Central York's football team delivered a near-perfect performance in its most important game of the season on Friday night.
"That was probably the most complete game I've seen us play in a couple of years," Panthers' head coach Brad Livingston said following his team's 17-7 victory over Dallastown.
By winning the showdown of York-Adams Division I teams, Central is now the only unbeaten team in the division. The Panthers are 3-0 in league play and 6-2 overall. Dallastown fell to 2-1 and 6-2.
Central's defense held Dallastown to just 60 rushing yards -- 17 in the second half. The Panthers' offense, meanwhile, drove 80 yards to score a tie-breaking touchdown 51 seconds before halftime and dominated time of possession in the second half by running 32 plays to just 17 for the Wildcats.
"Our defense stepped up tonight," Central linebacker Donny Crabill said. "We hustled to the ball and made tackles."
Crabill made a clutch tackle with 3:46 remaining in the game to halt Dallastown's final possession of the night.
With the Wildcats facing a fourth and two at their own 47-yard line, Crabill brought down Dallastown's Rob Catchings one yard short of the first down.
"I got in there (the backfield) and stuck my arm out," Crabill said.
Central then took possession and ran out the clock.
The Panthers' struck for the first score in their Homecoming game after Elzir Stroman blocked a Dallastown punt midway through the opening quarter.
The payoff came on a 13-yard pass from Dylan Hose to Robert Romey. Hose avoided a would-be tackler and fired the ball to Romey in the left corner of the end zone.
Throwing a touchdown pass is nothing new for Hose, but catching one is something he had never done -- until Friday night.
With the score tied 7-7 and less than a minute remaining until halftime and Central at Dallastown's 9-yard line, the Panthers pulled a trick play involving Hose, Breaun Randle and Nic Strine.
Hose took the snap, handed the ball to Randle, who pitched it to Strine who in turn threw it to Hose in the right corner of the end zone.
"That was crazy," Hose said. "I was mauled by my teammates."
Zane Knaub put Central in position to score the go-ahead touchdown by hauling in a 44-yard pass from Hose.
Kyle Smith kicked the extra points following both Central touchdowns and added a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter to complete the scoring.
Smith sustained a shoulder injury while playing for the Panthers in Thursday night's York-Adams soccer title match.
"Kyle gave a courageous effort," Livingston said. "He told me prior to the game that he was OK to kick extra points and field goals. We were pretty solid in every aspect of the game tonight. I'm very happy for our kids."
Andrew Henry's 33-yard pass to Drew Romesberg in the second quarter accounted for Dallastown's touchdown.
Randle rushed for 89 yards, and Hose completed 10 of 19 passes for 113 yards.
"It feels great to win this game," Hose said. "It should give us a lot of momentum."
Central has league games remaining with Red Lion and York High.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at email@example.com.