Barons hold on to beat the Bucks
By: JOHN CRAWFORD Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Looking to bounce back from a tough 22-0 loss to Lampeter-Strasburg one week earlier, Manheim Central turned its focus toward the annual rivalry against Conestoga Valley.
Then the Barons were forced to wait an extra day when dark and stormy weather postponed their game Friday in Witmer.
But the delay didn’t affect them, as quarterback Caleb Walton scored a pair of touchdowns and Manheim Central defeated the Buckskins 16-9 on a bright and windy afternoon.
"It’s hard with this wind, but it wasn’t as much of a factor as we thought it would be," coach Mike Williams said. "Still, what a beautiful day."
The Barons seemed ready to blow through the Buckskins’ defense as they opened the game with a 12-play, 78-yard drive that culminated with Caleb Walton scoring on a two-yard run. The lead remained at 6-0 when the extra point attempt failed.
The Buckskins also seemed ready to score early when they used the rest of the first quarter to drive 70 yards to the Central 12-yard line. On third-and-six, the Barons stopped the Buckskins’ Anthony Brown, who would go over the 1,000 yard mark during the game, for a two-yard gain. CV went for the field goal, but Robbie Cardina’s 28-yard attempt went wide right.
That was the closest the Buckskins would get to the goal line for most of the game, but the Barons would only add a Bryant Myer 23-yard field goal to extend the lead to 9-0 before the end of the first half.
Perhaps the game’s most pivotal plays occurred early in the third quarter after CV received the second half kickoff. On third-and five from his own 25-yard line, Conestoga Valley QB Ryan Brooks dropped back to pass and hit Derek Herr in the open along the sideline. The play looked certain to put CV in the game until Brenden Wagner ran down Herr at the 36-yard line.
"I saw he did a post move and our corner and our safety missed the tackle," Wagner said. "I just took off after him and I thought I would catch him but I saw the one guy and thought he would block me."
Instead, the Baron junior ran past him to save a touchdown. On the next play, Wagner’s tackle paid further dividends when Brooks went back to pass, but the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and went right to Manheim Central junior linebacker Austin Garner.
"I saw Chris Lynn’s hand go up and he tipped it," Garner recalled. "It just landed in my gut. It came right to me."
"That (the interception) is a big play," said Williams. "On defense, it’s the type of play you have to make. That was one of them."
The pick set up the Baron offense at its 36-yard line and they proceeded to run off a long drive. Junior Justin Greene, who ran for 93 yards in the game, saved the drive from stalling early when the Barons opted not to kick on fourth-and-one at midfield. Taking the handoff, he was hit in the backfield, yet spun to gain four yards and the first down.
Ten plays later, Walton finished the drive with a one-yard run to extend the Barons’ lead to 16-0.
The teams traded possessions without scoring until Brown scored the home team’s lone touchdown with 2:25 left in the game, barreling in for a two-yard TD run.
The Barons had a chance to run out the clock after they recovered the onside kick, but were not able to get a first down. The Buckskins had one last attempt with six seconds left, but Brooks’ pass fell incomplete.
Williams seemed pleased that his squad held CV’s offense to six points only one week after the Buckskins scored 40 points in a 42-40 loss to Solanco. But like most coaches, he found areas to improve.
"The defense played well except for the letdown near the end," said Williams. "We talked to the kids at the end of the game about how we had the chance to put the game away with some good defense. Then there at the end when we had to get that first down to ice the game, we didn’t make the play." More MC FOOTBALL, page B-7