EBENSBURG - After trailing 14-0 to Forest Hills at halftime, Central Cambria looked like it had grabbed the momentum in the third quarter.
The Red Devils put together their best drive of the night to open the second half, scoring a touchdown that cut the Rangers' lead in half. Central Cambria then executed a perfect onside kick and appeared to regain possession of the ball, but the Red Devils lost it in the pile giving Forest Hills good field position.
However, the play of the game came later in the third quarter.
The Rangers moved the ball deep into Red Devils territory after recovering the onside kick and appeared poised to retake a two possession lead.
However, Will Seymour intercepted a Jared Shope pass and returned it 45 yards into Rangers territory. Unfortunately for Central Cambria, it fumbled the ball on the next play, giving possession back to Forest Hills. The Rangers responded with a scoring drive to extend the lead to 21-7 en route to a 28-14 road win.
"Turning point of the game," Central Cambria coach Sam Shutty said of the turnover. "There's nothing else you can say. It was the turning point of the game. We came out and scored, stopped them, and got a big turnover and we gave it right back to them.
"That actually would have been a big play for us if we had gotten the handoff. I think it was fatigue and guys trying to do too much. You can't fault them for trying too hard, but turnovers killed us tonight."
Central Cambria opened the second half with a seven-play scoring drive that trimmed the Rangers lead to 14-7. The key play of the drive was actually a busted play, as Seymour took the snap from center, turned, and bumped into his own player. However, Seymour kept his balance, spun out of the pack and players, and ran down the sideline for 36 yards to the Forest Hills' 2-yard line.
Tyler Gironda scored on the next play to trim the Forest Hills lead to 14-7. However, the change of momentum following the Central Cambria interception and fumble proved too much to overcome.
Central Cambria added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Brandon Long set up the score with a 58-yard kickoff return to give the Red Devils the ball deep in Forest Hills territory. Two plays later Long made a spectacular spinning grab with a Rangers defender draped on him for an 18-yard touchdown reception that set the final at 28-14.
"They were just killing us in the first half, and we were just scrambling," Shutty said. "We were running things we had success with in previous weeks. What we had to go back to was our base. We went back to our base offense, which we have not run that much, so they probably did not prepare much for that. We had success with it, obviously. Turnovers just killed us tonight."
The Rangers got their first score off a Red Devils turnover.
"The story of our season is that we have been turning over the ball too much," Forest Hills coach Don Bailey said. "We have been beating ourselves, and shooting ourselves in the foot. Tonight we got a couple of turnovers. Our first score was set up with a turnover. After they got the interception and got the turnover right back, that was a big play."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Forest Hills7 7 7 7 - 28
Central Cambria0 0 7 7 - 14
FH-Snedden 5 pass from Shope (Dumm kick), 1:21.
FH-Ivock 7 pass from Shope (Dumm kick), 7:19.
CC-Gironda 1 run (Bowman kick), 8:43.
FH-Dell 4 run (Dumm kick), :37.
FH-Shope 1 run (Dumm kick), 8:31.
CC-Long 18 pass from Seymour (Bowman kick), 7:16.
RUSHING: Forest Hills-Dell 23-86, Shope 10-35, Pinkas 5-15, Krug 2-(-1), Shima 2-(-6). Central Cambria-Gironda 9-35, Seymour 6-23, Mazzarella 3-9, Bauer 2-6, Myers 4-3, Leary 1-(-1), Papuga 2-(-3).
PASSING: Forest Hills-Shope 14-23-2-194. Central Cambria-Seymour 6-15-0-49.
RECEIVING: Forest Hills-Snedden 7-104, Shima 4-71, Dell 2-12, Ivock 1-7. Central Cambria-Long 3-32, Schaffer 2-16, Myers 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Forest Hills-none. Central Cambria-Long, Seymour