ROARING SPRING - Central's Bradi Moore swept right, then sprinted down the sideline for a 71-yard touchdown on the first play of his team's game against Bald Eagle Area on Friday night.
Unfortunately, for Moore, it was all for naught as the TD was called back on a holding penalty.
The touchdown may not have counted on the scoreboard but it not only set a precedence of what was to come for the Scarlet Dragons, and it quickly showed the Eagles that they couldn't relax against the team from the Cove.
Photo for the Mirror by Gerald T. Leidy
Central’s Austin Cunningham leaps two Bald Eagle Area defenders.
Moore finished the game with four touchdowns, quarterback Austin Cunningham threw for three and the Central defense held BEA to just three first downs on the night in a 34-0 Mountain League victory at the Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
"That's pretty much what we see everyday [from Moore and Cunningham]," Central coach Dave Baker said. "Moore is pretty explosive. When he starts up and hits something he's pretty quick. [Austin] has real good judgment and he is faster than what you think because he can turn up and pick his field very, very well."
Moore and Cunningham hooked up from 31 yards out on the opening drive that was nine plays and nearly four minutes long.
"It's a long season. We've got five games left," Bald Eagle Area coach Jack Tobias said. "The season started off with great expectations and we still have those expectations."
With one last drive before the half, Central [4-1 overall and 3-1 in the league] took possession follow a Bald Eagle Area punt with 1:32 left. Cunningham was looking for Moore the entire drive as he completed consecutive passes of 14 and 22 yards before throwing an incompletion. On the drive's fourth play, they duo hooked up on a 23-yard scoring play with 57.6 ticks left that gave the Scarlet Dragons a 21-0 halftime lead.
"Our line, they're the backbone of our team," Cunningham said. "They got called out this week and they were proving a point this game."
It wasn't just Moore on the offensive for Central as Bald Eagle [4-1, 2-1] had no answer for Cunningham, who rushed for 99 yards on just nine carries in the first half. The signal caller also found fellow junior Adam Frederick on a 20-yard pass-and-catch touchdown at the 2:00 mark of the first quarter.
Central had two other prime opportunities to put points on the board in the half, but Cunningham got down to the BEA 1 and then fumbled it away in the end zone on one drive, then on the BEA 10, he threw a jump ball into the end zone to Moore which was intercepted by Dylan Womer.
The Eagles couldn't capitalized as their rushing attack amassed just 16 yards in opening half, and losing leading rusher Dion Barnard early in the contest didn't help. Quarterback Cole Long found Jonathon Romine three times for 50 yards.
"We were able to get them running sideways," Baker said of the key to stopping BEA's running attack. "They could not turn up and face us. Once they turned up on you, they were pretty good runners, but as long as you keep them running sideway, they had trouble."
"Getting to the corner was the big part. We couldn't get to the edge - it's what killed us," Tobias said. "Their [Central] backers did a great job filling it Their backside backer is what probably hurt us the most."
The third quarter consisted of three Bald Eagle punts, while Central punted once and turned the ball over on downs on their other chance. BEA punter Tony Riley was forced to punt nine times on the evening, while Moore kicked it away just twice.
"Coach did a great job game planning all week," Cunningham said. "We just tried to play physical up front and have everyone do their job."
Moore would score on back-to-back carries in the final stanza as he rushed in from 20-yards out at the 10:46 mark, then exploded for a 60-yard jolt to paydirt with the clock showing 8:35 to set the final.
"We pretty much, I guess you'd have to say, we dominated them," Baker said. "I thought our defensive line played well in that we didn't get pushed back. That allowed our linebackers [Todd Slick and Zac Emerick] to make tackles when nobody blocked them."
The Central defense limited the Eagles to just 127 yards of total offense, while the Dragons exploded when the had the ball for 538. In addition to throwing for 110 yards, Cunningham also ran for 152, while Moore led the way with 158 yards on the ground.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bald Eagle Area0 0 0 0 - 0
Central0 0 0 0 - 34
C-Moore 31 pass from Cunningham (Helsel kick), 8:08.
C-Frederick 20 pass from Cunningham (Helsel kick), 2:00.
C-Moore 23 pass from Cunningham (Helsel kick), 57.6.
C-Moore 20 run (kick failed), 10:46.
C-Moore 60 run (Helsel kick), 8:35.
RUSHING: Bald Eagle Area-Barnard 2-7, Long 10-(-31), Bartley 10-40, M. Struble 2-1, Sharkey 2-10, Greene 1-(-4), Tice 3-33. Central-Moore 17-158, Conrath 3-29, Cunningham 14-152, Slick 5-31, Weyant 4-38, Emerick 2-8, Mock 1-(-3), Hoenstine 2-0.
PASSING: Bald Eagle Area-Long 6-8-0-62, Jones 1-2-0-9. Central-Cunningham 5-10-1-110, Moore 0-1-0-0, Mock 1-1-0-15.
RECEIVING: Bald Eagle Area-Romine 5-53, Greene 1-9, Watkins 1-9. Central-Moore 4-90, Frederick 1-20, Emerick 1-15.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bald Eagle Area-Womer.