Central starts fast in victory
BELLEFONTE – In Central’s three previous trips to Bellefonte, strange things happened.
Two years ago, a heavy fog enveloped the field, making it impossible to see the other side of the field. Four years ago, the game was called at halftime because of a lightning storm. Six year ago, a blown transformer knocked out the power in the first quarter and forced the game to be played the next day.
Nothing odd happened Friday night. Just more domination by the Scarlet Dragons with the use of its quarterback rotation of Noah Benton and Mike Mock, who led the offense to four first-quarter touchdowns, and a stingy defense in a 41-7 mercy-rule romp in Bellefonte’s homecoming game.
“We just keep using different guys when we need to,” Central coach Dave Baker said. “One of them throws down the field pretty good, and the other one runs the option better.”
“They’ve done that the whole year,” Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning said. “Sometimes they’ve used three different guys on the same series. It’s hard to defend. You wonder which great athlete are they going to put back there next?”
Benton was nearly unstoppable, completing 7-of-8 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and 8-of-10 for 191 yards and four TDs in the game.
“He made some strong throws,” Baker said, “and he ran away from the rush pretty well.”
Mock did his damage on the ground, rushing for 51 yards on five carries and scoring a TD and catching a 52-yarder from Benton for a score.
Had Benton gone the entire way, the score would have been much worse. Manning was thankful that the rotation, which also utilized Alex Hoenstine at the end of the first half, was used.
“A lot of that was them helping us out,” Manning said.
It wasn’t much help for the Red Raiders in the first quarter. The 6-2 Dragons, who finished with 205 yards rushing and 202 yards passing, scored on the first play of the game after Justin Helsel returned the kickoff 42 yards to the Raider 45. Benton slipped dropping back to pass, caught himself and fired a pass to Helsel near the Central sideline, and he went the rest of the way 24 seconds into the game.
On the eighth play of the next series, Benton threw a 52-yard scoring strike to Mock. On the fourth play of Central’s next series, Mock scored on a 4-yard run with 2:58 left in the quarter.
The Raiders used their own QB rotation, but it was far less effective. Mark Armstrong relieved Chase Gardner after Mock’s TD, and Hoenstine picked him on the first play of the series, returning the pick 36 yards to the Raider 24. Two plays later, Benton hit Damon Langer for a 20-yard TD pass.
“We wanted to get both of them reps,” Manning said of his QBs. “We just haven’t had anybody nail it down for us.”
Armstrong threw much better after the pick. In fact, he led the Raiders (2-6) on an 18-play drive to the Central 1, but a penalty, a stop for no gain on a run and two incompletions kept the Dragons’ shutout intact.
A Benton 23-yard TD pass and a Hoenstine 10-yard TD run following a Kaleb Weyant fumble recovery put the mercy rule into effect in the third. The Raiders scored with 4:05 left against the Central reserves.
“We’re not satisfied with 6-2,” Baker said, “and we’re trying to get better. We lost to two very good teams (Tyrone and Chestnut Ridge), and we’d like to get to a place where we can beat those kind of teams.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central27 0 14 0 – 41
Bellefonte………………. 0 0 0 7 – 7
C-Helsel 45 pass from Benton (Muthler kick), 11:36.
C-M. Mock 52 pass from Benton (Muthler kick), 7:17.
C-M. Mock 4 run (kick failed), 2:58.
C-Langer 20 pass from Benton (Muthler kick), 1:47.
C-Helsel 23 pass from Benton (Muthler kick), 5:28.
C-A. Hoenstine 10 run (Muthler kick), 5:08.
B-Danneker 3 run (Feldman kick), 4:05.
RUSHING: Central-A. Hoenstine 7-61, M. Mock 5-51, B. Mock 3-30, Benton 3-26, Helsel 3-25, Smith 2-8, Weyant 1-5, Langer 1-0, N. Hoenstine 2-(-1). Bellefonte-Kephart 11-48, Kutches 3-17, Kreger 5-7, Jabco 6-6, Gardner 6-4, Danneker 1-3, Armstrong 1-(-6).
PASSING: Central-Benton 8-10-0-191, Mock 1-3-0-11, A. Hoenstine 0-1-0-0, McKnight 0-1-0-0. Bellefonte-Armstrong 8-15-1-73, Gardner 2-4-0-24.
RECEIVING: Central-Helsel 3-72, M. Mock 1-52, A. Hoenstine 2-51, Langer 1-20, Knepp 1-8, N. Hoenstine 1-(-1). Bellefonte-Moss 5-66, Kreger 4-20, Jabco 1-11.
INTERCEPTIONS: Central-A. Hoenstine. Bellefonte-none.