LORETTO - Will Seymour's injured ankle had him hobbling noticeably, but you wouldn't know anything hurt from the ear-to-ear smile on his face.
"You don't feel anything," Seymour said, "after a win like that."
Seymour's toughness typified that of his Central Cambria High School football team. The Red Devils had been pushed around DeGol Field by Bishop Carroll for most of Saturday evening. But when they needed to move the football, they found a way to methodically do so and emerged with a 17-7 victory over the Huskies in a big Laurel Highlands Conference Section 1 game.
"We've been preparing for this game forever," said Devil receiver/defensive back Tanner Ambrisco, whose interception set up the first of Seymour's two short touchdown runs and whose tackle of Carroll's Tyler Janosik denied the Huskies a likely halftime tie. "This is one game we really wanted to win. We said it was like any other game, that we were going for win number four but ... I can't really explain it."
Central Cambria didn't even have a first down until the 6:54 mark of the third quarter and was outgained by Janosik himself, 158-146. However, after Carroll tied the game on Janosik's 2-yard plunge, Central Cambria drove 69 yards to regain the lead on a 6-yard Seymour run.
Then, the Devils iced it with a 17-play, 55-yard drive that ate 9:17 off the clock and culminated in Colby Crimmins' 23-yard field goal to make it a 10-point difference with 4:00 left, giving Central Cambria its fourth straight win and raising its mark to 3-0 in section play.
"I talked about this every week we've won a close game. It's called finishing," Seymour said. "We just know when we have to make plays. We don't say anything. There's just a look in everyone's eyes. They know we need a big drive right here. Everyone stepped up to make plays at the right time tonight. It was great."
The Devils converted two third downs and two fourth downs during the two crucial second half drives. Under first-year coach Bill Corrente, Central Cambria matched its combined win total for the last two years.
"Nobody trusted us. Nobody gave us a lick of respect, and these guys just want to prove something," Corrente said.
The disappointment on Carroll's side was palpable. On their homecoming, the Huskies outgained Central Cambria 190-10 in the first half but found themselves trailing 7-0 with two drives ending deep inside Devil territory. On one, Brody Shuty appeared headed for a touchdown but had the ball stripped away and recovered in the end zone.
Still, Carroll seemed ready to even things at the end of the first half. Janosik, though, was stopped inches shy of the goal line by Ambrisco, Scott Bauer and other Devil defenders and the Huskies, with no time outs left, couldn't get another play off before time expired.
Carroll, coming off shutout wins the last two games, slipped to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the section.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a lot. We really did," Husky coach Greg Snyder said. "We weren't ready, and they were. We moved the ball the whole game. It's a shame we couldn't get more points out of it. Hats off to them. They made the plays when they needed to, and we didn't."
Ambrisco turned in one of the biggest by stopping Janosik at the end of the first half.
"We had assignments. We all did our assignments. I just happened to be there," said Ambrisco, who returned an interception 45 yards to the BC 8 in the first quarter to set up Seymour's 1-yard scoring sneak. "Coach [Wade] Klezek had a great gameplan. We were in the right spots at the right time. We made plays."
Seymour entered the game as one of Central Cambria's top playmakers on both sides of the ball, but he only carried it once in the first half - his first touchdown - because of an injured ankle.
"He's been fighting through that. We've been resting him during the week. That's why I was afraid in the first half to put the ball in his hands a whole lot," Corrente said. "He told me at halftime, he said 'Coach, I can do it.' So we went no huddle, and that seemed to help us out."
Seymour rushed 11 times for 41 yards and was 5-for-10 throwing for 44 yards in the second half.
Snyder termed the game a "gut punch."
"I told the kids, 'I want you to move on from the game. I don't want you to forget the feeling,'" Snyder said. "Because this is a feeling I don't want them to experience the rest of the season. It's hard on them right now."
But sweet just a few hundred yards up Route 422 in Ebensburg at Central Cambria.
"Our defense saved us, and we made enough plays offensively to be where we are right now," Corrente said.
Game notes: Both teams have huge games next week. Central Cambria travels to Forest Hills on Friday night, while Carroll travels to Bishop Guilfoyle on Saturday evening. ... Haley Krug was named homecoming king before the game. David Maruca was crowned king. ... Shuty made two interceptions, taking the area lead in picks from Ambrisco by one.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Cambria7 0 7 3 - 17
Bishop Carroll0 0 7 0 - 7
CC-Seymour 1 run (Crimmins kick), 4:45.
BC-Janosik 2 run (Gruss kick), 7:53.
CC-Seymour 6 run (Crimmins kick), 4:47.
CC-Crimmins 23 FG, 4:00.
RUSHING: Central Cambria- Kirsch 9-61, Seymour 12-42, Pennington 1-2, Young 1-2, Bauer 2-(-2), TEAM 3-(-3). Bishop Carroll-Janosik 28-158, Lesney 8-33, Frederick 6-30, Maruca 5-15, Repko 2-4, Shuty 1-5.
PASSING: Central Cambria-Seymour 5-14-2-44. Bishop Carroll-Maruca 3-8-2-25, Swatsworth 0-1-0-0, Janosik 1-4-0-6.
RECEIVING: Central Cambria-Ambrisco 3-26, S. Davis 1-4, Leary 1-14. Bishop Carroll-Shuty 3-22, Repko 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS: Central Cambria-Zearing, Ambrisco. Bishop Carroll-Shuty 2.