The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports Cambria Heights

September 11, 2012

Contorchick, Cambria Heights overpower Westmont

JOHNSTOWN — The way Donnie Contorchick plays football, his Cambria Heights uniform should be covered with grass stains, caked with mud and sporting the type of wear and tear typical of a rough and tumble two-way player.

Yet, following the Highlanders’ 36-18 win at Westmont Hilltop Monday afternoon in a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference game, Contorchick’s uniform wasn’t all that dirty and the fullback/defensive end didn’t look like he had just spent 48 minutes making one key play after another at Price Field.

What’s Contorchick’s secret to cleanliness while playing positions known for their dirty work?

“I guess I land on some people,” he said.

Contorchick, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior captain, helped Cambria Heights (1-1) land on its feet after a season-opening home loss to Richland and his knack for the big play bailed the Highlanders, who committed an unusually high 12 penalties, out on multiple occasions.

“I think that is typical of the whole team. Today was just his day,” Cambria Heights coach Jarrod Lewis said. “He’s our guy, but he does a lot of those things that go unnoticed. He did a good job.”

Contorchick did more than that. He forcefully put his stamp on a physically dominating performance for Cambria Heights, which rushed for 305 yards and 17 first downs behind the bulldozing blocks of tackles Dom Novella (6-2, 255) and Brennan McMurray (5-10, 280).

The Highlanders’ offensive line sealed off an open lane for Contorchick to run untouched around left end for a 21-yard touchdown to give Cambria Heights a 16-9 lead at the 9:43 mark of the second quarter. He started the five-play drive with a 12-yard run.

The play was much needed after Westmont rattled off nine quick points, aided by a safety when senior Donny Shovestull sacked Heights quarterback Nathan Bearer in the end zone followed by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Liam Moran to Sam Curry, who finished with 124 yards rushing on 21 carries and a team-high four catches.

“It was big for us to get the safety in an early spot. We needed a spark,” first-year Westmont coach Pat Barron said.

That spark nearly moved into full-on flame mode were it not for Contorchick, who scored his lone touchdown before coming up with a key tackle for loss on a fourth-down screen pass to Curry on the Hilltoppers’ subsequent possession.

Later in the second quarter, Contorchick kept a clock-eating drive alive with two hard-fought yards on a fourth-and-2 attempt at the Cambria Heights’ 41-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, he tackled Curry for a 1-yard loss and added another tackle for loss on the drive, which eventually resulted in a 34-yard field goal from freshman Mitch Causer, who pulled the Hilltoppers within 16-12 at the 9:28 mark.

Contorchick added a fumble recovery, a quarterback sack and a 27-yard reception from Bearer on a third-and-13 to his efforts.

“It’s all good. I just want the win,” he said.

Offensively, he finished with 50 yards rushing on seven carries, while Tyler Crawford did a lot of the heavy lifting after halftime. Crawford rushed for a pair of second-half scores and finished with 133 yards on 22 attempts.

All told, four players had at least 42 yards rushing or more for the Highlanders, who play at Bishop Guilfoyle on Saturday night.

“Any time the rushing attack can do that, it’s not only a credit to what the tackles did, but a credit to the guards and the center as well,” Lewis said. “The line really did a good job.”

While Cambria Heights has a little extra time to rest after playing the unusual Monday game, Westmont isn’t as fortunate. This game was originally scheduled for Saturday but was postponed because of a severe weather warning. The Hilltoppers have a quick turnaround Friday night at Greater Johnstown.

“Playing on Monday wasn’t too bad even if we were looking forward to the opportunity of our first Saturday home game,” Barron said. “Now, we have to be ready to go Friday.”


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