Long runs do in Mtn. Lions
There’s an old sports adage that speed kills. If they didn’t know before, the Altoona Mountain Lions and an elementary night crowd witnessed it first hand Friday night at Mansion Park.
Central Dauphin East running back Bryce Baker ripped off three touchdown runs of over 70 yards and left several Altoona defenders sprawling on the turf as the Panthers raced past the Lions, 35-19, in a Mid-Penn Conference Commonwealth Division game.
“Big plays. Big plays,” disappointed Altoona coach Vince Nedimyer Jr. said, shaking his head. “That’s what we’ve been fighting.
“We’ve got to tackle in space and we know what we’re up against. We know these teams have some speed and big-play ability, but we’ve got to rally and get more than one guy to the ball.”
Altoona stopped East’s first two running plays, but the Panthers scored on the third play — a 70-yard pass-run from QB Zavia Flickinger to Shawn Brown.
The Panthers scored twice in the second quarter — a 49-yard run by Brown and a 70-yard run by Baker — to make it 21-0 at the half.
The Lions finally got some offense in the fourth quarter. QB Marcus Day scored on a 3-yard run and then teamed with Nick Petucci on a 25-yard TD pass.
That cut the deficit to 21-13 with 6:49 left, but one play after the ensuing kickoff, Baker escaped several would-be tacklers and streaked 77 yards to paydirt. Altoona then went 3-and-out and East sealed the win when Baker was off to the races again, this time for 89 yards.
“We didn’t do anything different defensively,” Nedimyer said. “We were bringing pressure and they just creased us. When you’ve got a kid that runs like Baker, not many people in the state are going to catch him when he’s in the open.
“But, we didn’t do anything offensively until the fourth quarter, so we’ve got to get better on that side of the ball, too.
“We’ve got to be accountable. It’s not going to be from lack of effort. We have to get better.”
Play of the game: After Altoona pulled to within 21-13 with 6:49 remaining, CD East’s Bryce Baker broke a 77-yard touchdown run.
Player of the game: Baker had TD runs of 70, 77 and 89 and finished with 269 yards on 13 carries.
Unsung hero: Day rushed for 122 yards and passed for 268 in a losing effort.
Most deceiving statistic: Altoona had a 17-8 edge in first downs.
CD East coach Aaron Blanding: “(Baker’s) got the speed. When he hits the hole … he’s a north-south guy … he doesn’t make a lot of cuts. The line opened it up, he only needs a split second and he’s out.
“This is always a tough place to play. The crowd gets into it no matter what their record is and it’s a neat atmosphere for the kids to see.”
Baker: “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my linemen and the support of my teammates on the sideline.
“When I saw the holes, I just ran.”
Notable: Altoona senior Matt Streightiff was injured with nine seconds left in the half and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. … A 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior, Baker runs the 100, 200 and 4×100 for the CD East track team. …Altoona’s honorary captain was Joe Eckels. Eckels has been president of the Big A Booster Club since 1992 and was recently named Blair-Bedford Labor Council Person of the Year. He’s an Altoona alum, class of 1964.
Records: CD East (2-3), Altoona (1-4).
Next week: CD East hosts State College next Friday; Altoona hosts Carlisle.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Dauphin East 7 14 0 14 — 35
Altoona 0 0 0 19 — 19
CDE–Brown 70 pass from Flickinger (Baker kick), 10:24.
CDE–Brown 49 run (Flores kick), 9:46.
CDE–Baker 70 run (Flores kick), 4:19.
A–Day 3 run (kick failed), 10:44.
A–Petucci 25 pass from Day (Eisel kick), 6:49.
CDE–Baker 77 run (Flores kick), 6:24.
CDE–Baker 89 run (Flores kick), 4:50.
A–Day 7 run (kick failed), 1:50.
TEAM STATISTICS CDE A
First downs 8 17
Total yards 428 399
Rushes-yards 24-329 44-131
Yards passing 99 268
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 6-15-1 11-28-2
Punts-avg. 3-37 5-29
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-50 5-45
RUSHING–CD East, Baker 13-269, Brown 2-55, Flickinger 3-7, Fallings 1-2, Scott 1-1, Krebs 1-0, Thompson 1-(-5). Altoona, Day 21-122, Stroup 10-28, Pinkston 5-2, Franklin 1-1, TEAM 1-(-9), Dokes 6 (-13).
PASSING–CD East, Flickinger 6-15-1-99. Altoona, Day 11-28-2-268.
RECEIVING–CD East, Brown 2-70, Baker 2-15, Wallace 2-14. Altoona, Robinson 6-130, Pheasant 2-71, Clouser 1-30, Petucci 1-25, Murray 1-12.