Central’s balance too much for Hilltoppers
By Paul Buriak
For the Mirror
JOHNSTOWN — Central clinched the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference title and remained unbeaten Saturday afternoon, thanks to a dynamic offense that showed it could score from anywhere on the field at any time in a 48-7 victory over Westmont Hilltop.
The Scarlet Dragons’ array of talented skill position players put up outstanding numbers, and that plethora of big plays was complemented by a defensive effort that bottled up the Hilltoppers’ ball-control rushing attack and stopped Westmont Hilltop on downs four times.
Play of the game: Late in the second quarter, after a sack and a pair of penalties, the Scarlet Dragons faced a third-and-39 at their own 26. Central’s Jeff Hoenstine rolled out to his right and threw deep into coverage where receiver Eli Lingenfelter made a contested grab in Westmont territory. Lingenfelter then eluded a couple of tacklers and not only converted the first down, he took it the distance for an incredible 74-yard touchdown that made it 21-0 with 2:48 left in the half.
“Eli was making unreal plays out there,” Hoenstine said. “I have all the trust in the world for him to go up and make a play.”
“I give credit to Jeff,” Lingenfelter said. “He trusts me, so if he sees me down there with some defenders, he’ll still throw it to me and I’ll go make a play.”
Players of the game: Hoenstine completed 13 of 21 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns, with Lingenfelter catching five for 164 yards.
Hoenstine: “It was an all-around great team effort. Both sides of the ball, we were playing hard, getting after it, and making plays.”
Unsung hero: Central’s Parker Gregg made an impact in both the running and passing game for the Dragons. The senior rushed for 32 yards and a touchdown on four carries, while he also caught 5 passes for 77 yards and a pair of scores.
Most vital statistic: Central outgained Westmont Hilltop 390-131 in total yardage.
Central coach Dave Baker: “We worked hard against what they (Westmont) do well. You better stop them, if you don’t, they’ll possess the ball and get first down after first down.”
Westmont Hilltop coach Pat Barron: “I’m proud of our kids for coming to work and battling, but they were much better than us today.”
Notable: Central scored as time ran out in the first half when Hoenstine tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Gregg. Five different Dragon receivers caught passes, and three different ball carriers rushed for Central touchdowns. In addition to the third-and-39 conversion, Lingenfelter made a juggling catch of 37 yards on a fourth-and-35 play in the second half to set up a touchdown pass to Ethan Eicher. Neither team punted in the entire game.
Records: Central (9-0), Westmont Hilltop (3-6)
Next week: Central hosts Somerset. Westmont travels to Bishop McCort.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central 14 14 7 13–48
Westmont Hilltop 0 0 7 0–7
C–Gregg 15 pass from Hoenstine (Smith kick), 9:44.
C–Biesinger 8 run (Smith kick), 0:44.
C–Lingenfelter 74 pass from Hoenstine (Smith kick), 2:48.
C–Gregg 9 pass from Hoenstine (Black kick), 0:00.
WH–Dean 7 pass from Thomas (Zimmerman kick), 7:24.
C–Gregg 4 run (Smith kick), 5:33.
C–Eicher 6 pass from Hoenstine (Black kick), 11:54.
C–Rhule 24 run (kick failed), 3:02.
TEAM STATISTICS C WH
First downs 18 10
Total Net Yards 390 131
Rushes-yards 20-113 42-108
Passing 277 23
Comp-Att-Int 13-21-0 4-8-0
Punts 0-0.0 0-0.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 8-70 1-5
RUSHING–Central, Gregg 4-32, Smith 4-34, Hoenstine 7-minus 3, .Biesinger 1-8, Rhule 3-32, Fisher 1-10. Westmont Hilltop, Dean 12-35, Mastovich 14-28, Muto 4-20, Valente 3-17, Wilks 4-5, Havener 2-1, Radovanic 1-0, Ingram 1-3, Weis 1-minus 1.
PASSING–Central, Hoenstine 13-21-0-277. Westmont Hilltop, Thomas 4-8-0-23.
RECEIVING–Central, Gregg 5-77, Lingenfelter 5-164, Metzger 1-12, Biesinger 1-18, Eicher 1-6. Westmont Hilltop, Muto 1-12, Panebianco 2-4, Dean 1-7.