SIDMAN – Something had to give Friday night when Forest Hills hosted Central Cambria, as the Red Devils went into the contest on a four-game losing streak, while the Rangers were winless in six outings on the year.
After a late Forest Hills touchdown tied the game 14-14 at the break, the Rangers carried that momentum into a strong second half where an outstanding defensive effort shut down the Red Devils and a balanced offensive attack produced a pair of scores to propel Forest Hills to a 27-14 victory.
“This is an unbelievable feeling right now,” said Rangers coach Justin Myers, who picked up the first win for his alma mater in the post-Don Bailey era. “All the credit goes to our Forest Hills kids.”
After surrendering 146 yards and two touchdowns to Central Cambria running back Dylan Long in the first half, Forest Hills held Long to just 31 yards on 14 carries in the second half.
The Red Devils managed 61 total yards in the second half, and Forest Hills forced a red-zone turnover midway through the fourth quarter with Central Cambria trailing by 6.
“We made some adjustments and changed up our scheme, and the defense really did the job in the second half,” Myers said.
Both of Central Cambria’s turnovers in the contest came in the red zone, and the Red Devils (2-5) were flagged for nine penalties totaling 94 yards.
“Mistakes and self-inflicted wounds were the story tonight,” said Central Cambria coach Shane McGregor. “We just had too many mistakes offensively and defensively.”
Damon Crawley led the Rangers with 121 yards on 28 carries and three TDs, and he got Forest Hills on the board first with a 37-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening drive. Lucas Smay added the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 7:58 mark.
The Red Devils looked poised to answer as three straight first downs on the ground moved the ball to the Ranger 8, but a fumble was recovered by Eli Kline at the 11 to end the threat.
A subsequent three-and-out gave the Red Devils good field position at their own 47, and a 33-yard bolt by Long was followed two plays later by his 6-yard touchdown run. Nolan Johnson’s PAT tied the game early in the second quarter.
Central Cambria went on top after a 13-play drive that consumed nearly seven minutes. Long carried 10 times for 54 yards on the series, including his go-ahead eight-yard touchdown that made it 14-7 with 2:06 left before the break.
The Rangers wasted little time in response, as Crawley plowed in from the 2.
Forest Hills regained the lead late in the third on a drive aided by three Red Devils penalties,
Zach Myers completed a 10-yard strike to Seth Richardson in the back of the end zone that put the Rangers up 20-14.
Myers finished 12 of 16 for 176 yards.
From there, Forest Hills not only ran time off the clock, they drove 86 yards in 11 plays to effectively seal the outcome as Crawley’s third touchdown, a 10-yard run with 1:32 left, set the eventual 27-14 final.