Cambria Heights fell behind early against Bishop McCort on Friday night, but the visiting Highlanders were able to eventually overpower the Crimson Crushers with a punishing rushing attack and pull away in the second half to earn a 37-15 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference victory at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.
Cambria Heights (2-2) controlled the action after erasing a 7-0 first quarter deficit, as the Highlanders rolled up 368 of their 374 total yards on the ground.
Two backs surpassed the century mark for Cambria Heights, with Tyler Trybus pounding the rock for 177 yards and two scores on 35 carries, and Jared Fox adding 119 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
“Our offensive line played great,” Highlanders coach Jarrod Lewis said.
“We had a nice game running both inside and outside, and the backs and receivers blocked well in addition to the line.”
Cambria Heights ran 40 more offensive plays than the Crushers, and held a 34:45-13:15 advantage in time of possession.
The Crimson Crushers (1-3) were limited to just 141 total yards, with over half of that yardage coming on one first quarter scoring play.
“I was proud of our defense,” Lewis said. “They kept getting us the ball back, and really stepped up after giving up a couple big plays.”
“They (Cambria Heights) beat us in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams,” Bishop McCort coach Brian Basile said.
“We couldn’t stop them, and I take full responsibility. Give all the credit to Cambria Heights, they took it to us.”
The Crimson Crushers made the most of their early opportunities. A fumbled punt return by the Highlanders kept McCort’s second possession alive, and after an 18-yard loss on a botched exchange put the hosts in a third-and-28 situation, Will Miller hit Jake Ardary on a screen.
Ardary then took it the distance for a 76-yard touchdown, and Will Haslett added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Cambria Heights came right back with a 10-play, 73-yard drive capped off by a 16-yard quarterback keeper from Ryan Bearer.
Brett Harrison drilled the first of five extra points to knot the contest heading into the second quarter.
A 17-yard loss on a bad snap forced the Crimson Crushers to punt from their end zone early in the second, and the Highlanders’ Chris Flis came up with a momentum-shifting play by blocking the kick for a safety that put Cambria Heights up 9-7.
The Highlanders extended that lead on the ensuing possession after the free kick, as a 21-yard bolt by Fox set up Trybus’ 3-yard touchdown that put Cambria Heights up 16-7 at the 6:32 mark.
Ardary again brought the Crushers back with another big play, as he broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown run. Grant Jeanjaquet then ran in the conversion to pull Bishop McCort within a point.
Cambria Heights was pinned deep on the ensuing kickoff at their own 9, and subsequently faced a punting situation from the 18.
However, the first of three critical Bishop McCort penalties kept the drive alive as an illegal substitution gave the Highlanders a first down.
Defensive holding and a 15-yard face mask later in the series helped set up Trybus’ 2-yard touchdown run with just four seconds left in the half that made it 23-15 at the break.
The Highlanders took command in the third quarter by controlling the ball for almost eight minutes on a 14-play, 81-yard touchdown drive climaxed by Fox’s 5-yard run.
Cambria Heights converted one fourth down on the series while grinding out seven first downs.
Bishop McCort could only manage two three-and-outs and one turnover on downs after four plays the rest of the way.
Cambria Heights completed the scoring with just over five minutes left when Fox finished a nine-play drive with an 8-yard touchdown run.
“Our kids had the best week of practice all year, and it showed,” said Lewis.
The Highlanders will be at Chestnut Ridge next Friday, while the Crimson Crushers travel to Forest Hills.