Central's firepower too much for Westmont Hilltop

·4 min read

Oct. 24—JOHNSTOWN — Central's explosive offense had too much firepower for Westmont Hilltop to handle on Saturday afternoon as the Scarlet Dragons' playmakers helped their squad remain unbeaten and clinch the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship after putting up big numbers in a 48-7 win over the Hilltoppers at Trojan Stadium.

Quarterback Jeff Hoenstine completed 13 of 21 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns, while six different Scarlet Dragon ball carriers combined for 113 rushing yards and three more scores for Central (9-0).

"We try to be balanced offensively, both passing and running, and today we were," Scarlet Dragons coach Dave Baker said.

Defensively, Central kept Westmont Hilltop's ground game in check, as the Hilltoppers were limited to 118 rushing yards and 141 total yards on the day. The Scarlet Dragons also stopped the Hilltoppers on downs four times, with three of those coming in Westmont Hilltop territory to create short-field scoring opportunities.

"We worked hard against what they do well," Baker said. "You better stop them, because if you don't, they'll possess the ball and get first down after first down."

Westmont Hilltop fell to 3-6.

"I'm proud of our kids coming to work today and battling, but they were much better than us today," Hilltopper coach Pat Barron said. "We've got to correct our mistakes and get back to work."

Hoenstine got the Scarlet Dragons off to a quick start, completing three passes for 37 yards on the game's opening drive. A 15-yard scoring strike to Parker Gregg followed by Hunter Smith's PAT made it 7-0 at the 9:44 mark.

The Hilltoppers looked to answer on their initial series. A 14-yard run and 12-yard reception by Madox Muto followed by a Central personal foul penalty moved the ball into Scarlet Dragons territory. However, the drive stalled after two short gains and an incompletion, and Landon Glover's 37-yard field goal try sailed wide left.

Central then moved 80 yards in nine plays, Hoenstine ran for gains of 15 and 11 yards, with Smith also rumbling for 17 yards to help set up Josh Biesinger's 9-yard touchdown run in the final seconds of the first quarter.

Westmont Hilltop proceeded to control the ball for 13 plays over the next six and a half minutes, picking up three first downs on the ground, but the threat was turned away when Konlee Mastovich was thrown for a loss on fourth down at the Central 41.

On the ensuing series, a pair of penalties and a sack pushed the Scarlet Dragons back to their own 26, where they faced a third-and-39. Hoenstine rolled to his right and threw deep, where Eli Lingenfelter made a catch in coverage. Lingenfelter then eluded a couple of tackles and scored on an incredible 74-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 with 2:45 left in the half.

"You can't give up a third-and-39 for a touchdown," said Barron. "That just can't happen."

The Hilltoppers were stuffed on fourth-and-1 at their own 34 on the ensuing possession with 51 seconds remaining in the half, and consecutive completions by Hoenstine of 17 yards to Lingenfelter and 14 yards to Gregg produced a first-and-goal. After Hoenstine was sacked by Nate Perrin and a subsequent incompletion, Hoenstine connected with Gregg on a 9-yard touchdown as time ran out. Averey Black's extra point put the Scarlet Dragons up 28-0 at the break.

Westmont Hilltop broke the ice to open the third period after starting in Central territory thanks to a personal foul penalty on the kickoff return. A subsequent pass interference infraction put the ball in the red zone, and the Hilltoppers later converted on fourth down when Eli Thomas hit Brayden Dean for a 7-yard score. Sabrina Zimmerman's extra point closed the gap to 21.

It took the Scarlet Dragons just four plays to counter, as completions of 26 yards to Gregg and 27 yards to Lingenfelter set up Gregg's 4-yard touchdown run.

Lingenfelter caught a 37-yard pass on third-and-35 late in the third quarter prior to Hoenstine's 6-yard touchdown toss to Ethan Eicher to open the fourth, and Kade Rhule's 24-yard scoring run with just over three minutes left set the eventual final.

The teams will close the regular season Friday with Central hosting Somerset, while Westmont will face Bishop McCort at Sargent's Stadium at the Point.

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