ROARING SPRING - The mercy-rule clock mercifully kicked on at the earliest possible time Friday night during Central's Mountain League mismatch with winless Bellefonte.
Central barged out to a 49-7 halftime lead, setting the mercy clock in motion at the very outset of the second half.
The clock expedited an outcome that was virtually inevitable from the start of the game, won by the Scarlet Dragons, 63-7, at the Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
With talented senior Bradi Moore's four touchdowns leading the way, Central (6-2 overall, 5-1 league) scored early and often against the outmanned Red Raiders, who dropped to 0-8 overall and in the conference.
Moore opened the scoring on a 40-yard touchdown run from his halfback position just 2:09 into the game. He also returned an intercepted pass while playing defensive back 19 yards for a touchdown with 4:00 left in the first quarter, and scored a third first-quarter touchdown by hauling in senior quarterback Austin Cunningham's 46-yard scoring pass.
Central raced out to a 35-7 lead after one quarter, as Cunningham ran 76 yards for the Dragons' second touchdown, and hit senior wideout Trevor Forshey with a 36-yard scoring pass.
Moore's final touchdown of the night came on a 62-yard run from scrimmage in the third quarter. But by then, all the shouting was long over.
Central coach Dave Baker was on the opposite end of many of these types of games during several lean years as head coach at tiny Williamsburg High School.
Baker prefers to be on the winning side, but admitted that games like Friday's aren't much fun for either of the teams involved.
"It's easy, but not a lot of fun,'' Baker said. "In a game like this, you just try to control things, and do the best that you can to try to make things as painless for everybody as possible. I've been there [where Bellefonte is right now], and it's better to be here than there.''
Baker was able to dump his bench early in the second quarter, but even that situation posed a dilemma.
"You don't want to tell any of your kids not to play hard - that's not what the game is all about,'' Baker said about the problem of attempting not to run the score up while still having his players give a game effort.
Central, which got a 37-yard scoring run from senior fullback Austin Conrath and an 18-yard touchdown pass from Cunningham to Nick Hoenstine in the second quarter, added its final touchdown of the night on sophomore Noah Benton's 18-yard pass to sophomore wideout Justin Helsel in the third quarter.
Moore rushed for 125 yards on six carries for Central, while Conrath gained 103 yards on only three rushes.
"I thought we played well tonight,'' Baker said. "We were efficient, and we didn't make a lot of mistakes.''
Bellefonte, which had several players transfer out of the school district before the season and has also been faced with several recent injuries, got its only touchdown on Nick Jabco's 75-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
"Central has some guys that are very good athletes and create nightmare mismatches on the field for them,'' Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning said.
Game notes: Friday was homecoming at Central. Mattie Shepley was named homecoming queen, while football team member Zach Slagenweit, who kicked 9-of-9 extra points, was named homecoming king.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellefonte7 0 0 0 - 7
Central35 14 14 0 63
C-Moore 40 run (Slagenweit kick), 9:51.
C-Cunningham 76 run (Slagenweit kick), 6:17.
C-Forshey 36 pass from Cunningham (Slagenweit kick), 5:02.
C-Moore 19 interception return (Slagenweit kick), 4:00.
B-Jabco 75 kickoff return (Stover kick), 3:46.
C-Moore 46 pass from Cunningham (Slagenweit kick), 3:11.
C-Hoenstine 18 pass from Cunningham (Slagenweit kick), 11:50.
C-Conrath 37 run (Slagenweit kick), 3:10.
C-Moore 62 run (Slagenweit kick), 8:58.
C-Helsel 13 pass from Benton (Slagenweit kick), 3:33.
RUSHING: Bellefonte-Kerschner 11-27, Kephart 5-22, Kaltenbaugh 6-10, Leiter 3-5, Jackson 9-2, Jabco 2-(-2). Central-Moore 6-125, Conrath 3-103, Cunningham 2-79, Shirey 5-22, Quarello 4-11, Emerick 4-7, Price 1-6, Benton 3-3, Little 1-3, Hoenstine 1-1.
PASSING: Bellefonte-Armstrong 3-16-2-39. Central-Cunningham 3-4-0-100; Benton 1-1-0-13.
RECEIVING: Bellefonte-Deitrich 1-23, Moss 1-19, Kerschner 1-(-3). Central-Moore 1-46, Forshey 1-36, Hoenstine 1-18, Helsel 1-13.
INTERCEPTIONS: Central-Moore, Quarello.