WARMINSTER— As a coach coming into a new situation it’s always a dream to be able to step in and win your first game. Unfortunately, it usually takes more than just one off season for a new coach to find success.
On Friday, Leo Plenski was able to do just that as he led the William Tennent Panthers to a 31-19 victory over Mastery North Charter in his first game as their head coach.
“It feels pretty good.” Said Plenski “The guys have been working hard since I came over in March and just to see them be able to get a little bit of a winning attitude in the first game feels good. In the last two weeks in scrimmages we saw glimpses of being really good and I n the first half we dominated, then sputtered a little bit in the third but we were able to pick it up in the end.”
The Tennent Run game looked exceptionally good in this one. The team combined for 288 yards on the ground, led by senior running back Nick Costello’s 109, and was able to attack Mastery up front.
“Dan Costello is the workhorse but the great thing is that we have great backups in (Christian) Mendez and Sean Bragen so our main priority is going to be obviously to run the ball but if you’re going to give us the opportunity to throw on you we’re going to give that an attempt too.”
A lot of the credit for how good the Panthers looked on the ground can be given to Costello.
He carried the ball 27 times for 109 yards and two scores but when the game was over Tennent’s workhorse was ready for more.
“I still feel good honestly’ said Costello “I’m trying to get out there and play some more.’
It may sound hard to believe, but for anyone who watched the game it doesn’t seem that farfetched.
With his team ahead 24-19 with five minutes and twenty seconds remaining they needed a long drive that could eat up a bunch of clock and hopefully find the end zone and that’s exactly what Costello gave them, with some help from a couple of his running mates.
The Panthers drove 80 yards down the field in just under five minutes before Costello ultimately punched it in from three yards out and gave his team enough to seal the victory.
Perhaps just as intriguing as Costello’s performance was the performance of quarterback Tyler Lynch.
Lynch has stepped into a difficult role this season as he tries to replace the previous signal caller, Nik Banks, and while he didn’t light up the stat sheet he was able to control the pace of the game and step up when his team needed him.
“He (Lynch) is a great leader,’ said Plenksi “and he is going to do very well for us here as we go forward.’
As for Mastery, They were able to find some success through the air. Their quarterback, Kyleem Cunningham, finished with a game high 121 yards on 11-19 passing but the Puma’s ended up killing themselves with undisciplined penalties.
In the first half alone, when Tennent jumped out to a 21-6 lead, they were flagged for eight penalties for a total of sixty yards, compared to just two for Tennent.
With his first victory as Tennent head coach in the books, Plenski can relax a little but he also realizes that there are a lot of areas where his young team can look to improve.
“Obviously our pass game needs to improve a little bit.” Said Plenski “We’re going to get a few guys back there and get a little healthy and that will improve that situation but a lot of this is going to just come with experience. A lot of these guys are first year starters so for them to get a win in their first week there is only room to improve from here.”