PATTON - Cambria Heights senior Andrew Brawley was in the right place at the right time on both sides of the football Friday night as the Highlanders downed Forest Hills, 24-6 in a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section I matchup at Patton Stadium.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Brawley, who starts at both wideout and defensive back for Heights, caught a 30-yard pass from senior quarterback Nathan Bearer in the second quarter. He also recovered a fumble in the end zone to thwart a promising Forest Hills scoring drive later in the second period, after intercepting a pass early in the second quarter to stop another Forest Hills drive at the Heights 14.
Brawley's fumble recovery came with the Highlanders (now 2-1 in the section and 3-2 overall) leading, 7-0 and Forest Hills on the move at the Heights 6 midway through the second quarter.
"We had a big stop there close to the goal line, and [recovering the fumble] was a big momentum-turner for us,'' Brawley said. "To get the ball back in our possession there really helped us out.''
The recovery helped Heights maintain a 7-0 lead at halftime that was eventuated by Brawley's touchdown reception of a perfectly-thrown pass down the left side by Bearer with 6:26 left in the second quarter.
"My quarterback put it right where it needed to be, and I made the catch,'' Brawley said.
Forest Hills (1-2 in the section and 2-3 overall) continued to be plagued by turnovers as the Rangers lost to Heights for the first time since 1983. Forest Hills turned the ball over four times, three on fumbles.
"That's been the story of our season so far - too many turnovers at inopportune times,'' veteran Forest Hills coach Don Bailey said.
It was again Friday, and the mistakes were especially damaging. A fumbled punt return that was recovered by the Highlanders' Cameron Miller gave Heights a first down at the Forest Hills 40 and opened the door for Bearer's touchdown pass to Brawley.
Heights dominated the second half, but it didn't start out that way. Forest Hills scored on its opening possession of the third quarter, when senior Jared Shope, who stepped under center for the Rangers in the second half, rolled left and hit senior wideout Austin Danel with a 47-yard touchdown pass.
Shope and junior Tyler Shima split the quarterback duties in place of injured starter Joe Donoughe, a sophomore.
Heights controlled the football and the clock for most of the third quarter, taking advantage of a short Forest Hills punt to start a series at the Heights 37. Senior running back Tyler Crawford - who rushed for 164 yards on 24 carries -- bolted up the middle for 16 yards, and junior back Josh Fees followed with a 14-yard run to the 7. Bearer covered the remaining yards to the end zone, sweeping left end with 1:12 left in the third quarter to put Heights ahead, 14-6 after three periods.
Heights continued to roll in the fourth quarter, getting a 21-yard field goal from senior Tristan Irwin with 8:16 left in the game and applying the padlock when Crawford dashed 31 yards up the middle for a touchdown with 2:07 left.
"They wore us down,'' Bailey said of the Highlanders. "In the second half, they pretty much ran the ball right through us.''
Heights coach Jarrod Lewis saluted his team for carrying the fourth quarter.
"The game was really decided in the fourth quarter, and our kids stepped up,'' he said. "Forest Hills is a good football team, and they're very well-coached. This win feels good for our kids.''
Game notes: Senior Donnie Contorchick recovered a fumble for Heights, which visits Penn Cambria next Friday night ... Crawford rushed for 140 yards on 14 carries in the second half ... Senior running back Shawn Dell rushed for 158 yards on 10 carries for Forest Hills.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Forest Hills0 0 6 0 - 6
Cambria Heights0 7 7 10 - 24
CH-Brawley 30 pass from Bearer (Irwin kick), 6:26.
FH-Danel 47 pass from Shope (pass failed), 10:15.
CH-Bearer 7 run (Irwin kick), 1:12.
CH-Irwin 21 FG, 8:16.
CH-Crawford 31 run (Irwin kick), 2:07.
RUSHING: Forest Hills-Dell 10-158, Shope 2-12, Pinkas 1-3, Shima 3-(-16). Cambria Heights-Crawford 24-164, Myers 6-25, Fees 2-16, Contorchick 5-4, Bearer 15-(-1), Stasko 1-(-1).
PASSING: Forest Hills-Shope 4-13-0-94, Shima 3-10-1-14. Cambria Heights-Bearer 8-15-1-83, Myers 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Forest Hills-Danel 4-65, Shima 1-31, Shope 1-7, Snedden 1-5. Cambria Heights-Brawley 6-71, Myers 1-12, Bertram 1-0.
INTERCEPTIONS: Forest Hills-Snedden. Cambria Heights-Brawley.