EBENSBURG – Central Cambria opened the 100th season of Red Devils football in impressive fashion with a 54-7 victory over visiting Greater Johnstown on Friday night.
“We wanted to control the line of scrimmage, it comes from there,” Central Cambria coach Shane McGregor said. “Our big boys up front were fantastic. We had some hard runners, we rotated a stable of backs in the backfield, and when it came time to make plays, we made them.”
The rotation of running backs really helped keep the pressure on the Trojans’ defensive line and linebackers. The combination of Dylan Long and Hobbs Dill produced 125 of the 155 total rushing yards by the Red Devils. The duo also combined to score three touchdowns, with Long scoring from 19 yards and Dill posting TD runs of 10 and 3 yards.
And when the running backs were not presenting problems to the Trojans defense, senior Red Devils quarterback Carter Seymour sprinkled in his own efforts, going a perfect 4-for-4 in the passing game, with two touchdowns.
“Great team win,” McGregor said. “Dylan Long was fantastic. He was our running back/linebacker. He played a heck of a game.
“Our special teams showed up in a big way,” the Red Devils coach added. “We hadn’t produced a big-time special teams game-changing play in I don’t remember how long. We had a punt return and a muffed snap for a return as well. Great complementary football.”
Luca Tsikalas had a 75-yard punt return for a score, and Everitt Fryer recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
First-year Greater Johnstown head coach Bruce Jordan said his team had difficulty handling the pressure put on by the Central Cambria offense.
“When you play a football game like they did, and they were very well prepared, we’ve got to be able to respond to that,” Jordan said. “We did not do a very good job responding to that tonight, so we have to get back and regroup and make sure that we can.”
Greater Johnstown hopes to bounce back after going 0-10 last season. The Trojans still are seeking their first victory since November 2017.
Long set the tone early after Greater Johnstown stalled on its first possession. The Red Devils back took a handoff and broke past an initial defender, and plowed his way through one last Trojan at the goal-line to open up the 2019 scoring books.
The Trojans offense appeared to have something going during their second drive of the game. Johnstown moved the ball into Red Devil’s territory. But after a pass break up and an incompletion by quarterback Sammy Barber, the Trojans coughed up the ball for the second of three turnovers on the day.
Two of the Trojans three turnovers led to points for Central Cambria.
“If you have three turnovers in any game, that’s a killer, no matter who you are playing, so you can’t beat yourself,” Jordan said.
Barber completed 8 of 16 passes for 144 yards. Freshman Tavione Thomas ran for 75 yards on two carries.
Jordan was still able to find some positives in the loss. He praised his young team, especially after scoring on a long run late in the fourth quarter,
“That’s what I love. Our young guys came in and a lot of folks may think that’s cleanup time, but our young guys came out, continued to play hard and that was the result,” Jordan said of Thomas’ 74-yard score.
For Greater Johnstown, the losing streak continues as the Trojans have dropped 12 straight contests dating back to 2017.
Central Cambria ended its nine-game losing streak. The Red Devils fell behind Greater Johnstown 19-0 in last season’s opener and then bounced back with 27 straight points to post the team’s lone win in 2018.