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In its second game of the season, Central York High got its first test in a road game at Cumberland Valley. ROB ROSE, @robrosesports

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Sometimes, the best way for a team to learn how to win close games is to lose them first. 

That’s the silver lining that Central York High coach Josh Oswalt took away from the Panthers’ 13-12 loss at Cumberland Valley on Friday night. 

A week after Central York (1-1) opened the season with a 60-0 victory over West York, Oswalt said the tough loss will humble his talented young team and force them to fix the mistakes that resulted in the loss to Cumberland Valley (2-0).

“Honestly, now we have their attention,” Oswalt said. “Last week, that was the worst football I’ve ever seen. We played poorly and won by 60. You tell the kids that and they don’t ever freaking listen. (The players say) ‘Oh, we won by 60, we’re good.’”

Needed another stop: Despite turning the ball over five times and committing enough penalties for both teams, Central York held a 12-6 lead with under three minutes remaining after a 5-yard touchdown run by senior running back Brendan Harris. 

On the ensuing extra-point attempt, sophomore quarterback Beau Pribula didn’t handle the snap cleanly and tried to roll out and complete a pass, but failed to do so. 

That left the Eagles with a chance to win the game on a touchdown and successful extra point. 

Cumberland Valley, known as a primarily run-based offense, needed a two-minute drill to win the game against a Central York defense that had performed well despite being put into tough situations after turnovers all night. 

Instead of running the ball, junior quarterback Alex Kovach attacked the Panthers through the air. Within a minute, Kovach had the Eagles in the red zone and needed one more pass to put his team ahead. 

After an illegal shift backed Cumberland Valley to the 25 yard line, Kovach hit senior wide receiver Logan Ramper for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Ramper bounced off Panthers defenders to tie the game. 

“I am proud of our defense, our defense was working hard,” Oswalt said. “Here’s the deal — we watched film on them not being able to throw the ball and they gave us a two-minute drill and freaking threw it down the field. Honestly, they caught us off guard there. That’s tough. We gotta know at the end of the game when we have the points in our favor, we’ve gotta close the deal, we’ve gotta seal it.” 

Senior kicker Timothy Kissinger drilled the extra point and put the Eagles up, 13-12. 

Too many turnovers: Central York had one final chance with two timeouts and 1:10 on the clock, but their final drive ended like so many others on Friday night — with a turnover. 

Pribula found himself needing to pick up yards and needed to do so quickly. In his second start, the sophomore will two NCAA Division I offers struggled to hold onto the ball. 

The quarterback had five turnovers in the game — three interceptions and three fumbles (two recovered by Cumberland Valley) — and was 8 for 19 for 109 yards. 

On the final drive, Pribula tried to connect with senior Mason Myers over the middle, but had his pass intercepted by Ramper, who dropped to a knee to seal the victory after making the play.

“Beau is young, he’ll learn from this,” Oswalt said. “He’ll only grow and get better. I thought he played pretty well and rebounded from some poor situations. At times, I felt like he was trying to do too much. Those are things that we’ll learn from. He’s got a great supporting cast that he just needs to be able to utilize.” 

A learning experience: The Panthers had chances to take control of the game in the first half, but penalties and turnovers killed any momentum they tried to build.

Junior wide receiver/safety Taylor Wright-Rawls intercepted the ball on a failed extra point attempt and returned it for a score in the second quarter, only to see the play called back for an illegal block. 

 A fumble on the goal line by Pribula that was ruled a touchback cost Central York an early lead as well. 

For Oswalt, there’s a lot for his young, talented team to learn from in this loss. Although, he wasn’t happy with the result, he was proud of the effort his team showed against a talented Eagles team. 

“We didn’t clam up, our guys stepped up in big situations,” Oswalt said. “It’s just, we’re young. At the end of the day, we’re young and we did not score the ball in key situations.”

Cumberland Valley 6 0 0 7 - 13

Central York 0 3 0 9 - 12

Scoring Plays

First Quarter

CV - Timothy Kissinger field goal

CV - Timothy Kissinger field goal

Second Quarter

CY - Nick Basile field goal

Fourth Quarter

CY - Nick Basile field goal

CY - Brendan Harris 5-yard touchdown run (extra point snap fumbled)

CV - Alex Kovach 25-yard touchdown pass to Logan Ramper (Kissinger kick)

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.

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