JOHNSTOWN - If the game was won between the 30-yard lines, Cambria Heights would have been in great shape Friday night against Bishop McCort.
For much of the night the Highlanders controlled the ball and the clock, but managed to put only one score on the board in a 15-6 loss to the Crimson Crushers.
Cambria Heights (1-7) moved the ball well for much of the night and saw five offensive drives stall in Bishop McCort territory, two ending with untimely fumbles.
"We've got to finish drives and that has been a problem for us and bit us again today. Bad turnovers and just not making plays hurt us," Cambria Heights coach Jarrod Lewis said.
Bishop McCort (2-6) jumped out to an early lead as it went 68 yards in three plays for a touchdown on its opening drive. The big play came when freshman quarterback Levi Cook found Luke DiFrancesco for a 47-yard completion on the second play from scrimmage.
Senior running back Tyler Rugg found the end zone from 20 yards out on the next play and the Crushers added a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
"We got off to a fast start which we needed. Luke has been making big plays for us all season and that catch on the opening drive got us going," Bishop McCort coach Kevin Sheridan said.
After both teams failed to score the remainder of the first half, it was Cambria Heights that grabbed early momentum in the second half as freshman playmaker James Baum took the opening kickoff 92 yards for the Highlanders' lone score.
Cambria Heights made another big play on the subsequent kickoff as it recovered a well-placed squib kick and took over the ball on the Bishop McCort 25-yard line.
"We thought we saw something in how they were lining up in the return game and Johnny [Galinis] was able to kick it where our guys could make a play," Lewis said.
The momentum was short lived, however, as a fumbled handoff from Eddie Link to Josh Fees on the second play of the drive was recovered by Bishop McCort.
Bishop McCort then used a 14-play drive to get to the Highlanders' 39-yard line, but a big sack by Cambria Heights defensive end Angelo Snyder stalled the drive and forced a Crushers punt.
Cambria Heights again marched into Bishop McCort territory on the very next drive, but again a fumbled handoff between Link and Fees was recovered by McCort.
"I'll have to check the tape to see what the issue was with the two fumbles but we simply can't have those turnovers in key spots," Lewis said.
Bishop McCort turned the second turnover into points as it put together a 15-play, 55-yard drive punctuated by a Rugg 1-yard touchdown to effectively ice the game.
The drive saw the Crushers convert two third-and-longs with passes to DiFrancesco as well as two fourth-and-shorts with runs by Rugg, who finished with 110 yards on the ground.
"Luke has great hands and we look for him to move the chains on third down and Tyler adds a lot of physicality for our offense, he had a lot of great cut back runs tonight and wore the defense down," Sheridan said.
One group Lewis was pleased with was his defensive line. The unit was able to put a lot of pressure on Bishop McCort's quarterbacks and finished the game with seven total sacks.
At times Snyder, along with Micah McConnell, were unblockable up front.
"The defensive line played great tonight and I'm proud of the effort of those guys. Unfortunately it's another close loss for us and with two games left we've got to see if we can finish strong," Lewis said.
Cambria Heights will try to capture its second win of the season next week as it hosts Somerset.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Cambria Heights0 0 6 0 - 6
Bishop McCort8 0 0 7 15
BM Rugg 20 run (Rugg pass from?Wade), 11:04
CH Baum 92 kick return (Run failed), 11:46
BM Rugg 1 run (Junker kick), 5:50
RUSHING: Cambria Heights - Fees 16-73, Legros 6-16, E. Link 4-11, D. Link 2-11, Baker 1-0, TEAM 2-(-3). Bishop McCort - Rugg 21-110, Cook 7-28, DiFrancesco 5-10, Wade 3- (-21), Trexler 2-30, Smith 1-4.
PASSING: Cambria Heights - E. Link 8-16-0-109, Legros 0-1-1-0. Bishop McCort - Cook 8-15-1-142, Wade 3-4-0-25
RECEIVING: Cambria Heights - Lacue 5-81, Legros 3-28. Bishop McCort - DiFrancesco 6-118, Burgo 2-10, Formica 1-20, Smith 1-20, Trexler 1- (-1).
INTERCEPTIONS: Cambria Heights - Baker. Bishop McCort - DiFrancesco