TYRONE - Central Mountain outgained Tyrone by 140 yards, had more first downs than the Golden Eagles and the tandem of Von Walker and Drew Alexander combined to rush for 251 yards.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, most of that came in the second half after they fell down by 20 points at halftime.
Central Mountain scored 12 points in the final 2:10, but Tyrone's Ben Makdad recovered an onside kick with 39 seconds left to seal the Golden Eagles' 26-18 victory at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
"Our offensive line played probably the best half of football I've seen them play all year," Central Mountain coach Vinnie Kishbaugh said. "We stressed with them all week that we can't win football games if they aren't playing well, and they decided to come out in the second half, put their ears back and play."
The Wildcats (3-5) got the opening kickoff in the second half and drove 55 yards on eight runs by Alexander and a 12-yard pass from Walker to Alex Honetor. Alexander capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge. Central Mountain had as many first downs (three) on the drive as it did in the entire first half.
Tyrone (5-3) responded with its only significant drive of the second half , going 61 yards on 11 plays. James Oliver finished the drive with a 2-yard score of his own to make the score 26-6, but the game was far from over.
Blaze Buckwalter scored from a yard out with 2:10 to play, and Central Mountain was unable to come up with the onside kick. However, The Wildcats used a timeout, and Tyrone threw an incomplete pass that allowed Central Mountain to get the ball back with just under two minutes left.
Walker connected with Cole Renninger on a pair of long passes, the second a 29-yard scoring throw, and with 39 seconds left, Central Mountain trailed by just eight.
"I give them credit," Tyrone coach Steve Guthoff said. "They fought to the end, and they could have packed it up earlier. If you keep fighting and scratching, things are going to happen, and it did for Central Mountain tonight."
After Makdad recovered the second onside kick, Tyrone took a knee twice to run out the clock.
"We had missed opportunities and killed ourselves during the first half," Kishbaugh said. "We had some opportunities in the first half to put a score on the board, but it didn't happen. That's been the tale of the season.
"They played very well, though, and as a coach you can't ask for anything more."
The Wildcats held one of the leading rushers in central Pennsylvania, James Oliver, to 4.5 yards per carry, but he had 40 carries and finished with 183 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Oliver's biggest score, however, may have come through the air. The running back took a pitch and appeared to be stopped for a loss by Central Mountain, but he threw a pass to a wide open Charles Wilson-Adams for a 51-yard score that gave the Golden Eagles a 14-0 advantage.
"It was big for us to get a big lead early," Tyrone's James Oliver said. "We knew what we had at stake tonight, and we had to take adavantage of it. We came out in the first half and did what we needed to do."