Sack and setback
Starting on its own 20, Central Columbia’s offense started to mount what looked to be a big drive. Down by just eight points, the Blue Jays needed a score late in the fourth quarter against a dominant South Williamsport team.
On a 2nd-and-10, Central Columbia quarterback Aaron Farver dropped back and was hoping to hit a receiver downfield. But the Mounties’ pressure collapsed the pocket. Farver quickly looked to scramble and make a play, but Ashton Martin was all over it.
Martin sacked Farver, but more importantly, jarred the ball loose as Ben Johnson fell on it. And like that, the fire in Central Columbia was all but put out.
South Williamsport took the ensuing drive eight plays, including converting a huge 4th-and-inches, to score a touchdown and go ahead by 15, putting the game away en route to a 35-20 win at Rodney K. Morgans Stadium in South Williamsport.
“It really took pressure off whole game, but our defense really stepped up. We knew we had to step it up that drive, we knew we had to have a big play or something and Ashton really came up with that play and Ben Johnson recovered the fumble,” South Williamsport’s Gideon Green said. “Our confidence went sky high and we knew we were going to win the game at that point.”
The touchdown drive deflated the Blue Jays, as Central Columbia’s next drive lasted just five plays before being turned over on downs with 17 seconds to play.
Midway through the third quarter, Farver had an 8-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Smith that made it a 21-20 deficit for the Blue Jays. But as quick as the Blue Jays scored, the Mounties answered. The Mounties went 79 yards on 11 plays, all but one of those plays was a run by Green.
Green was a workhorse on Friday night, accounting for 228 rushing yards on 40 carries and four of South Williamsport’s five touchdowns.
“Besides the one series where we stalled, they just took over. We pretty much kept going outside, inside and back and forth and tried to mix it up,” South Williamsport coach Chris Eiswerth said. “They came to play tonight. I don’t think we had one play for a loss. (Central) gave us multiple defenses every play and kids are adapting well. Come off the ball and Martin and Green run downhill. It’s not exciting, but it’s effective, you know?”
South Williamsport’s offensive line was solid throughout the night, continuing to open up holes for Green or Martin to run through as the duo combined for 246 on the ground. Green averaged nearly six yards per carry.
“He’s a kid that gets stronger as the game goes on,” Eiswerth said of Green.
“Our line really maintained their dominance throughout the whole game from the first play on. We just went right at time, tried to physically dominate them on both sides of the ball,” Green said. “We kept coming at them. They kept getting tired and (we) kept moving the ball (and) grinding like we call it.”
The Mounties had success in the red zone as well, going 3 for 4 on trips. South Williamsport got the ball on the 16 with 16 seconds to play and took a knee in their final red zone trip.
Central Columbia had success passing on Friday using two quarterbacks as Farver ended 9 for 13 for 109 yards and two touchdown passes and Trae Devlin was 6 for 10 for 57 passing yards and a score.
However the Blue Jays did struggle moving the ball at times, as they were just 2 for 10 on third down conversions. Aside from its three scoring drives of nine, eight and 11 plays, respectively, Central Columbia only had one other drive that lasted at least six plays.
“Randy Boone called a great game. Sending some timing blitzes. They’re hitting their marks,” Eiswerth said of their defense. “Some of those instances we couldn’t get pressure because they were going empty (backfield), but we tried to do a little bit of stuff. But they’re talented, they throw the ball extremely well (and) they have a lot of athletes. It’s a great win for the program.”
After a two-play scoring drive opened the game for South Williamsport in which A.J. Flick hit Aaron Guerrisky for a 51-yard touchdown, Central Columbia responded with a scoring drive of its own, going nine plays before Aaron Farver had a 26-yard touchdown to make it a 7-6 deficit.
Green scored twice in the second quarter to put the Mounties ahead, 21-6, before a late touchdown pass by Devlin with 48 seconds to play made it a 21-12 deficit at halftime. Green also had 114 yards by halftime.
Farver hit Smith for an 8-yard pass midway through the fourth quarter that made it 21-20.