Johnstown over Pen Cambria
Written by: Doug Keklak on Saturday, August 31st, 2013
This year’s Johnstown Trojans set out to improve on their 3-7 record from a year ago. They also wished to avenge a 38-0 loss to Penn Cambria in 2012. They accomplished the latter and look well on their way to achieving the former in a 28-7 victory over Penn Cambria last night at Trojan Stadium.
Johnstown won the toss and deferred to the second half so Penn Cambria would receive the ball first. Things started off poorly for the Panthers and only got worse in that initial drive. Grant Noon’s kickoff pinned Dante Delerme deep in the corner and he fumbled with the ball, narrowly escaping a safety. This knocked the Panthers off kilter because they had two delay of game penalties in the series.
They got some breathing room advancing to the 9-yard line before punting. Mark Madula got off an excellent boot that had the Trojans start their first drive at their own 45 yard line. It took Johnstown just five plays to reach pay dirt as quarterback Jeremy Updyke scored on a sneak from one yard out. Key in that scoring drive was Updyke’s pass to Taurean Jones that accounted for 44 yards. Nate Livin’s extra point attempt was no good and it was 6-0 Trojans early.
After four consecutive three and out series by each team, the Trojans recovered a fumble just inside Penn Cambria territory at the 47 yard line. Nine plays later, on fourth-and-eight, Updyke hooked up with Trey Andrews from 20 yards out for the second Trojan touchdown of the night. Updyke then connected with Tavis Price for the two-point conversion and it was 14-0 Johnstown.
The teams traded punts with each other again and right before the end of the first half, Penn Cambria mounted their best threat to score to that point. Starting the drive on their own 7, they advanced the ball down to the Johnstown 22 before sputtering out on fourth-and-four as Chad Tsikalas’ pass fell incomplete. Despite not reaching the end zone, there were some really nice plays on the drive for the Panthers. Tsikalas hit Jake Hurley on third down to move the sticks. Then Hurley gobbled up 20 yards on a rush the very next play. Tsikalas picked up a first down on a very nice designed roll out run on third-and-eight. Two plays later Tsikalas hooked up with Mark Madula for 23 yards. Madula showed great concentration catching the pass off a deflection while on the ground. All this was for naught as the Panthers could not get on the board and the first half clock ran out after the turnover on downs.
Receiving the second half kickoff did not do much for the Trojans as they went three and out, but for the second time in the game, Noon (this time on a punt) pinned the Panthers on their own 1. Johnstown’s defense held Penn Cambria to a three and out and then a punt happened that temporarily shifted momentum in the contest.
Kevin Andrews fielded the punt and was stopped by the Panthers’ punt team and while he fumbled on the play, he was ruled down by an official. This call really seemed to fire up the Penn Cambria contingent. Two plays later, and for the second series in a row, the Trojans committed a second down false start. Following this call, there was a mix-up with the chain gang that got the PC fan base even more fired up. However, to their credit the players on the field did a great job of turning that negative energy into positive vibes as they hyped the crowd and encouraged a lot of cowbell.
After the Panther defense held, Hurley returned a punt deep into Trojan territory. The 47-yard return gave Penn Cambria their best field position of the night starting at the Johnstown 34. Madula and Tyler Strausser each ran the ball three times followed by Tsikalas scoring on third-and-goal from six yards out. Colin Shabble’s extra point was good and Penn Cambria had trimmed Johnstown’s lead to a touchdown.
Whatever momentum the Panthers gained was quickly snatched by the Trojans as it took them just two plays to extend their lead back to fourteen points. Updyke connected with Willie Robinson from 59 yards out and Livin connected on the extra point, which was backed up five yards due to a procedure penalty and with 1:17 left in the third quarter Johnstown was on top 21-7.
With their backs against the wall on the ensuing drive, Jason Grassi was forced to go for it on fourth-and-one on their own 44. A quarterback sneak was the call but senior Brad Sladki recovered a fumble and the Trojans took over on the Panthers’ 44.
The drive appeared to stall and Tony Penna, Jr. sent his field goal team out for a 34-yard attempt, but it was simply a bluff as the Trojans took the delay of game penalty. Updyke hit Robinson for the second time on the night, this one from 21 yards out. Livin’s extra point was good and the final score of Johnstown 28 Penn Cambria 7 was set.
George Haidar and Waunyai Mayo intercepted Penn Cambria passes on consecutive drives to close out the action.
Johnstown (1-0) travels to Central Cambria next week while Penn Cambria (0-1) gets Bedford for their home opener.
Penn Cambria 0 0 7 0
Johnstown 6 8 7 7
J-Jeremy Updyke 1 run (kick failed)
J-Trey Andrews 20 pass from Updyke (Tavis Price pass from Updyke)
PC-Chad Tsikalas 6 run (Colin Shabble kick)
J-Willie Robinson 59 pass from Updyke (Livin kick)
J-Robinson 21 pass from Updyke (Livin kick)
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