Central Mountain Wins Battle of the Cats
Mill Hall – Using a dynamic passing assault along with a punishing ground game, a combination they have been searching for all season, the Central Mountain Wildcats defeated the Northern Tier League Champions, the Athens Wildcats, by the score of 38-19 Friday night at Malinak Stadium for their first home win of the season.
In a quickly played first half which in real time took under 55 minutes, Athens took the game’s opening kick off and put together 72 yard, nearly eight minute drive. Unfortunately for the visitors they came up empty when Troy Stivason’s 36 yard field goal attempt was no good.
The Wildcats started their first drive after the missed field goal with the ball on their own seven. Using alternating runs between Senior’s Drew Alexander, Von Walker and Blaze Buckwalter, sprinkle in an 11 yard pass completion from Walker to Cole Renninger and CM had moved the ball down to the Athens 24 as the first quarter ended 0-0.
On the first play of the second quarter, Von Walker scampered 24 yards around the left side for a touchdown. Nick Nole’s extra point was good and Central Mountain took a 7-0 lead. The drive covered 93 yards on 11 plays.
Athens bounced right back in their next possession going 80 yards in 12 plays the highlight of which was a 44 yard pass from Stivason to Ray McDougan down to the CM 10 yard line. Stivason capped off the drive with a one yard plunge and after his extra point was good, Athens tied the game at 7-7.
Athens would score again moments later when Linebacker Casey Clark intercepted an attempted Von Walker screen pass returning it 25 yards for the go ahead touchdown. A missed extra point and visitors led 13-7, and that is how a hard hitting first half of physical play would end.
The second half was perhaps what Central Mountain Coach Vinnie Kishbaugh, players and fans alike had hoped to see all season, as the Wildcats exploded for over 400 yards of total offense.
Tyler Pavalko returned the second half kick-off 98 yards to paydirt and after Nole’s successful extra point the home ‘Cats took a 14-13.
This lead would be short lived, however, as visiting ‘Cats Ray McDougan took the ensuing kick off 91 yards to the house giving the lead right back to the visitors at 19-14. Going for two, Stivason lost control of the ball and the extra point attempt was no good.
That would be it for Athens on the night as the Central Mountain offensive explosion was about to begin.
After the highlight reel start to the second half, Central Mountain went to work and scored on their next three possessions. The first a 13 play 80 yard drive which featured Drew Alexander on the ground and saw three Cole Renninger receptions from Walker totaling 69 yards, the last catch capping off the drive, a seven yard TD grab. Once again the Nole kick was good and Central Mountain retook the lead 21-19.
On the second drive of the second half CM went 88 yards this time on just eight plays. The big play of this drive a 53 yard Walker strike to Tyler Pavalko. After three Alexander runs, Walker dropped back to pass from the Athens four yard line. With the defense dropping into coverage it left a gaping hole up the middle, so Walker pulled it down and went in untouched. Nole kicked his fourth extra point of the night and the Central Mountain lead was now 28-19.
First possession of the fourth quarter of Central Mountain saw another 80 plus yard drive for a score. This time 89 yards on just five plays with Drew Alexander finding the end zone on a 60 yard TD run. Nole’s fifth extra point gave the home side a 35-19 lead.
Freshman Nole would later add the final points of the night when he converted a 37 yard field goal.
This night would see career highs in rush attempts and rushing yards for Senior Drew Alexander who finished the night with 29 carries, 218 yards and a touchdown. He also had one reception for 25 yards.
Quarterback Von Walker completed 8 of his 12 passes for 230 yards, nearly 29 yards per reception. He also ran the ball 18 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Renninger led all receivers with six catches for 127 yards and a TD. Pavalko added one catch for 53 yards and Cody Barner also had one catch for 25 yards.
On a tough night for Athens Tyler Birdsall led the Wildcats with 87 yards on the ground on 22 carries. His 87 yards put him over the 1000 yard mark and finishing the game with 1069 for the season. Athens QB Stivason, on a bit of an off night, was five for 15 through the air for 131 yards. He did toss two interceptions.
Next week the Central Mountain Wildcats will conclude their season as neighbors Jersey Shore bulldogs come into Malinak Stadium. Game time is 7pm.
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