Shikellamy Scores Early and Often
By BILL ALBRIGHT
EasternPAFootball Senior Writer
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the Braves had other ideas as they spoiled Central Mountain’s Homecoming with a 34-22 win.
“They came out and played well and we made some mistakes that cost us,” said Central Mountain head coach Mike Nines. “We have a young quarterback and we are asking him to do some things that he might not be ready to do, but that considered, I thought he did a fantastic job after making some adjustments later in the game.”
Shikellamy head coach Todd Tilford pointed to improvements in certain areas as a major factor in the win.
“In our last couple of losses, we hurt ourselves with some penalties when we had some positive things going,” said Tilford. “Tonight we just kind of got things rolling and the kids played smart football and as a result, beat a pretty good football team on the road.”
The Braves set the tone from the outset as Gabe Tilford went in from five yards out for the game’s first score with 5:23 left in the opening period. Dylan Snyder’s PAT made it 7-0 Braves.
Not to sit on the lead, the Braves put the next two scores on the board when Tilford scored his second touchdown on an 18-yard run before Christian Schlegel made good use of his legs with a 28-yard jaunt to pay dirt.
Snyder’s two conversions made it 21-0 Shikellamy, but the Wildcats had a little excitement for the home crowd right before halftime when Justin Neff got behind the Brave secondary and sophomore quarterback Austyn Carson hit him in stride with a 56-yard pass-and-run connection.
Carson tacked on the PAT to make the halftime score 21-7 in favor of Shikellamy.
Already up by 14 points, the Braves again went on the warpath in the third period and the first two minutes of the fourth quarter with another pair of touchdowns to all but put the game on ice.
Shawn Turber put a quick six on the board for the Braves when he returned a Central Mountain punt 75 yards for a score six minutes into the third period before Turber turned receiver a minute-and-a-half into the final period when he hauled in a 65-yard pass from Schlegel for a score.
The PAT following Turber’s second score was no good, but the Braves had opened a commanding 34-7 lead.
“We talked about the need for our seniors and guys who have played to step up and take charge,” said Tilford. “We know we lost to some really good football teams and we feel that we have a pretty good team as well. What we needed was to have the seniors play with a sense of urgency. We had a great week of practice and I think that carried over into tonight’s game.”
Now 2-4 with four games remaining, Tilford likes the enthusiasm his club is showing him and his assistants.
“Our kids are excited to come to practice and keep on playing,” he said. “We have so many young kids on the field and what they needed was to get that win under their belt. Just going into next week after a good win tonight is going to be a big thing for us.”
Forced to go with a lot of young players due to a lot of injuries, Central Mountain showed some spunk as the ‘Cats scored the final two touchdowns of the game.
“Our mentality is the next man up when someone goes down,” said Nines. “The young pups we have in there are doing a fantastic job, they really are. We just need to keep coaching them up to get them to where they need to be.”
Midway through the final period, Hunter Weaver bulled his way to paydirt form five yards out before J. J. Harris hauled in a swing pass from Carson that resulted in an 86-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown.
Thrown into the heat of battle, Carson showed a lot of savvy as he completed 14 of 25 attempts for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He is getting a lot of great game experience right now with Justin Neff still healing,” said Nines. “It is great that we have a quarterback like him to put in there to make the throws.”
The mistakes were evident and penalties once again hurt the Wildcats as they were flagged 11 times for 90 yards, a number of the infractions putting the brakes on a potential CM drive.
“I thought our return game was OK, but our kickoffs and punts hurt us,” Nines said. “They took a punt back on us for a touchdown and that really put us in a hole. We asked the defense to do a lot in the game and we didn’t help that unit much, especially early in the game.”
Shikellamy 7 14 7 6 — 34
Central Mountain 0 7 0 15 — 22
S — Gabe Tilford 5 run (Dylan Snyder kick) 5:23
S — Tilford 18 run (Snyder kick). 7:52
S — Christian Schlegel 28 run (Snyder kick). 1:57
CM — Justin Neff 56 pass from Austyn Carson. (Carson kick) :49
S — Shawn Turber 75 punt return. (Snyder kick). 9:17
S — Turber 65 pass from Schlegel (kick failed) 10:31.
CM — Hunter Weaver 5 run (Carson kick) 6:37
CM — J. J. Harris 86 pass from Carson. (H. Weaver rush). 2:27.
Team Statistics SHIK CM
First Downs 12 11
Rushes-Yards 44-212 22-51
Passing Yards 144 265
Passing 6-12-0 14-25-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-70 11-90
Shik: Gabe Tilford 16-87, 2 Tds; Shawn Turber 7-47, Christian Schlegel 5-33, Leimer Mitchell 3-17; Ethan Oakes 1-3.Joe Folk 8-10, David Munoz 2-6, Pierson White 1-5, Kobe Swanger 1-4
CM: Hunter Weaver 14-63, 1 TD; Justin Neff 4-15, J. J. Harris 1-minus 7, Austyn Carson 3-minus 20.
Shik: Christian Schlegel 6-12, 144 yards, 1 TD.
CM: Austyn Carson 14-25, 265 yards, 2 Tds, 2 interceptions.
Shik: Shawn Turber 2-73, 1 TD; Trey Cunningham 1-33, Shawn Tilford 2-30, Hunter Dodge 1-8.
CM: J. J. Harris 2-87, 1 TD; Justin Neff 5-81, 1 TD; Tyler Zablocki 3-53, Hunter Baker 3-32, Hunter Weaver 1-12.
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