Delay doesn’t hurt Rangers
By John Hartsock
BEDFORD — Torrential, unrelenting rain and strikes of lightning forced a nearly two-hour delay in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference game between Forest Hills and Bedford at Bison Stadium Friday night.
The game was stopped with 4:47 left in the first quarter and resumed an hour and 53 minutes later, after the skies had finally cleared.
For Forest Hills, the wait was well worthwhile.
The Rangers came out of the locker room and rolled up 362 total yards of offense en route to a 34-14 victory. Forest Hills senior quarterback Adam Cecere completed 12 of 17 passes for 226 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown throw to senior wideout Forrest Wolfhope in the fourth quarter.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Cecere also rushed for a pair of 1-yard second-quarter touchdowns as Forest Hills evened its overall and conference record at 1-1.
“It took a long time to win this game tonight,” said veteran Forest Hills coach Don Bailey, who said that he’d never witnessed such a long weather delay in a game in his 44 seasons as the Rangers coach. ‘There was consideration given to postponing the game until (Saturday), but both teams wanted to play the game tonight.
“We had a pretty good blend of running and passing tonight,” said Bailey, whose team rebounded from last week’s 28-12 season-opening loss to Chestnut Ridge. “We executed a lot better than last week. Last week, we couldn’t run the ball at all. Our offense was clicking on both cylinders tonight.”
Forest Hills opened the scoring after the players returned to the field just after 9 p.m., with senior running back Anthony Zangaglia bursting off right tackle down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown run with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
Zangaglia, who rushed for 77 yards on 7 carries, motored down the soggy field in fine fashion to get Forest Hills off on the right foot.
“It was still a little slick, I couldn’t plant as well as I had hoped,” Zangaglia said of the field conditions after the long delay. “But it wasn’t as bad as a lot of us thought it would be. Once we were told we’d be coming back out, we all got hyped up, and we showed that we could play.”
Forest Hills built a 20-0 lead by halftime. The Rangers covered 82 yards in 10 plays in the second quarter, with Cecere’s 48-yard pass to senior wideout Jake Shope the key play in the drive. Cecere finished off the march by busting off left tackle on a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:55 left in the first half.
Forest Hills covered 50 yards in eight plays on its next possession, with Cecere burrowing in from 1 yard out for his second touchdown of the night with 1:03 left in the first half. Wolfhope caught a 2-point conversion pass from Cecere to give Forest Hills the 20-0 spread at intermission.
Bedford dropped to 1-1 overall and in the conference, and its coach, Kevin Steele, was not happy with his team’s performance.
“They kicked our tails in all three phases of the game tonight,” Steele said. “Our defense gave up big plays all night long, and our offense couldn’t move the chains. They responded, and we didn’t.”
Bedford got on the board with 4:38 left in the third quarter when senior flanker Zach Price ran 5 yards for a touchdown and also caught a 2-point conversion pass from Mercury Swaim.
But Forest Hills answered that when Cecere found Wolfhope behind the Bedford secondary in the right-hand corner of the end zone and hit him with the 40-yard touchdown pass with 7:11 left in the game to put the Rangers ahead, 27-8.
Bedford scored its second touchdown of the night when senior fullback Dylan Arnold, who rushed for 141 yards on 23 carries, ran 7 yards for a score with 4:13 left in the game.
Forest Hills tacked on the final touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run by freshman Damon Crawley with just 85 seconds remaining on the clock.
“Bedford is a good team,” Bailey said. “We knew they weren’t going to give up after being down, 20-0. We knew that we would have to keep scoring.”
Bedford hosts Bishop McCort next Friday night, while Forest Hills visits Richland.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Forest Hills 6 14 0 14 — 34
Bedford 0 0 8 6 — 14
FH–Zangaglia 60 run (pass failed), 2:11.
FH–Cecere 1 run (pass failed), 4:55.
FH–Cecere 1 run (Wolfhope pass from Cecere), 1:03.
B–Price 5 run (Price pass from Swaim), 4:38.
FH–Wolfhope 40 pass from Cecere (Fyock kick), 7:11.
B–Arnold 7 run (pass failed), 4:13.
FH–Crawley 1 run (Fyock kick), 1:25.
TEAM STATISTICS FH B
First downs 15 20
Total yards 362 273
Rushes-yards 28-136 49-248
Yards passing 226 25
Pass (comp.-att.-int.) 12-17-0 1-7-1
Punts-avg. 2-35.5 2-34
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 7-80 3-22
RUSHING–Forest HIlls, Zangaglia 7-77, Fyock 9-29, Crawley 4-14, Cecere 6-13, Shope 1-2, Wolfhope 1-1. Bedford, Arnold 23-141, Ressler 15-44, Washington 5-25, Cook 3-23, Price 3-15.
PASSING–Forest Hills, Cecere 12-17-0-226. Bedford, Ressler 1-7-1-25.
RECEIVING–Forest Hills, Shope 6-100, Wolfhope 5-99, Richardson 1-27. Bedford, Swaim 1-25.