Owen Prasko

Northern Cambria’s Owen Prasko stretches the ball over the goal line while being tackled by Bishop Carroll Catholic’s Declan Litzinger during their Heritage Conference game on Friday in Northern Cambria.

NORTHERN CAMBRIA – Despite several losses on the defensive line from a season ago, the Northern Cambria football team didn’t lose a step in its smashmouth style of football.

Hosting Bishop Carroll Catholic Friday night to open the season, the Colts slammed the gate shut defensively, surrendering only 49 yards of total offense in a 40-7 victory.

“We challenged our line. They had big shoes to fill,” Northern Cambria coach Sam Shutty said. “We’ve had some tremendous players come into our program over the past five years, but they’ve slowly left us. Everyone was saying how we were going to be weaker, and that’s a pride thing for our guys. I think our guys stepped up and showed that they are capable football players.”

Though it was a quieter setting than usual with only a limited number of tickets distributed, Northern Cambria (1-0) was fired up and seemed a step ahead of its opponent early.

Isaac Noll opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown burst following a strong defensive stop, and a quick turnover kept the momentum rolling.

Gavin Dumm scooped up a loose ball to put his team in positive field position, and on the ensuing play, he hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass as the Colts were up two scores just over three minutes in.

“We were ready,” Dumm said. “You’re used to coming out here and hearing the sirens and all the fans, and it was definitely different. Once the game got going, we were in it.”

Bishop Carroll (0-1) attempted to retaliate, but effective special teams play from Northern Cambria kept the Huskies pinned in their own zone.

The Huskies were victim to several negative-yardage plays and finished the first half minus-26 in total yards.

“We just could not get out of the hole,” Bishop Carroll first-year coach Bubba Fatula said. “Our backs were against our own endzone for most of the first half. That makes it tough when you’re young.”

The Huskies started to pull it together in the third. An interception from T.J. Novak set Bishop Carroll up in the red zone, and he later punched in a 1-yard touchdown to provide his team with a quick jolt.

Any comeback chance was halted just over one minute later, however, when Owen Prasko evaded two tackles on a screen pass and ran 68 yards to the house. Prasko finished the night with 15 carries and 68 yards, posting a pair of touchdowns as well.

“It was all our defense, they stepped up big for us,” Prasko said. “They really set the tempo for us. We just have a little work to do on offense.”

The Huskies produced only 12 rushing yards, with three players finishing the night with negative yardage.

Xander Dolansky solidified the final score with an 82-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.

“Our offensive line just couldn’t put it together tonight,” Bishop Carroll senior lineman Mason Beiswenger said. “We made some big plays on defense, but we just couldn’t get anything going on offense.

“We definitely have some work to do.”

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