NEW PARIS - Chestnut Ridge made a huge stand on the goal line on two straight plays to keep visiting Central out of the end zone on the Dragons' first drive of the contest.
However, backed up deep in their own zone, the Lions were devoured by the Scarlet Dragons on second down following a near safety miss on first. Bradi Moore exploded through the Ridge line and gave CR runner Trent Crouse no chance as he tackled him 3 yards deep for the safety.
From that momentum swing on, things only got much better for Central as Moore and his teammates cashed in on Chestnut Ridge's first-game jitters in a 51-20 pounding of the Lions on Friday at Dr. Giovacchini Stadium.
"As soon as I saw the back coming to get out of the end zone, I knew there was no way I was letting him get out," Moore said. "It was a complete adrenaline rush to get that safety."
Moore wreaked havoc on offense even more so as he scored on a run, threw a TD pass, caught a TD and returned a punt and kickoff for big yardage which set up more Scarlet Dragon points.
"They had some turnovers early. We just got ahead and things just sort of rolled up on them," Central coach Dave Baker said. "I thought we basically controlled the game when we wanted to."
Following the safety, quarterback Austin Cunningham followed the lead block of fullback Todd Slick into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown run.
Moore set himself up for the next score when he returned a Braden Hengst punt 48 yards to the Ridge 7, then only needed one play to find pay dirt.
"That was definitely a good first game by him [Moore]," Baker said. "He will certainly be a big part of our offense - without a doubt."
The Lions fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Jared Ponder came up with the recovery. Four plays later, Moore used a halfback option play to find a wide-open Chris Brumbaugh for a 42-yard scoring strike at 1:28 of the first quarter.
"Disappointing. We gave them some - no doubt," Ridge coach Max Shoemaker said. "We just couldn't contain them. We also didn't help our own cause by being the Salvation Army."
Cunningham, who threw for 81 yards and ran for 87, responded to a Ridge punt by sweeping down the right side on a 43-yard burst to make it 30-0.
Chestnut Ridge quarterback Beau Bosch ended the shutout on his squad's next chance by crossing the goal line on a 2-yard plunge at 2:32 of the second quarter to cap off a 14-play drive.
However, Moore and Cunningham wasted no time hooking up on a 56-yard scoring play with just over a minute left in the half.
Austin Conrath punched one in from 13-yards out to kick the mercy rule running clock into effect with the score 44-7.
"It was a total team effort by us," Baker said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central23 14 14 0 - 51
Chestnut Ridge0 7 0 13 - 20
C-Safety, Moore tackles runner in end zone for safety, 6:11.
C-Cunningham 21 run (Helsel kick), 4:55.
C-Moore 7 run (Helsel kick), 3:32.
C-Brumbaugh 42 pass from Moore (Helsel kick), 1:28.
C-Cunningham 43 run (Helsel kick), 7:58.
CR-Bosch 2 run (VanMeter kick), 2:32.
C-Moore 56 pass from Cunningham (Helsel kick), 1:24.
C-Conrath 13 run (Helsel kick), 10:10.
C-Garber 4 run (Helsel kick), 58.1.
CR-Pick 34 pass from Bosch (kick failed), 11:52.
CR-M. Wiley 5 run (VanMeter kick), 7:51.
RUSHING: Central-Moore 10-77, Cunningham 7-87, Slick 6-10, Emerick 2-1, Helsel 1-3, Conrath 4-31, Garber 6-22, Weitzel 4-16, Mock 4-43, Shirey 1-21, Weyant 1-2. Chestnut Ridge-Mock 8-32, Bosch 13-42, Crouse 2-8, White 4-8, M. Wiley 5-4, TEAM 1-10.
PASSING: Central-Cunningham 3-4-1-81, Moore 1-1-0-42, Mock 0-0-0-0, Hamm 0-0-0-0. Chestnut Ridge-Bosch 3-9-0-49.
RECEIVING: Central-Brumbaugh 1-42, Frederick 1-16, Moore 2-65. Chestnut Ridge-Pick 3-49.
INTERCEPTIONS: Chestnut Ridge-Pick.