T-D HS Football

Central singes Forest Hills

By: Cory Isenberg

ROARING SPRING — Forest Hills led 14-13 just before halftime in Saturday night’s District 6 Class AA semifinal against Central.
But on the ensuing kickoff, the Scarlet Dragons’ Bradi Moore returned the ball 75 yards for a score and Central never looked back scoring 43 unanswered points in the second half in a 62-14 thrashing of the Rangers at Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
Central advances to Friday’s championship game at Mansion Park opposite top-seeded Richland, which defeated Tyrone on Friday.
“We kept making mistake after mistake and letting them put points up and it just snowballed,” Forest HIllls coach Don Bailey said. “We just kept going downhill
“They have a good football team and we worked our rearends just off to get here. We had an upset last week and I thought we had a shot again tonight. We played a good first half and then we just self-destructed the second half. We just didn’t tackle tonight and we didn’t tackle well all season.”
For a while in the first half, it looked as though Forest Hills junior quarterback Joe Donoughe was going to mirror the success he had passing the ball like he did last year against the Scarlet Dragons when the Rangers surprised them in the first round of the playoffs.
“We tried (to pass the ball) because we thought that was what we were going to have to be able to do,” Bailey said. “We’re just not as good as we were last year.”
Donoughe was 14 of 31 for 167 yards. Quinn DiFlauro was the top receiver with six catches for 69 yards.
Central (10-2) scored on its second drive of the first quarter, moving 45 yards on five plays with Austin Cunningham scoring from the 1. Zach Slagenweit added the kick for a 7-0 Scarlet Dragons lead at the 1:02 mark.
Forest Hills (7-5) answered right back with a 12-play drive, aided by a defensive holding call on Central which extended the Rangers drive.
Donoughe scored from the 2 and Jeff Leach added the extra point to even the game at 7 at the 9:10 mark of the second.
The Scarlet Dragons responded by moving 62 yards on seven plays with Cunningham extending the drive on a busted play, which ended up making 26 yards.
Bradi Moore scored from the 2 to return the lead to the Dragons.
A fumble recovered by Dustin Ohler led to the Rangers next score which came at the end of a 57-yard drive with Donoughe making throws to Shareef Blough and DiFlauro.
Ian Wieczorek (eight carries for 46 yards) dashed in from the 2 for the touchdown and Leach added the extra point to put the Rangers  ahead 14-13.
But on the kickoff return, Eric Ayres lateraled the ball to Moore, who rumbled 75 yards for the score to give Central a 19-14 advantage, which it carried into the half and the Scarlet Dragons never looked back.
“They seemed to have guys there that just didn’t tackle Bradi on that return,” Central coach Dave Baker said. “They made some mistakes that contributed to it, some things that are not characteristic of them and they had trouble running the ball on a consistent basis.”
Cunningham threw for two more touchdowns to Moore and Frederick. Moore, Austin Conrath and Matt Price all rushed for Central scores in the second half. Cunningham rushed for 120 yards and Moore, 66.
Forest Hills played without seven starters, who were injured throughout the course of the season.
“Our kids played with a lot of heart and resiliency all year long,” Bailey said. “When you have that many quality players on the sideline, you struggle, but our kids hung in there and played hard all season and we were able to make the playoffs.”