SCRANTON — For the first time all season, Abington Heights began the fourth quarter within striking distance of the lead.
However, a former teammate made sure the Comets would have to wait at least one more week to earn their first win.
Kaleb Sherman, who transferred from Abington Heights to Scranton before the start of the season, scored two touchdowns, the first and last of the game, to help the Knights defeat the Comets, 28-16, in a Lackawanna League Division 1 football game Sept. 21.
Sherman made an immediate impact by recovering a fumble on the first play of the game and returning it 27 yards for a touchdown. Marco Guerrero tacked on the extra point to give the Knights a 7-0 lead just 16 seconds into the game.
“I saw it on the ground and just did what I naturally do,” Sherman said. “I scooped it and scored.”
Scranton’s Rodo Brown, who finished with 157 yards on 26 carries, scored on a 2-yard run and Guerrero added the extra point to put the Knights ahead 14-0 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
Abington Heights moved the ball into Scranton territory for the first time when quarterback George Tinsley connected with wide receiver Corey Perkins for a 17-yard completion with early in the second quarter, but the Knights quickly regained the momentum by forcing a recovering a fumble.
Five plays later, Brown broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run. Jason Carpenter sprung the play with a block on the outside. After Guerrero’s extra point, Scranton led 21-0 with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter.
Unlike the first three weeks when the Comets struggled to rebound from sizable deficits, Abington Heights battled back.
Fullback Noah Braid capped a 14-play, 72-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Zach Boersma tacked on the extra point and the Comets trailed 21-7 with 40.2 seconds left in the first half.
Abington Heights converted on two fourth-down attempts during the drive. Tinsley found Perkins for a 20-yard completion and Braid picked up three yards on a 4th-and-2 play.
After each team fumbled early in the second half, Perkins made an acrobatic 4-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone to end an 11-play drive. Boersma missed the extra point, but the Comets trailed by just eight points with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
“It was a phenomenal grab,” Tinsley said. “I knew I could trust him from past seasons and games. I know that if I could just lob it up there, he always has a good chance of grabbing it.
“It feels good to finally start getting back in the groove of things. We had a rough start to this season, but the energy is starting to kick up.”
Perkins was on the receiving end of 91 of Tinsley’s 135 passing yards.
“We’ve been playing together forever, so we have a feel for each other and it works out,” Perkins said.
Boersma made a 27-yard field goal with 8:57 left in the fourth quarter to cut Abington Heights’ deficit to five points.
Brown came through with two first downs on fourth down runs and Sherman capped the Knights’ 13-play, 50-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run and Scranton led 28-16, with 1:40 left in the game after Guerrero’s extra point.
“I knew I was going to score, so I just hit it,” Sherman said.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.