Windber scored on five straight first-half possessions Saturday afternoon to build a commanding lead and capture a 48-0 victory at Conemaugh Valley.
The Ramblers (4-3) controlled the action from the start against the Blue Jays (0-7), as freshman running back John Shuster rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, while quarterback Aiden Gray completed 6 of 8 passes for 93 yards and a pair of scores.
“We did what we had to do today,” said Windber coach Matt Grohal. “Our offense, defense, and special teams all played well, and it was a good day for us coming off a tough loss last week.”
Nine Windber ball carriers combined for 256 rushing yards, as the Ramblers outgained the Blue Jays 362-108 in total offense.
“We wanted to spread the ball around a bit so teams just can’t key on Shuster,” said Grohal.
The depleted Blue Jays finished the game with just 13 healthy players, as the final two quarters were shortened to 8 minutes each with Windber holding a 34-0 lead at the break.
“Credit Windber’s offensive and defensive lines, they just controlled the game,” Conemaugh Valley assistant coach Randy Toth said. “We had trouble blocking them, and even if we could get in a good position, we were just outmanned.”
Shuster capped off Windber’s opening drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, and the first of six Evan Custer extra points made it 7-0 at the 5:25 mark of the first.
Windber later took over on downs at the Blue Jay 44, and four plays later James Shearman found running room down the sideline on a 17-yard scoring dash.
A 32-yard bolt by Conemaugh Valley’s Logan Kent and a subsequent Windber pass interference penalty put the Blue Jays in Windber territory with a chance to get back in the game early in the second, but the Ramblers again stopped the Blue Jays on downs. A 20-yard Shearman run keyed the ensuing Windber drive, which was finished by Shuster’s 3-yard touchdown run.
After a Blue Jays three-and-out series, a fair-catch interference call against Conemaugh Valley gave Windber great field position at the Blue Jays’ 39, and on the next play Gray found tight end Dylan Napora wide open over the middle, and he rumbled in for a score to make it 28-0 with just over five minutes left in the half.
The Blue Jays then put together their best drive of the day, as an 18-yard Kent run and a 16-yard toss from Kent to Noah Heltzel moved Conemaugh Valley to the Rambler 17. However, Custer picked off Kent at the goal line with just over a minute remaining.
Following Custer’s interception return to the Windber 17, a 34-yard Shuster run and a pair of Gray completions helped set up Gray’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Custer on the final play of the first half.
Shuster’s 1-yard score finished an 11-play, 67-yard drive to open the abbreviated third quarter, and Ethan Brady’s 8-yard touchdown run early in the fourth set the eventual final.