PATTON, Pa. – Cambria Heights played against type on Friday night against Penns Manor, but the outcome was still the same.
The usually methodical Highlanders unleashed more players than Ryan Haluska and broke out the big plays a week ahead of their Heritage Conference showdown at River Valley, pasting the visiting Comets, 49-12, to move to 7-0 overall in high school football action.
“It was great,” said junior receiver Tanner Trybus, who scored on a 40-yard run and a 75-yard pass in the first half for the Highlanders.
“We have trust in all of our players. With our line, our quarterback and our team’s chemistry, we just work great together.”
Cambria Heights scored 35 points in the second quarter to break open the contest after a more-competitive-than-anticipated first quarter against the Comets, who fell to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in the Heritage Conference. The exclamation point came when Ty Stockley reared back and unloaded a deep pass to Trybus, who caught it a little over midfield and outsprinted a defensive back to the home-side pylon with 33.6 seconds left in the first half to make it 41-6.
The Highlanders improved to 6-0 in conference play. It was their fourth mercy-rule win this season.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best ball yet,” said Stockley, who passed for 88 yards and rushed for another 60. “We knew, from the last two weeks, that we wanted to get more guys involved.”
Haluska, who entered the game with 125 carries for 673 yards, scored a pair of touchdowns, but his 53 yards on five carries against Penns Manor was only fifth-best on the team, as Cambria Heights rolled up 456 yards in total offense. Tanner Hite needed only four carries to lead the Highlanders with 79 yards on the ground, picking his way and breaking a tackle on a 57-yard touchdown burst at 5:55 of the second quarter.
“That’s the first one, seven games in. It was good to get a big run in, that’s for sure,” Hite said. “I think it was great that we changed up the game plan a little bit, spread the guys out, went five wide and showed them something a little bit different.”
Four different Cambria Heights players scored in the first 18 minutes and 5 seconds, all on plays covering 12 yards or more. Hite blocked a punt that Haluska recovered at the 11. Haluska ran it into the end zone on the next play.
On Cambria Heights’ next possession, Trybus caught Stockley’s bomb with less than a minute to go in the second quarter, bringing the running clock into effect in the second half.
The Highlanders had 336 yards by the intermission. Hite, Stockley, Trybus and Haluska each had more than 50 yards on the ground over the first two quarters.
“I’ve been saying all along that we’ve got a lot of good athletes we need to get the ball to and I think we did a good job of that tonight,” Highlanders coach Jarrod Lewis said.
Surprisingly, Cambria Heights only led 7-6 heading after one quarter. After Stockley’s 12-yard scamper capped off a 10-play opening drive, Penns Manor answered with a 10-play march of its own.
Ashton Courvina cut against the grain after taking a read-option handoff from Justin Marshall – who was in at quarterback after Comet starter Max Hill had been injured a couple of plays earlier – and racing 18 yards to paydirt.
The point-after kick was blocked, though, and Cambria Heights maintained the lead.
“That’ll be a great game between (Cambria Heights) and River Valley,” Penns Manor coach Bill Packer said. “If I could be there, I’d like to see that.”