The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports Greater Johnstown

September 8, 2012

No rest for Johnstown defense in gritty win

JOHNSTOWN — If Friday night’s football game between Central Cambria and Greater Johnstown were a prizefight, the card would have given the Red Devils a big edge in punches landed.

But it also would have credited Johnstown (1-1) with connecting on a couple of haymakers, enough to score a 15-6 decision at Trojan Stadium.

“We’re still trying to find our identity,” Trojans coach Tony Penna Jr. said, adding that his team may have gone a long way toward finding itself with a gutty performance that saw it overcome four turnovers and a blocked punt.

For Devils coach Sam Shutty, it was an all-too-familiar scenario that saw his team play very well, up to a point.

“The guys are great. They are doing what we want them to do – except finish drives,” he said.

Indeed, Central Cambria (0-2) ran about twice as many offensive plays as Johnstown, and held the Trojans to just two offensive plays in the third quarter. But a huge play on defense gave the Trojans the momentum just before halftime.

Central Cambria got a huge break early when Brandon Long blocked Grant Noon’s punt and Scott Bauer recovered at the Johnstown 22. The Devils got as far as the Trojans’ 8 before a fourth-down sack by Dalvin Williams ended the threat.

Neither team threatened to score until the final minute of the half. The Devils took over at the Trojans’ 33 following a punt. On the first play, Nick Myers took a Will Seymour pass and was struggling to get free when Jesaiah Wilson knocked the ball loose and Kareem Gibson scooped it up and raced 72 yards for a touchdown.

Penna called the play “a game-changer,” and Shutty didn’t disagree.

“It was such a killer,” he said, adding that he couldn’t fault Myers for trying to turn the short gain into a big play.

Central Cambria was anything but rattled. The Devils opened the second half with a grinding 18-play, 68-yard drive, all but nine yards of it on the ground. Central Cambria even overcame a rare penalty for aiding the runner when Seymour apparently scored the TD from the Johnstown 1, but the sophomore quarterback found the end zone three plays later.

Johnstown’s Terrell Jones intercepted the PAT try to preserve an 8-6 lead.

The Trojans answered with a scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. If the Devils’ march was inexorable, Johnstown’s was lightning quick. After taking over at their 48, Gibson broke free for a 33-yard dash to the Devils’ 19, and Deion Moore, playing quarterback out of the wildcat formation, broke a keeper for a 19-yard score.

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