JOHNSTOWN - If games were played on paper alone, the Central Cambria Red Devils should have walked away with a win over a young Johnstown Trojan club Friday night.
But in a game that saw both teams struggle to execute, Johnstown capitalized on a few big plays and numerous Devil penalties to hold on for a 15-6 victory.
"We just continue to make the mental breakdowns," Central Cambria coach Sam Shutty said, referring to nine penalties. "We left too many points out there."
Central Cambria was primed to take control of the game in the first quarter. After stalling a Trojan drive at midfield, Brandon Long blocked Grant Noon's punt before Scott Bauer recovered the loose ball at Johnstown's 22.
The Red Devils forced their way inside the Trojan 10, but an illegal block penalty forced them outside of the red zone. Will Seymour was brought down by Dalvin Williams while trying to find a receiver on fourth down.
The teams traded drives into the second quarter before Central Cambria ended a Trojan drive deep in Johnstown territory.
Opening their series near the Johnstown 30, the Red Devils appeared ready to open the scoring when Seymour found Nick Myers in the flat with room to run. However, defensive back Jesaiah Wilson stripped Myers, and Kareem Gibson fielded the ball on a full sprint, taking the fumble 72 yards for the opening score with less than a minute left in the half.
"You can't fault anybody for trying to make a play," Shutty said. "That turnover was such a momentum killer because it looked like a big play for us."
The Red Devils came out of the locker room ready to answer the Trojans' big play. Starting near their own 30, Central Cambria grounded out an 18-play drive, devouring 11:20 before Seymour powered an option keeper two yards for paydirt. Johnstown intercepted Seymour's two-point conversion attempt to leave the score 8-6.
Though the Devils pounced on one of Johnstown's four lost fumbles' on the very next play from scrimmage, Central Cambria could not capitalize.
"That's what happens to us," Shutty said. "We almost rose to the challenge, but just couldn't consistently drive."
The teams would jab at one another until midway in the final quarter. Starting a drive near midfield, Johnstown cracked a 33-yard sweep from Gibson, followed by a 16-yard counter from Deion Moore on a two-play drive for the game's final points. Johnstown coach Tony Penna, Jr. was happy with Moore.
"He's an dynamic player. Sometimes great athletes make things look easy," he said.
Trojan freshman Terrell Jones led all rushers with 52 yards on the ground, while Central Cambria's Tyler Gironda paced the Devils with 39 yards. Seymour finished with 104 yards passing. Moore finished with 58 total yards.
Central Cambria (0-2) hosts Penn Cambria next week, while Johnstown improves to 1-1 ahead of a home game against Westmont Hilltop.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Cambria 0 0 6 0 - 6
Johnstown 0 8 0 7 - 15
J-Gibson 72 fumble return (Moore to Madison), 0:50.
CC-Seymour 2 run (pass failed), 1:40.
J-Moore 5 run (Noon kick), 5:47.
RUSHING: Cenral Cambria-Gironda 8-39, Myers 10-30, Papuga 5-14, Bauer 2-11, Seymour 17-6, Long 1-0. Johnstown-Jones 9-52, Moore 5-47, Gibson 1-33, Braxton 6-16, LoBoi 3-(-3), Team 3-(-3).
PASSING: Central Cambria-Seymour 7-22-104-0. Johnstown-Moore 1-2-11-0, LoBoi 1-4-3-0.
RECEIVING: Central Cambria-Long 2-48, Myers 4-30, Shaffer 1-26. Johnstown-Madison 1-11, Jones 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS: Central Cambria-None. Johnstown-None.
TEAM STATISTICS CC J
First downs 12 6
Yards rushing 43-100 27-142
Passing (comp.-att.-int) 7-22-0 2-6-0
Yards passing 104 14
Total yards 204 156
Fumbles-lost 5-2 5-4
Penalties-yards 9-60 5-25
Punts-avg. 5-33 4-30