrman 1-3,  Team 1-(-11); Ne – Adam Stockbower 15-40, Dalton Moyer 10-10, Caden Perez 5-12, Adrian Castano 3-32, Garrett Shultz 1-3, Jaden Foster 1-0, Isaiah Foster 2-6, Neisen Taylor 1-0.

Passing: Get – Boone 1-3-0, 12; Heiser 4-12-0, 67; Ne – Moyer 2-10-0, 49.

Receiving: Get – Gastley 3-38, Newmann 1-29, Scott 1-12; Ne – Luke Wadkins 1-40, Perez 1-9.