VIDEO: Central York head coach Josh Oswalt discusses his team’s 44-7 win over Division I foe Northeastern. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
MANCHESTER — Central York’s offense is mostly known for its passing attack.
And for good reason. Cade Pribula, a University of Delaware commit, is one of the best passers to ever come through the York-Adams League – if not the best.
While Pribula threw for 311 yards to his talented, young receiving corps against Northeastern Friday night, it was the Panthers’ rushing attack that finished the job in the red zone.
Central totaled five rushing scores from four different ball carries in the Panthers’ 44-7 win over Northeastern.
“I feel like they were prepared for our pass game, so they didn’t really work for our run game because it really hasn’t been shown,” said senior running back Hunter Werner, who ran for two of the five scores.
Central head coach Josh Oswalt agreed with Werner, adding that Northeastern’s stats coming into the game were worse against the run.
“We’re going to go into each week, and we’re going to attack what the defense allows,” Oswalt said. “Their numbers were glaringly weak against the run, compared to their pass. … You have to be able to defend all of the different threats we put on the field.”
Oswalt said Northeastern beating Red Lion, the team that handed Central it’s lone loss, motivated his team.
“We knew (Northeastern) was good. They’ve earned their right to be where they’re at. They beat a team (Red Lion) that we didn’t beat,” Oswalt said. “That helped us remained focus all week. That’s something we can keep reminding them of. … We continue to use that (loss) as fuel.”
Key defensive stops: Northeastern’s first drive was a microcosm of how the game would turn out for the Bobcats (4-4, 3-2).
The offense slowly drove downfield in 14 plays, only to turn the ball over on downs after a botched snap/hold on a 25-yard field goal attempt.
Northeastern ran 79 plays compared to Central’s 29 – more than two-and-a-half times the amount of plays on offense. Each time the Bobcats got into Central territory, though, the Panthers’ bend-but-don’t-break defense would force a stop. The Bobcats turned the ball over five times in Central territory – once on a fumble and four times on downs.
“This is by far the most potent offense scheme-wise that we’ve seen to this point,” Oswalt said. “They run 40 different formations, multiple plays, inside (and) outside zone, jet sweeps, different counters off it, quarterback reads. That’s a high-level offense for a high school to run, and they run it really well. … We knew we would have to come up with those plays, and our guys did it tonight.”
Panthers start fast: Pribula, who completed 14 of 19 passes for 295 yards, one touchdown and one interception, connected with Taylor Wright-Rawls for a 47-yard pass to set up a 22-yard rushing score by Werner.
A Northeastern kickoff returner bobbled the kickoff and was tackled on the Bobcats’ 5-yard line to start the next drive. The Panthers then stopped Northeastern quarterback Zech Sanderson in the end zone for the safety and a 9-0 lead.
“When you get to these games (late) in the season, the special teams needs to be working,” Oswalt said. “Our special teams, I think, was lights out tonight. We didn’t make any of those big mistakes on special teams like they did. We were then able to capitalize on defense after putting them in a safety position.”
Four plays later, the Panthers took a 16-0 first-quarter lead on Pribula’s 2-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper. Pribula’s 62-yard pass to Saahir Cornelius, who scored five touchdowns in Central’s win over New Oxford Spring Grove, put the Panthers in the red zone.
Northeastern’s lone score in the game came early in the second quarter. Manny Capo, who rushed for 106 yards on 26 carries, scored from 1 yard out on fourth-and-goal.
Second quarter scores: The Panthers scored on each of their next two drives in four and five plays, respectively.
A 52-yard completion from Pribula to Wright-Rawls, who caught six passes for 152 yards, set up a 1-yard rushing score from Ian McNaughton, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pound offensive lineman and linebacker.
“That’s his third touchdown this year,” Oswalt said. “He was a tight end last year, and we transitioned him to guard. He’s perfect for our heavy package, because he’s is a good blocker, he has hands and he’s athletic.”
Pribula’s lone touchdown pass of the night came with 1:16 left in the first half. After completing his first four passes of the drive, Pribula threw a deep ball to his younger brother, freshman wideout Beau Pribula, for the 43-yard touchdown. The score put the Panthers up 30-7 at halftime.
Second-half scores: As Northeastern’s offense continued to drive into Central territory and not score in the second half, Central scored two more touchdowns to put the game away.
The first was a 3-yard rushing score by Werner, who totaled 55 yards on 11 touches, with three seconds left in the third quarter.
After a Northeastern fumble on Central’s 5-yard line, backup running back Will Van-Dyke weaved through the Bobcats’ defense and followed several excellent blocks for a 95-yard rushing touchdown.
D-I outlook: The win keeps Central York alive for at least a share of the Division I title. The Panthers (7-1, 4-1) are in a four-way tie with York High, Red Lion and Dallastown. If the Panthers win their next two games against Dallastown and York High, they will either share the title with Red Lion or win it outright.
“We know Dallastown and York High are really good,” Pribula said. “We’re not going to mess around in practice. We had a big win against Cumberland Valley, and we were able to come back and beat Hempfield. Even though we are a young team, no one is really a young team in Week Eight.”
Heading into Central’s last two games, Werner is confident the Panthers can come out with the D-I title.
“I definitely think we can do it,” he said. “Our mindset right now is to win one (at a time). We’re doing everything that the coaches are asking. We have the athleticism and the playmakers I think we can do it. I know we can do it.”
Quotable: Werner on how the passing attack and rushing attack feed off each other:
“I think it opens up a lot of opportunities. When they’re starting to lock down on the passes, we run the ball. When they’re locking down on the run, we pass it. It opens up opportunities for all of us on the offense.”
Oswalt on Wright-Rawls, the Panthers’ leading receiver as a sophomore:
“Those guys, Taylor (included), had to commit. Taylor couldn’t just show up once or twice a week throughout the summer. He was here six times a week in the summer. He committed to it. I told him, ‘You can be the dude, but you have to commit to it.’ It’s not pee-wee football anymore. You can’t just be the biggest, you have to go be the bully on the field. You have to be bigger, stronger and know the system. We’re still getting better with him. He’s still nowhere near his potential.”
Central York 16 14 7 7 — 44
Northeastern 0 7 0 0 — 7
Central: Hunter Werner 22-yard run (Nick Basile kick), 4:40 (CY 7, NE 0)
Central: Ian McNaughton 1-yard run (Basile kick), 8:11 (CY 23, NE 7)
Central: Will Van-Dyke 95-yard run (Basile kick), 6:42 (CY 44, NE 7)
Total offense: 447 yards (295 passing, 152 rushing)
Sacks: 3 for 34 yards
Cade Pribula: 14-19 passing, 311 yards, TD, INT; 4 carries, 12 yards, TD
Hunter Werner: 8 carries, 44 yards, 2 TDs; 3 receptions, 11 yards
Taylor Wright-Rawls: 6 receptions, 152 yards
Saahir Cornelius: 2 receptions, 76 yards
Reid Hershner: 2 receptions, 29 yards
Beau Pribula: 1 reception, 43 yards, TD
Ian McNaughton: 1 carry, 1 yard, TD
Will Van-Dyke: 1 carry, 95 yards, TD
Total offense: 290 yards (152 passing, 138 rushing)
Sacks: 2 for 10 yards
Zech Sanderson: 13-23 passing, 124 yards; 9 carries, -18 yards (sacked twice for -29 yards)
Manny Capo: 26 carries, 106 yards, TD
Kyle Williams: 8 carries, 44 yards
Jordan Lagana: 5 receptions, 45 yards
Robby Elzinga: 6 receptions, 57 yards
Cawon Chatman: 3 receptions, 30 yards
Eric Davenport: 1 reception, 18 yards
Samir Freeland: 2 carries, 12 yards
Dakota Neiman: 1 carry, 3 yards
Nathan Toomey: 2-4 passing, 28 yards; 3 carries, -9 yards (sacked once for -5 yards)
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at email@example.com