Dragons give full effort
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Undefeated Central boasts a high-powered, multi-talented offensive unit.
On Friday night, the Scarlet Dragons’ defense shared the spotlight as well.
With sophomore quarterback Jeff Hoenstine completing 14 of 20 passes for 144 yards and running for three touchdowns on rushes of 73, 14 and 2 yards, and Central’s defensive unit pitching a shutout until very late in the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Dragons defeated Westmont Hilltop, 25-7, in a District 6 Class 3A semifinal playoff game at Hollidaysburg’s Tiger Stadium.
The victory earned Central (7-0) a spot in next Saturday’s district championship game at Mansion Park against the winner of tonight’s Penn Cambria at Tyrone semifinal game.
Play(s) of the game: Offensively, junior running back Parker Gregg set the tone for Central with a 35-yard second-quarter touchdown run up the middle of the field to open the game’s scoring. Hoenstine showed off his electric speed by breaking off his 73-yard touchdown run down the right sideline with 7:10 left in the game to give Central a 25-0 lead. Defensively, the Scarlet Dragons’ interior line stopped Westmont short of the sticks on a fourth-and-3 running play at the Central 42 with 4:15 left in the third quarter and the Dragons holding a slim 12-0 lead. Westmont had driven 51 yards from its own 1-yard line after recovering a fumble.
Player of the game: Along with his passing exploits, Hoenstine also rushed for 78 yards on nine carries.
Unsung hero(es): Central’s defense kept Westmont under wraps most of the night, save for the late 60-yard fourth-quarter scoring drive that was capped off by a 10-yard run off left end by senior back Roy Dunn with 2:24 left in the game.
Most vital statistic: Just as it has all season, Central showed off impressive balance offensively, amassing 339 total yards, with 195 coming on the ground and 144 through the air.
Central coach Dave Baker: “Our kids played really hard — they played a solid game against a team that was really competitive. It was a close game. We had to work for everything.”
Westmont Hilltop coach Pat Barron: “Central is a really good team that is well-coached and has a lot of good weapons. But I’m proud of the way that our guys battled.”
Hoenstine: “We’ve been working really hard all year, and this team is really coming together with each passing week. But the job isn’t done. We’re going to try to get a district championship next week.”
Central senior outside linebacker Hunter Cox: “Our defense played outstanding against a hard (offense) to prepare for. Everybody played tremendous and did their jobs. I couldn’t be more happy.”
Notable: Ahead, 6-0, Central drove 53 yards on 11 plays late in the second quarter, with Hoenstine’s 2-yard off-tackle scoring run providing the finish … A blocked punt by Central senior Branson Dodson that was recovered by senior Hunter Klotz at the Westmont 14 early in the fourth quarter paved the way for Hoenstine’s 14-yard touchdown run and an 18-0 Central lead … Senior Demetrious Harbaugh intercepted a pass and junior Josh Biesinger recovered a fumble for Central, while senior Mitchell Corcoran intercepted a pass and sophomore Gavin Hockenberry recovered a fumble for Westmont … Harbaugh blocked Westmont senior kicker David Assad’s 43-yard field goal attempt right before halftime. Hoenstine picked up the deflection at the Central 6 and ran it all the way back for a touchdown, but the score was nullified by an illegal block charged to the Dragons … Six different players caught at least one pass for Central, with sophomore Eli Lingenfelter snaring a game-high five receptions for 52 yards … Westmont averaged less than 7 yards on its three punts, including the one that was blocked.
Records: Westmont Hilltop (2-4); Central (7-0).
Next Saturday: Central plays the winner of tonight’s Penn Cambria at Tyrone semifinal for the District 6 Class 3A championship next Saturday at Mansion Park. Westmont is scheduled to host Bishop McCort in a regular-season game next Saturday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Westmont Hilltop 0 0 0 7 — 7
Central 0 12 0 13 — 25
C–Gregg 35 run (kick failed), 9:07.
C–Hoenstine 2 run (pass failed), 2:25.
C–Hoenstine 14 run (pass failed), 11:26.
C–Hoenstine 73 run (Keith kick), 7:10.
WH–Dunn 12 run (Assad kick), 2:24.
TEAM STATISTICS WH C
First downs 13 19
Total yards 230 339
Rushes-yards 43-214 25-195
Yards passing 16 144
Passing (comp.-att.-int). 2-4-1 14-20-1
Punts-avg. 3-6.3 1-41
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-1
Penalties-yards 5-45 5-40
RUSHING: Westmont Hilltop–Holbay 18-94, Muto 11-69, Dunn 11-43, Ray 2-5, Hockenberry 1-3. Central–Hoenstine 9-78, Rhule 7-60, Gregg 8-54, Harbaugh 1-3.
PASSING: Westmont Hilltop–Ray 2-4-1-16. Central–Hoenstine 14-20-1-144.
RECEIVING: Westmont Hilltop–Holbay 2-16. Central–Lingenfelter 5-52, Klotz 4-44, Gregg 2-13, Eicher 1-22, Harbaugh 1-7, Boyles 1-6.