Tyler Trybus and the Cambria Heights Highlanders made a little bit of history on Friday night.
The senior ran for a career-high 237 yards to top the 1,000-yard mark for the season and helped the Highlanders win a game at Trojan Stadium for the first time in school history.
“We never won in this stadium, but this win was big,” Trybus said after Cambria Heights’ 34-14 victory over Greater Johnstown. “We can start thinking about the playoffs a little bit.”
Trybus hardly had time to think on Friday night, as he carried 42 times – also a career high – and scored three touchdowns for a Highlanders squad that had negative yards passing on the night.
“He’s the ultimate team guy,” Cambria Heights coach Jarrod Lewis said after his team improved to 4-3. “Whatever we need him to do, he’s able to do.”
Jared Fox ran 12 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns, as he provided the outside running to complement Trybus’ inside game.
“I think early on their plan was to take away Trybus, so we had Fox on the outside,” Lewis said. “As they moved outside, we went back to Trybus. Obviously, he’s our workhorse. He’s the guy that gets better as the game goes on.”
Fox scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter and an 11-yarder early in the second as it looked like the Highlanders might run away from a winless Greater Johnstown squad, but the Trojans (0-7) responded.
Quarterback Sammy Barber found Tyjon Jones in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull Greater Johnstown back within a touchdown.
“A mature Sammy Barber, he can do a lot of stuff for us,” Trojans coach Bruce Jordan said. “He can control the offense, almost like being a coach on the field. He knows how to distribute the football; he’s not real selfish with it.”
After Trybus’ first touchdown – a 6-yarder – extended Cambria Heights’ lead to 13, Barber got his team back in the game.
Facing a fourth-and-6 play from their 29-yard line with a little more than a minute remaining in the second quarter, Jordan elected to go for it. Barber lofted a deep ball to Anthony Reed, but a Cambria Heights defender was able to get his hands on it. The ball popped into the air and Reed caught it, then streaked down the right sideline before he was tripped up at the Highlanders’ 4-yard line. Two plays later, Barber scored on a quarterback sneak to pull his team within a touchdown with 13 seconds left in the half.
“When you’ve got that kind of confidence in your quarterback, it’s not a gutsy call,” Jordan said of his decision not to punt. “He can make some good decisions for us, and he did tonight.”
Barber completed 11 of 20 passes for 225 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Reed had two catches for 100 yards, and Jones had five for 73.
“Credit Johnstown today,” Lewis said. “They came out and played tough. I was really happy with the way our team battled. We talked about it at halftime – we’re going to face adversity and we did tonight. And we overcame it. The kids did a fantastic job tonight.”
Cambria Heights kept Greater Johnstown off the scoreboard in the second half, thanks in part to some clock-burning drives fueled by Trybus. He carried on six straight plays on a drive that ended with his 17-yard touchdown run, then carried on the successful 2-point conversion play that effectively put the game out of reach.
After the Highlanders recovered a squib kick, he carried eight more times in a row, including a 4-yard touchdown run.
Despite the loss, Jordan saw improvement from his squad.
“A lot of positives,” he said.
“We ran the ball really well. We played very well on defense. Without a couple of mistakes, it’s a different outcome.”