BELLEFONTE - Central Mountain held a three-point lead at halftime and it was anyone's game, but by the end, Von Walker and the Wildcats owned the night.
The Wildcats knew this game against Bellefonte was important and they showed it with a 50-14 victory, silencing the fans at Rogers Stadium.
And the MVP goes to...
Von Walker of Central Mountain picks up yardage Friday at Bellefonte.
Well, the entire CM squad because they all put on a show, but if one had to choose it's the usual suspect.
How's this for a night - 362 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with 143 yards passing and one touchdown.
Take a minute to add all that up.
And it comes out to 505 yards of total offense and six touchdowns, not too shabby.
"This was definitely, no doubt about it, a must-win game," Walker said. "I don't really care about my numbers, because a win like this is big for our team. You saw it in the papers that Bellefonte had more skill players, and now everyone knows the truth. That's just how we play football and that's what it's going to be like every week."
This was a record-breaking night for the senior, shattering the previous rushing mark of 267.
"He's just an unbelievable kid," CM head coach Vinnie Kishbaugh said. "Last year, when he had the chance to break the touchdown record in a game, he told me, 'coach, I don't care about the record, start getting the ball to some of the other players.' He's a very unselfish kid and he works hard."
Whenever teams game plan for Central Mountain, the name that always pops up on the opposing coaches radar first is Von Walker. For the opening kickoff, the Red Raiders decided to defer to the second half and get a nice look at what Walker decided to bring to the table for the Wildcats' first possession.
Bellefonte got what it asked for.
The first eight plays Central Mountain ran were all to Walker, either running from under center or taking a handoff. It only took Walker half of those first eight attempts to get his team on the board. In only 64 seconds, Walker ran the ball four straight times through the Red Raider defense, finishing off the 65-yard CM scoring drive with 5-yard touchdown run.
"That was very important," Kishbaugh said. "Anytime you take the ball first, it's always good for the psyche of the team to be able to put a drive together like that and score. Last week, against Mifflin County, we kind of got away from the things we were doing well and told the coaches up in the box to keep reminding me, if it's not broke, don't fix it."
Walker continued his dominance in the run game throughout the first quarter, but Bellefonte's defense started to settle in, nearing five minutes to go in the first quarter. The Red Raiders held firm and finally put CM into a passing situation at third-and-11. At this point the Raiders were doing nothing on offense and, up until forcing a third and long, were getting out-muscled at the line of scrimmage. Knowing a pass was coming, Bellefonte brought the house, sending the blitz right at Travis Turchetta.
It paid off, big time.
Turchetta couldn't get his feet set in time with the Red Raider defense hurling toward him. The junior QB's tilted release resulted in a pass that floated in the air entirely too long. Doylan Deitrich must have felt like it was his birthday, getting a gift of an interception like that.
Deitrich had his cake and ate it too, returning the interception 70 yards for the tying score.
"Oh, I think it was a huge momentum boost for us," BAHS head coach Duffy Besch said. "Von is a good ball player and we talked all week about how we have to limit his big plays. Once we got them into a third and long, Deitrich came up with the big play, and I thought we held our own in the first half."
Jordan Fye was limited in his return to the quarterback position in last week's game against P-O, but this week Besch decided to alternate Phil Fenstermacker and Fye between series. After Bellefonte recovered a fumble, it was Fye's turn and he became the spark Bellefonte's offense desperately needed. On the first play after the turnover, Fye rifled the ball down field, connecting with Nick Leiter inside the CM 20-yard line, for a 36-yard pass. The following play Fye found Leiter once again but this time it was for a touchdown from 19 yards out.
"I think he came in and did an excellent job," Besch said. "Jordan is a leader and a smart kid. So, he's been in these situations before and he's the kind of player that we can really rely on."
Now it was time for the Wildcats to go back to their bread and butter.
Wasting no time, Walker took the first offensive play after the Bellefonte TD for 52-yard score.
Central Mountain tacked on three more points of a 20-yard field goal by Nick Noll, leading the Raiders 17-14 at the half. Eye-popping is an understatement for Walker's numbers at half time. On only 16 carries, Walker accumulated 213 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
"Everyone's mindset was that we're going to come out and win this game," Walker said.
And Walker was just getting started with his big night.
In the third quarter alone, Walker accounted for three more touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air. The senior scored on runs of 41 and 26 yards. In the passing attack, Walker found Cole Renninger on a pass toward the side line and one juke later Renninger was gone for a 70-yard TD reception.
"That's what we needed and we challenged the kids at halftime to come out and make a statement," Kishbaugh said. "There, at the end of the half, their crowd is chanting 'overrated' and this team is constantly questioned and it's something that these kids take to heart and they had something to come out and prove tonight."
Walker still wasn't done.
Just 30 seconds into the final quarter, Walker had another huge touchdown run, this one for 72 yards. With that score, Walkers's night was done. The Wildcats managed to tack on one more score off a 4-yard rushing TD by Drew Alexander, putting the game at its 50-14 final.
Central Mountain really put it all together last night and proved a lot of people wrong, winning so decisively. Now, the Wildcats are back at .500 at 2-2. Next week, they'll hit the road, where the Bison of Clearfield await.