Jays rout Lehighton
BLOOMSBURG – Senior-laden and battle-tested.
Tom McCarroll could have pulled up the tape and seen his 2017 Lehighton squad.
Those Indians fought through an undefeated regular season and made it to a district championship game.
McCarroll saw the same characteristics on the other sideline Friday night.
A Central Columbia team loaded with veteran talent that made a deep postseason run a year ago toppled Lehighton 42-7 in a non-league game.
“They’re a very physical team, and they’re a very experienced team, and you could tell,” said McCarroll. “We’ve been on the other side of that. That’s reality, and we know how that goes.
“But we’re gonna bounce back, I really believe that. We’ve got a good group of kids. The kids are feeling down a little bit, but I don’t’ think they’re really feeling sorry for themselves.”
The Blue Jays (2-1), who returned a quarterback that passed for over 1,500 yards and tailback that rushed for nearly 1,400, showed poise on both sides of the ball.
Central Columbia senior Trae Devlin threw for 102 yards and two scores, while running back Isaac Gensemer rushed 19 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns.
“It’s tough, in terms of, you can tell they are experienced,” said McCarroll. “We’ve been on that other side, where, the more experienced you tend to be – and they had success last year. They were 9-3, and two of their losses were to (state champion) Southern Columbia. So you look at that, and you give them a ton of credit.
“You hope that with all of the younger, and newer kids we have, that they’re gonna build from that, because we’re trying to build the experience that they have. It’s just a matter of trying to coach the kids up.”
The Indians (1-2) cut the Blue Jays lead to 20-7 in the second quarter when Chris Whiteman hit Ben Schatz, who made a fingertip grab, for a 16-yard score to cap a 60-yard drive.
Central Columbia answered with a 69-yard scoring drive that ended with Devlin hitting Zander Bradley for a 36-yard score.
After starting the ensuing drive at their on 6-yard line, Whiteman was sacked in the end zone on the first play from scrimmage for a safety to make it 28-7 heading into halftime.
Gensemer scored on the Blue Jays’ first two drives of the second half – from eight and 24 yards out – to put the mercy rule into effect with 7:54 remaining in the third quarter.
“It could be one of those opportunities where you kind of throw the film away … to a degree,” said McCarroll. “And just try to put it in the past, and let’s build moving forward, because we’ve got a couple of rivalry-type games – Panther Valley, Marian – then we get into our division, so we don’t really have time to lick our wounds.
“We were challenged last week, but the fact that we had some success, and we were so close, it had a different feel. Tonight was one of those games, where, they just kicked us in the teeth. There weren’t as many positives tonight as there were last week, so now this is really going to challenge their character and their intestinal fortitude.”
UP NEXT …. Lehighton travels to Marian next Friday.
BREAKING AWAY … Jacob Reifer took a 71-yard punt return to the house for Central Columbia early in the second quarter to make it 20-0.