NORTHERN CAMBRIA — Two games, two solid running backs and two dominating wins. That’s the story of the Homer-Center football team thus far.
Mike Newhouse rushed for 115 yards, Ean Lee added 106, and the Wildcats cruised to a 34-13 win over Northern Cambria in a Heritage Conference football game Friday night at Duffy Daugherty Memorial Field in the Colts’ home opener.
Both backs ran for two touchdowns as Homer-Center’s offensive line and rushing attack ruled a game for the second straight week.
“We’re moving the ball well, and you have to give credit to everybody,” Homer-Center coach Greg Page said. “Our guys up front love running the football. They’re a good, cohesive unit. Our backs run extremely hard, and they block well for each other. When you do those things, you can control the ball a little bit, and good things will happen.”
“Whether it’s the coach or the boys or maybe a combination of both, they have running backs that just go right at you,” Northern Cambria coach Paul Taranto said. “They do nothing fancy. Their running backs, there’s no tip-toeing there. They’re hitting that hole at 100 miles per hour whether it’s there or not. High school football in the Heritage Conference, that’s what you need to do.”
The Wildcats piled up 276 yards rushing, while the Colts finished with 252 total yards. But Homer-Center’s passing game was just enough to throw off Northern Cambria’s defense. Quarterback Aaron Berezansky stayed perfect on the year, completing 4 of 4 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. He went 2 of 2 last week.
“I think the passing game is great,” the junior said. “I’m hitting all the passes that I need to. We don’t throw a lot, but I’m taking care of the opportunities that I do get to throw the ball. And that’s what we’re looking for in our passing game. We want to run and run and pop a deep pass every once in a while.”
“A lot of what we’re trying to do with throwing the ball is throwing the ball at the right time,” Page said. “And that’s not always easy because there are times we’d throw the ball and everybody knew it was coming. Overall, our pass plays were very well executed.”
With just a few seconds remaining in the first half, Berezansky hit Kolby Skultety in stride for a 40-yard pass to the Colts’ 2-yard line. Berezansky quickly spiked the ball with two-tenths of a second left, and Newhouse punched it in as time expired to put the Wildcats up by three scores at halftime.
“I thought, Let’s try this deep throw we’ve been working on, and if it doesn’t go, then the clock probably runs out, but we hit it,” Page said. “That was a big score before half, there’s no question about it. If the clock runs out and they stop us there, they have some life and go in (to halftime) down only two scores.”
“I actually did the wrong thing,” Berezansky said. “It wasn’t the play we wanted to run, but it was still a play-action pass. I made sure I made good fake, and he was the first person I saw, so I just let it go.”
The Wildcats wasted little time getting on the board. They went on a seven-play, 73-yard tear on their first possession, and Lee capped the drive with a 16-yard run. Lee then scored from 5 yards with 4:44 left in the half to put Homer-Center up14-0.
“You see what they give us with a lot of different dimensions inside, off tackle or outside, and we need that,” Page said. “We knew Lee could be good this year because we have seen some flashes of it, but he needs to continue to get better. As does Mike. He’ll be the first one to tell you that every time he gets tackled, he thinks he should’ve gone farther.”
Skultety then snagged his long reception will less than five seconds on the clock.
“He threw a really nice ball,” Skultety said of Berezansky’s 40-yarder. “He laid it out there where it was out of reach of the defensive backs, and I just went and got it.”
Newhouse scored again in the third, and Jim Bence added a 26-yard TD pass from Berezansky put the game out of reach at 34-0.
“It’s a combination of everybody,” Skultety said. “Everybody is stepping up and doing their jobs. The offense is just moving the ball great, and that makes it easier on our defense.”
Northern Cambria’s Derek Baker scored on an 11-yard pass from Suchar with 10:07 left in the game, and Nolan Paronish scored from 7 yards at the 4:43 mark. Paronish led the Colts with 79 yards on 11 carries. Suchar went 6 of 15 for 68 yards passing.
“I try not to read the papers, and I try not to get into it, but I sat down two days ago and read the paper and realized he only had three carries last week,” Taranto said of Paronish. “He has the biggest heart right now on our team, and he’s playing the hardest. He definitely deserves to have the football in his hands. He has an extra bounce in his step this year.”
The Wildcats also seem to have that bounce and already look like a driven force to fight for the Heritage Conference title. But Page said his team needs to improve a lot throughout the season.
“I didn’t feel like it was going to be (lopsided),” Page said. “They moved the ball on us at times, and they had us confounded at times. They did enough, and we knew they would to make us concerned. But we still need to keep working to get better every week. We have some big games ahead of us. We have to be a team that improves from week to week.”
Northern Cambria, on the other hand, will have to work its way up after starting the season 0-2.
“I didn’t see it going down like that,” Taranto said. “I think it’s a combination of Homer-Center is a real good football team, and I don’t think we showed up most of the first half. And that’s what happens against a good football team. You have to show up and play your best, or that’s exactly what’s going to happen to you. That’s what happened tonight. They definitely had our number.”