Surge sends Dragons to 6-0 mark
ROARING SPRING — As the high school football season moves along, you could argue there is a new math being put into action, especially in the Cove, where the Central football team is piling up wins and offensive numbers. Just ask those in attendance Friday night as the Dragons defeated Penns Valley, 42-13.
Sophomore quarterback Jeff Hoenstine completed 19 of 32 passes for 286 yards, no picks and five touchdown passes en route to the team’s sixth win in as many games, which clinched the No 1 seed in the District 6 Class 3A playoffs, which begin next week.
A 14-7 game at one point quickly turned against the Rams, and in Central’s favor, during a 21-point third quarter that ballooned to 42-7 early in the final frame.
Central coach Dave Baker on Hoenstine: “Our line has blocked well. We protect him well and he has so many weapons. He really sees the field and he can really throw it.”
Sequence of the game: It wasn’t just one play but three separate things that happened in the span of 29 seconds that turned a one-score game into a rout. Up 14-7 early in the third, Central got a 25-yard pass from Hoenstine to freshman Hunter Smith. A 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty was tacked on to that to put the Dragons at the Rams’ 25. On the very next play, Hoenstine hit Eli Lingenfelter for a 25-yard touchdown pass and to make it 20-7.
Too close for comfort: Penns Valley opened the second half with a pooch kick that landed in the hands of a Central offensive lineman, who tried to run with it, but fumbled. The Rams recovered. Two plays later, Seth Baney scored on a 39-yard run to make it 14-7.
“I was uncomfortable at that point,” Baker said. “They onside kick a lot so we moved our receivers up to the front line and moved our line back. and they kicked it right there.”
“We saw that they made the switch and it worked out better than we anticipated,” Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias said.
Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice …: Penns Valley tried another onside kick right after scoring, but Central lineman Elijah Lingenfelter caught the ball and hit the deck instead of running with it.
Player of the game: Hoenstine, who continues to place the ball right on the money, or in tight windows that sophomores in high school rarely do at the scholastic level. He also has just one interception in six games. Five different receivers caught a touchdown pass from him in the game.
Unsung hero: The defense is getting lost in the video game numbers the offense is putting up for Central, but the Rams did not get their initial first down until there were 51 seconds left in the first quarter. The Rams’ first 10 pass attempts also fell incomplete, and Josh Biesinger, Demetrious Harbaugh and Smith picked off passes. Also, the Rams were stopped five times behind the line of scrimmage.
“For the most part, this was our best defensive effort,” Baker said. “We have been working on trying to cover better. Some of these offenses they have nowadays, it’s hard to cover everyone.”
Most vital statistic: Penns Valley was forced to punt eight times, including four of its first six possessions on offense. The other two times were both turnovers.
Tobias on Central’s offense: “They make plays. We did a pretty good job for one half of the game containing them, but a game is 48 minutes long, and when you have the weapons they have and the dynamic players they have, you have to play 40 minutes long. They are a challenge.”
Notable: Hoenstine is at 23 touchdown passes. The school record for a single season is owned by Noah Benton at 25, which was set in 2015. … Baney finished with 115 yards on 16 carries, but 79 of them came on two runs. … Boyles, Harbaugh and Parker Gregg combined for 14 catches and 196 yards. Gregg had the catch of the night in which he went parallel to the ground and hauled the ball in with one hand.
Records: Central (6-0), Penns Valley (1-5).
Next week: Central will host Westmont Hilltop at Hollidaysburg in the semifinals of the District 6 3A playoffs. … Penns Valley is at Huntingdon.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penns Valley 0 0 7 6 — 13
Central 7 7 21 7 — 42
C–Hoenstine 1 run (Keith kick), 5:53.
C–D. Harbaugh 33 pass from Hoenstine (Keith kick), 4:05
PV–Baney 39 run (Brinker kick), 11:09
C–E. Lingenfelter 25 pass from Hoenstine (kick failed), 10:40
C–Boyles 16 pass from Hoenstine (E. Lingenfelter pass from Hoenstine), 7:06
C–Klotz 16 pass from Hoenstine (Keith kick), 1:27
C–Gregg 10 pass from Hoenstine (Keith kick), 8:15
PV–K. Brungart 11 run (run failed), 3:12
TEAM STATISTICS C H
First downs 9 20
Rushes-yards 32-156 28-133
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 3-17-3 19-32-0
Yards passing 30 286
Total yards 186 419
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 2-20 4-35
Punts-avg. 8-35.2 3-35.0
RUSHING–Penns Valley, Brinker 2-9, Brooks 1-2, K. Brungart 6-17, R. Brungart 4-15, Ilgen 2-4 S. Ripka 1-(-6), Baney 16-115. Central, Hoenstine 8-47, Gregg 8-50, Smith 3-17, Rhule 6-21, Bettwy 1-(-2), Clark 1-2, TEAM 1-(-2).
PASSING–Penns Valley, Brinker 3-16-2-30, Lieb 0-1-1. Central, 19-32-0-286.
RECEIVING–Penns Valley, S. Ripka 1-8, Lieb 2-22. Central, Klotz 1-16, Boyles 5-65, Biesinger 1-4, Harbaugh 5-60, Gregg 4-71, Smith 2-45, E. Lingenfelter 1-25.