ROARING SPRING — Dave Baker isnt surprised when Austin Cunningham and Bradi Moore take over football games.
The Central coach has seen both of his standout offensive players make defenses look silly in practice sessions and on game nights for the past two seasons. While Cunningham and Moore lived up to their reputations on Friday combining for 388 yards of total offense it was the Scarlet Dragon defense that took the game over.
The Scarlet Dragons (4-1) kept a Bald Eagle Area (4-1) offense that had averaged nearly 30 points in four wins out of the end zone in a 34-0 triumph at Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
I guess you have to say we dominated them, Baker said. Our defensive line played well and we did not get pushed back.
The Dragons forced a first-quarter fumble in addition to nine BEA punts and allowed just three first downs to the Eagles offense the entire night. Up front, the Central defensive line occupied BEAs offensive linemen for much of the night, freeing up the Dragons linebacking corps to make tackle after tackle.
Central held BEAs shifty one-two punch of Dakota Bartley and Dion Barnard to just 52 yards on 12 carries. Barnard suffered a leg injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.
The Eagles misdirection runs were rendered ineffective as Central linebackers Zac Emerick and Todd Slick were free to chase down BEA running backs from the backside for much of the game.
Bartley managed a 17-yard run in the second half but before that averaged under three yards per carry.
Up front offensively, I thought we did well, but we werent getting to the second level, getting on their backers, BEA coach Jack Tobias said. I thought their backers did a great job filling.
And the Central offense, consistently explosive for the second-straight week, took advantage of the aggressive defensive play that regained possession time and time again.
The Dragons scored on big plays for each one of their touchdowns. Moore was the recipient of a 30-yard pass from Cunningham to start the scoring on Centrals first drive. After catching a quick pass on a comeback route, Moore spun away from Bryan Greene and then slipped through Bartleys tackle attempt and raced to the end zone to complete the 30-yard score.
After both offenses failed to capitalize on turnovers the Eagles lost possession on a botched pitch attempt before the Dragons fumbled into the BEA end zone one yard from a score on the next drive Emerick sacked BEA quarterback Cole Long to force BEAs first punt of the game.
Five plays later, Cunningham hit a crossing Adam Frederick, who stiff-armed a BEA defender and was off for a 20-yard touchdown to give Central a 14-0 lead.
The teams alternated punts before Central mounted a late first-half drive that ended when a Cunningham heave to the end zone on first-and-goal was intercepted by Dylan Womer. The BEA defensive back was injured on the play and did not return to the game, however.
But the Eagles offense went backwards from its own 20-yard line and a punt gave the Dragons possession at their own 41. From there, Cunningham worked from the pocket. He completed three of four passes and capped the drive with a 22-yard floater to Moore to give Central a 21-0 halftime lead.
While the Dragons opted to score through the air in the first half, they turned the corners in the second.
Moore, who finished with 248 offensive yards on 21 touches, scored on runs of 20 and 60 yards in the fourth quarter to conclude the scoring.
(Central) getting to the corner was a big part, Tobias said. We couldnt get stops on the edge is what killed us.
The Dragons held BEA to just 70 rushing yards on 29 carries while gaining 404 on 48 tries of their own. Cunningham finished with completed six of his 12 throws for 109 yards.
The season started out with great expectations and we still have those expectations, Tobias said. All the goals these guys set for themselves, theyre still able to be achieved.
Well get back to practice, take care of our assignments, weve got to buckle down with what were doing. Weve got to make sure were working on our blocking and getting into the second level.
Travis Johnson can be reached at 231-4629. Follow him on Twitter @traviswjohnson_