T-D HS Football

Northern Cambria hammers United

By: Shawn Curtis

NORTHERN CAMBRIA — When the Northern Cambria Colts scored during Friday’s 53-7 victory over the United Lions, they made a splash almost every time they took the ball across the goal-line.
In its eight touchdowns, Northern Cambria averaged 41.25 yards per scoring play, that’s with a pair of defensive scores that covered a combined 123 yards. The big plays were just what the Colts needed after stumbling to an 0-2 start in Heritage Conference play.
“(United is) a big, strong team,” Colts coach Paul Taranto said. “They’re big up front. We knew they’d be tough up the middle. We watched on film that teams got to the edge on them and that’s where we hoped to beat them (Friday). We got some big plays and hopefully we can can keep going and get a little momentum for next week.” 
For United, the score indicated a blowout but masked the progress that the program is making under coach Lance Holupka.
“There’s improvement,” Holupka said. “It doesn’t look like it by the score, but there is improvement.”
Six United turnovers also aided the Colts’ cause, with the Lions’ second turnover setting the table for Northern Cambria to strike first on a 40-yard drive. After Nolan Paronish gashed the Lions for 22 yards, quarterback Dartagnan Suchar scampered in from 18 yards away.
The Lions (0-3) pushed back, taking the ball inside the Colts’ 5 on the 14-play possession, cut down when United quarterback Weylon McGeary was tracked down by Paronish on a fourth-and-goal bootleg.
It took just two snaps for the Colts to cover 96 yards. The first even lost a yard before Suchar raced around the corner on his way to a 97-yard touchdown run to end the first quarter.
“That’s all (Suchar) right there,” Taranto explained. “That play was designed to go right, he cut back to the left and just made a play. That’s one of the things he can do for you at quarterback; he can turn nothing into something. Heck of a job by him tonight.”
A Lions’ three-and-out – grouped with poor field position and a personal-foul flag following a punt – put Northern Cambria at the United 20 to start what became a five-play drive capped by Suchar’s 2-yard run. Another three-and-out led to Northern Cambria’s Derek Baker (5-for-6 on point-after kicks) rolling past the Lions defense on his way to a 78-yard rushing score.
“We were in position to make plays,” Holupka said. “(Suchar) busts a 97-yarder and we had him in the backfield. (Baker) on this side, we had him in the backfield. So as far as the scheme and buying into the scheme, I believe that we do that. It’s just that the execution – as far as once we get there, making the play – is not getting done. We have kids in position ... Now we just gotta clean it up and finish the play.” 
Paronish reeled in a 17-yard pass from Suchar to run the Colts’ lead to 33-0 early in the third. United replied with a nine-play 78-yard march, finished off by Tyler Mack’s 27-yard run. Mack led the Lions with with 102 yards on 14 carries while Tyler Oliver ran for 53 yards.
Back-to-back turnovers on the game’s next two plays led to Northern Cambria expanding its lead as Josh Prasko jumped in front of a Jesse Beacker pass at the Colts’ 27, returning the pick 73 yards. Another United interception – this one by Suchar – set up a prompt 25-yard drive that ended when Joe Frontino burrowed in from a yard away.
Frontino was part of a Colts rushing attack that saw three rushers go for over 80 yards with Suchar’s 113 yards topping the trio with Baker rushing for 83 and Frontino toting the ball for 82 yards.
A Lions fumble at midfield was scooped by Brad Mikitko and returned 50 yards to the end zone for the Colts’ second defensive touchdown.
“We stressed that this week, getting turnovers,” Taranto said. “We got a few in the first half. United struggles a little bit, some of that I hope was our pressure too. Our defensive backs stepped up, that’s great. They played a little rough early in the season.”
Northern Cambria travels to Blairsville next week while United visits Penns Manor.