CRESSON - For the first half of Friday night's game against Forest Hills, Penn Cambria was able to use a bend-but-don't-break defense against the Rangers.
Forest Hills had three strong drives in the first half, but the Panthers were able to stop it each time. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they could not keep the Rangers off the board in the second half.
Forest Hills came out after halftime and put the ball in the end zone the first three times it had the ball. Penn Cambria was able to respond with a touchdown after the Rangers' first score but could not keep up against the Rangers in a 22-6 home setback.
"I give Forest Hills credit," Penn Cambria coach Jason Grassi said. "They came out and pounded and pounded us. We couldn't get off the field defensively, and they had some real long drives.
"We got in a hole and had to throw a little bit. We're not where we need to be throwing the ball, and you get into a situation where they can sit back, blitz, bring pressure and make us throw the ball quick, and that's what they did."
The Panthers opened the game with a long drive of their own. They used a 30-yard pass from Chad Tsikalas to Mark Mardula to move the ball to the Rangers' 18-yard line. However, Tsikalas's fourth-down pass was broken up by Forest Hills to turn the ball over on downs.
Forest Hills moved the ball deep into Panthers territory on its first three possessions of the first half but was not able to put up points either.
An intentional grounding penalty derailed the first drive, which ended turning the ball over on downs. A Donoughe fumble caused a big loss on the next possession, which again ended in turning the ball over on downs.
Jake Hurley intercepted Donoughe late in the half to stop the Rangers again, keeping the game scoreless at the half.
The Rangers finally broke the ice on their first drive of the second half. Shareef Blough, who led all rushers with 176 yards on 27 carries, ran in the first score of the game from five yards out. Rangers quarterback Joe Donoughe ran in the conversion to give Forest Hills an 8-0 lead.
Penn Cambria used a quick strike to cut into the lead. Four plays after Blough's touchdown run, Tsikalas hit Mardula down the sideline for a 41-yard scoring strike that cut the lead to 8-6.
However, Penn Cambria was not able to put together any other scoring drives. Its other second half possessions ended in a three and out, an interception and turned the ball over on downs.
Forest Hills got a 37-yard scoring run from Blough late in the third quarter, and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Donoughe to Dustin Ohler midway through the fourth quarter to set the final at 22-6.
"Each time we had a drive in the first half, we had a play that we lost yardage and put us in a second and long or third and long," Forest Hills coach Don Bailey said.
Forest Hills0 0 14 8 - 22
Penn Cambria0 0 6 0 - 6
FH-Blough 5 run (Donoughe run), 7:00.
PC-Mardula 41 pass from Tsikalas (pass failed), 4:34.
FH-Blough 37 run (kick blocked), 3:06.
FH-Wieczorek 5 pass from Donoughe (Ohler pass from Donoughe), 6:43.
RUSHING: Forest Hills-Blough 27-176,Donoughe 14-102, Wieczorek 7-30, Shima 5-15, Ohler 2-8, team 3-(-3). Penn Cambria-Strasser 12-38, Tsikalas 4-10, Eckenrode 1-0, Mardula 2-5.
PASSING: Forest Hills-Donoughe 5-13-1-43. Penn Cambria-Tsikalas 5-17-1-102.
RECEIVING: Forest Hills-Wieczorek 2-13, Ohler 1-11, Blough 1-10, Madison 1-9. Penn Cambria-Mardula 2-71, Delerme 1-21, Hurley 2-10.
INTERCEPTIONS: Forest Hills-Donoughe. Penn Cambria-Hurley.