Entering the season, both Central Cambria and Bishop Carroll were hoping to find some quick answers about the makeup of their squads.
Veteran leadership? Check. Big-play capability? That, too.
With both squads at 3-1 entering tonight’s Week 5 clash in Loretto, the Huskies and Red Devils are seeking to use a victory as a springboard into the second half of the season.
The same goes for the 3-1 Bedford Bisons, who meet Westmont Hilltop in a Laurel Highlands matchup this afternoon in Westmont.
Central Cambria enters tonight’s game riding a pair of last-minute victories, beating Cambria Heights 10-7 last week after quarterback Will Seymour hit 7 of 8 passes for 65 yards in the final 2:55, and the Red Devils got a key 26-yard run from Kerry Kirsch to set up Seymour’s two-yard plunge for the winning score.
“The kids that we have are capable of handling pressure and making plays to win,” Central Cambria coach Bill Corrente said. “We just have to eliminate some mistakes and penalties. It seems like it’s been one step forward and two steps back for us on offense. We’ll get a big run and a holding penalty. Those mistakes are something that we’ve been stressing this week.”
Corrente said that the Red Devils’ defense has been key to his team’s success in the first half of the season, including the unit stopping the Highlanders on downs inside Central Cambria’s 25 with less than three minutes to go in last week’s game.
“We’ve played really outstanding on defense,” Corrente said. “We’re making enough plays on offense to get the job done and we’re getting better each week. But, our defense has been big on making adjustments and they’re very aggressive ... Like the Central Cambria defenses of the past.”
Defense has also been the forte of the Huskies, who held Penn Cambria to 98 total yards of offense in a 21-0 shutout win over the Panthers last Saturday.
“They remind you of the Carroll teams from the early 2000’s,” Corrente said. “They’re physical and seem to have a player around the ball. We’ll have to protect the football a little better than we have.”
Tyler Janosik led the Huskies’ offensive attack with 93 yards and a touchdown on the ground last Saturday against the Panthers, as Bishop Carroll rolled up 344 total yards after spotting Penn Cambria the ball for the first 12 minutes of the game. Carroll again must be on top of its game for the second straight week against a crosstown rival.
“It’s a great rivalry between the schools,” Bishop Carroll coach Greg Snyder said. “We’re expecting a good, physical game. Central Cambria is good defensively and fly around the ball. They’re capable of hitting a big play offensively, and if we don’t defend it could be a long night.”
With a young team, Snyder believes that there’s a lot left to be done as the Huskies march into the second half of the season.
“I don’t think that we’re surprised (to be at 3-1), and we’re still not where we want to be yet,” Snyder said. “There’s still a lot of improvement to be done to reach the level that we expect to be at.”
Kickoff between the Red Devils and Huskies is slated for 7 p.m. at Saint Francis.
at Westmont Hilltop (0-4)
After getting thumped by Richland 53-3 in Week 3, the Bisons came back with a vengeance last week with a 49-0 victory over Bishop McCort, as Bedford’s balanced offensive attack rolled up 261 of its 443 yards on the ground behind Kody Blevins and Jeremiah Bingham.
Quarterback Austin Montgomery threw for 166 yards and two scores, as receiver Zack Shaffer managed to grab 92 of his season’s 178 yards against the Crushers.
The Hilltoppers’ offensive struggles continued last week at Somerset, as the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead en route to a 42-14 victory.
Sam Curry remains Westmont’s key player, as he resulted both of the Hilltoppers’ touchdowns — catching a 6-yard touchdown pass from Liam Moran in the second quarter before scampering 16 yards in the third for his second score of the night.