EBENSBURG - Penn Cambria has some pretty decent offensive artillery this season, and all the Panthers' weapons came out blasting again Friday night.
Penn Cambria has averaged 36 points in its first three games, all lopsided wins, and the Panthers rolled up 356 yards in total offense in shellacking archrival Central Cambria, 38-0 in a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section I game at Central Cambria Stadium Friday.
With senior halfback Justin Fuller rushing for 74 yards on 13 carries and senior backs Devin Lawhead and James Mardula both picking up 55 yards on 15 and five carries, respectively, Penn Cambria (3-0 overall, 1-0 in the conference section) churned out 234 yards on the ground.
Photo for the Mirror by Chris Hochrein
Penn Cambria’s James Mardula catches a pass in front of CC’s Zach Mazzarella.
Lawhead scored on a 4-yard run three minutes into the game on Penn Cambria's first possession, and Mardula swept the left side for another touchdown from 10 yards out with 35 seconds left in the first quarter, as Penn Cambria built a 14-0 lead and was never in danger.
Junior Dante Delerme chipped in second-half touchdown runs of 8 and 7 yards for the Panthers, who retained the rivalry's Goalpost Trophy.
"We have a good balance, and offensively, we try to get the ball to as many players as possible,'' Penn Cambria coach Ernie Fetzer said. "I think we'll be able to do that as much as we can this season.''
The Panthers also threw the football well, as senior quarterback Brendan Eckenrode and junior quarterback Chad Tsikalas combined for 122 yards through the air. Eckenrode hit senior wideout Nathan Keagy with a pass that covered 61 yards for Penn Cambria's third touchdown, in the second quarter.
Standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall, Keagy provides an inviting receiving target, and he found himself wide open on a slant across the middle of the field on the touchdown play.
"No [defender] was on me,'' Keagy said. "Coach [Fetzer] called the play, it was wide open, and turned into a touchdown.''
It was an emotional week for Central Cambria (0-1 section, 0-3 overall). Earlier this week, Central Cambria senior Derek Brothers, who had planned to join the football team, died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
The Red Devils dedicated Friday's game to Brothers, and awarded the game ball to his brother, Jimmy, after the contest.
"He was a great kid,'' Central Cambria coach Sam Shutty said of Derek Brothers. "It's such a tragedy, and all our players have taken it very hard.''
Despite all the adversity his team faced this week, Shutty was quick to acknowledge Penn Cambria's outstanding talent.
"They did what they do, and they did that very well tonight,'' Shutty said. "Overall, we couldn't handle them. They got the push up front both offensively and defensively, and when you lose the battle in the trenches, it's tough to get anything going.''
Game notes: The series between the two schools began way back in 1917, with Penn Cambria (then Cresson High School) blanking Central Cambria (then Ebensburg High School), 17-0 ... Dakota Schneider recovered a fumble in Friday's game for Penn Cambria, which will host Bishop Carroll next Friday night ... Central Cambria travels to Cambria Heights next Friday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penn Cambria14 8 8 8 - 38
Central Cambria0 0 0 0 - 0
PC-Lawhead 4 run (run failed), 9:00.
PC-J. Mardula 10 run (J. Mardula run), 0:35.
PC-Keagy 61 pass from B. Eckenrode (Fuller run), 7:10.
PC-Delerme 7 run (Keagy pass from Tsikalas), 7:13
PC-Delerme 8 run (Behe run), 7:33.
RUSHING: Penn Cambria-Fuller 13-74, Lawhead 15-55, J. Mardula 5-55, M. Eckenrode 2-23, Delerme 2-16, Janosik 4-13, McLendon 1-2, B. Eckenrode 2-0, Tsikalas 1-(-4). Central Cambria-Gironda 6-24, Bauer 6-17, Myers 5-11, Long 1-5, Seymour 4-(-3), Papuga 4-(-1).
PASSING: Penn Cambria-B. Eckenrode 3-6-0-73, Tsikalas 4-7-1-49. Central Cambria-Seymour 3-11-0-43.
RECEIVING: Penn Cambria-Behe 2-25, Lawhead 2-12, Keagy 1-61, J. Mardula 1-12, Fuller 1-12. Central Cambria-Shaffer 2-12, Long 1-31.
INTERCEPTIONS: Central Cambria-Shaffer.