ROARING SPRING - On paper, it looked like the perfect trap game.
A 6-1 Philipsburg-Osceola team was coming off a big win over previously unbeaten Clearfield. A home game was on the horizon next week with Tyrone.
And here was Central with a 3-3 record on Friday night at home celebrating senior night.
Vroman discusses his team's win over Central
"I don't think like that," Central coach Dave Baker said when told of the scenario. "I think about us. I think about what is best for us. [P-O] just played well tonight."
And so it did as the Mounties took an 11-6 lead into the fourth quarter, upped it to 32-13 at one point before Central scored in the final moments, setting the final tally at 32-20.
P-O coach Jeff Vroman also downplayed the trap game question.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Central’s Matt Ritchey is stopped by Philipsburg-Osceola’s Nick Gray.
"I was worried because Central is a good football team, and anybody who didn't know that hasn't been watching," he said. "Clearfield had to fight and claw just to win down here in week 1. We had to come here this week and play a good football team."
The Mounties scored on their first drive of the game, a nine-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard scoring run by Cody Lee. Mike Marcinko ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 advantage.
Central came right back, going from its own 20 down to the P-O 7. However, on a second-and-goal play, quarterback Matt Ritchey was picked off by Parker Watson. The Mounties drove down and got a 25-yard field goal from Alex Boumerhi for an 11-0 lead.
"I am not sure ... I'd have to look at the film, but it looks like he threw it to him," Baker said of the first of his team's four turnovers.
Vroman wasn't surprised by Watson's play.
"He had [an interception] late in a game against Juniata that set up a field goal for us," he said. "That was a big momentum shift because Central was moving the ball on us."
Central got back in the game late in the third quarter when P-O botched a punt attempt, giving the Dragons the ball at the Mounties' 11. Three plays later, Austin Cunningham, who had moved in from his wide receiver spot to quarterback for a series, hit Bradi Moore with a 6-yard touchdown pass. The two-point run failed, but it was now 11-6.
"We were just scrapping to stay ahead in that quarter," Vroman said.
The Mounties pulled ahead early in the fourth on a 36-yard touchdown run by Michael John, who finished with 144 yards on just 12 carries. That made it 18-6.
"We had him stopped in the backfield and then he just turned it up," said Baker, whose team gave up 278 yards rushing. "I think it was really simple. They just blocked us. At the beginning of the third quarter, they didn't block us. They probably blocked us better than we had been blocked all year. They are a good team. They beat Clearfield."
Another Central turnover led to more points as Lee scored from 16 yards out with 8:08 to go in the game for a 25-6 lead.
Ritchey gave the Dragons some life by completing five straight passes on the ensuing drive, marching his team down for a 20-yard touchdown pass to Cunningham. The Moritz Leupka PAT made it 25-13.
After a failed onsides kick, P-O went 50 yards in five plays, as Aaron McKnight scored from 2 yards out with 3:04 to play to make it 32-13. Moore scored Central's final touchdown on a 97-yard run with 46 seconds to play to set the final.
If you take away that play, Central was held to 65 yards rushing on 22 carries. Its biggest threat, Jarron Knisely carried six times for 15 yards.
"We could not get him enough room to make cuts out there," Baker said of his star running back.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Philipsburg-Osceola8 3 0 21 - 32
Central0 0 6 14 - 20
PO-Lee 20 run (Marcinko run) 4:25
PO-A. Boumerhi 25 FG, 8:55
C-Moore 6 pass from Cunningham, (run failed), 3:41
PO-John 36 run (A. Boumerhi kick), 11:51
PO-Lee 16 run (A. Boumerhi kick), 8:08
C-Cunningham 20 pass from Ritchey (Leupka kick), 5:27
PO-McKnight 2 run (A. Boumerhi kick), 3:04
C-Moore 97 run (Leupka kick), :46
RUSHING: Philipsburg-Osceola-McKnight 5-47, John 12-144, Lee 16-95, Marcinko 7-6, Pry 2-0, TEAM 3-(-14). Central-Lingenfelter 4-15, Knisely 6-15, Moore 5-124,Cunningham 2-1, Ritchey 6-7.
PASSING: Philipsburg-Osceola-Marcinko 4-6-0-59. Central-Ritchey 11-20-2-172, Cunningham 1-3-1-6.
RECEIVING: Philipsburg-Osceola-John 2-44, McKnight 1-11, Watson 1-4. Central-Lingenfelter 2-46, Cunningham 4-65, Knisely 3-43, Moore 2-15, Smith 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS: Philipsburg-Osceola-Watson, Gray, Matsko. Central-None.