Dragons choke BG in opening thriller | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo for the Mirror by Chuck Meyers Central’s Eli Lingenfelter knocks down a pass in the end zone to seal the Scarlet Dragons victory over Bishop Guilfoyle.

On paper, the game between Central and Bishop Guilfoyle looked like an easy candidate for Game of the Year — and it’s only the first week of the high school football season.

On the pitch, it remains to be seen whether or not he can maintain that claim throughout the season.

The Scarlet Dragons and Marauders had plenty of skill position players – that was never the question mark for either team.

The big unknown was how and who would replace the many linemen lost by both teams.

When it was all said and done on Saturday night at Altoona’s Mansion Park, the final score came down to a missed extra run as Central cruised to a 21-20 victory over Bishop Guilfoyle in a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference barnburner.

“I thought it was an exceptional game of football for both teams” Center coach Dave Baker said. “I thought both teams played well for the first game… It was a difficult and tough game of football for both teams. We feel lucky to win it because of an extra point.

Sequence of play: With Central leading 21-20 late in the game, BG apparently had no trouble making their way down the field as quarterback Karson Kiesewetter found Dominic Yanoshak for a 22-yard gain on the Central 48. Kiesewetter called his own. number on five consecutive plays that totaled 34 yards and put the Marauders in business at Central 14 on a second and 6 plays. However, a chop block penalty backed BG from 15 yards on the 29 where Kiesewetter threw passes that fell incomplete on consecutive runs. On fourth-and-21, the Marauders were called for an illegal 5-yard procedural penalty that made it even harder with a fourth-and-26 from Central 34.

Kiesewetter backed up to pass, was forced out of the pocket to his left but managed to straighten his shoulders enough, while eluding several pursuing Dragons, to uncork a throw that headed towards Yanoshak and Ryan Hagg standing tall open in the end zone. However, Central’s Eli Lingenfelter made an athletic play as he fell back to cover when he leaped up and fended off Yanoshak or Hagg’s open arms pass. The Dragons got a 3-yard run from Kade Rhule, then a run for a first down from flagger Jeff Hoenstine, who then took a knee to end the contest.

Lingenfelter: “I had a man who was on the left side of the line, and he didn’t pass. So, I thought I had to go back there (goal line). I knew Karson was going to be able to pull through and somehow get that ball out of his hands. And, it looked like he was about to fall into the lap of some guy from BG. So I climbed up and slapped him.

Player of the match: Lingenfelter. In addition to making life-saving defensive play, the 6-1 senior had seven catches for 109 yards, including two acrobatic catches while tapping the side of the end zone that counted for the scores. The first was a 10-yard pass from Hoenstine that put the Dragons on the board just seven seconds into the second quarter. The second was a 22-yard catch with little time left in the half – also from Hoenstine – that gave Central a 14-7 lead at the break.

Lingenfelter: “It’s something I worked on in training. I think I did a good job knowing where I am on the pitch and knowing where I need to put my foot down.

Unsung Heroes: Hardly unsung, but that honor goes to a pair of reigning State Players of the Year in Hoenstine (Class 3A) and Kiesewetter (Class 1A). Hoenstine threw for 153 yards on 14 of 18 throws, while proving just dangerous and efficient on the ground with 16 carries for 74 yards and a TD on the ground. Kiesewetter rushed for over 100 yards in both categories as the senior rushed for 141 yards on 28 attempts, while completing 13 of 21 passes for 136 yards and catching one (from Yanoshak) for 22 yards. Kiesewetter netted a 1-yard TD run to tie the score at 7-7 at 6:07 of the second stanza, then hit Cooper Rother on a 15-yard outside shoulder throw with just 44 ticks remaining in the third which put BG over 20-14.

Hoenstine: “We knew coming in that they (Bishop Guilfoyle) were a great football team and it was going to be a challenge for us. We just knew we had to play more physically than them and make big plays when it counted. .

Most Vital Stat: Central was only penalized three times for 15 yards – all in the first half. Meanwhile. Bishop Guilfoyle was whistled 11 times for 100 – many of which came at times that killed attacking momentum. Three went for 15 yards, three were for 10 and five backed them from 5 yards.

Bishop Guilfoyle’s trainer, Justin Wheeler: “Our problem was not them (Central) as much as ourselves. We had extremely bad penalties in terrible situations, at inopportune times. Whether it’s at the 1-yard line when we couldn’t get a fumble that we could have scored on, or whether it’s a block shot when we’re already within goal range. There were things tonight where we shot ourselves in the foot. We will learn from them.

The point matters: After Rother and Kiesewetter connected on the 15-yard score play, kicker Michael Cacciotti’s PAT attempt, who made two previous attempts, never stood a chance as the snap was weak and a plethora of Dragons came charging to barely let the kick off the tee. The missed attempt had BG up 20-14. On the ensuing center possession, Hoenstine scored on a 3-yard run down the left side to even the score. The most important extra point came from junior Hunter Smith, who took his chance at 10:36 of the last quarter to set up the final.

Wheeler: “Our kicker is still good this year, so it’s not a problem, but it was just one of those things (where) we had a few guys with cramps, and you change some guys. The first week, sometimes things like that happen…. There were five other (games) that decided this game, not just this one. But, we definitely hurt ourselves in a lot of times tonight.

Hoenstine: “The extra points were big tonight, obviously – that was key. We got that extra block of points there, and it was crucial for us to put that last extra point in to give us a head start.

Defense doing its part: Bishop Guilfoyle’s defense restrained Hoenstine, the prolific passer who last year set a Pennsylvania State record for touchdown passes in a season with 57, just one pass completed in two chances in the second half. It was a big shot that went 46 yards to Lingenfelter. Lingenfelter was tackled at BG 3 to close out the third. Three plays later, Hoenstine crossed the goal line from 3 yards out.

Baker: “It was a good game of football. Eli (Lingenfelter) had some great catches. I thought their No. 13 guy (Rother) was good, their quarterback (Kiesewetter) is good. … They (BG) are a good football team no doubt We are a good football team.

Wheeler: “That’s what you expect. Two teams that are at the top of their game right now, programs that are at the top. You expect a battle – we had it.

Notable: Rother, who rushed for just 34 yards on 11 attempts and caught four passes for 77 yards, tied the game at 14-14 with a 4-yard TD run at 6:43 of the third. … BG had 18 first downs to Central’s 12 and won on total yards with a 335-253 advantage. … Both teams lost a fumble each as Hoenstine fell to one in the first quarter for Central, and Yanoshak recovered a fumble in the third stanza. … As Smith stood at the 2-yard center line waiting to throw, the junior had to line up a low snap and in doing so bent down and his knee hit the ground. BG took over and Kiesewetter scored his 1-yard TD just two plays later. … Max Baker of the Scarlet Dragons partially blocked a Kiesewetter punt attempt that netted just 9 yards. Four plays later, Hoenstine and Lingenfelter connected on the 22-yard strike just before halftime.

Records: Central (1-0); Bishop Guilfoyle (0-1).

Next week: Central hosts Richland on Friday night; Bishop Guilfoyle will play Westmont Hilltop at Mansion Park next Saturday.


Central 0 14 0 7 — 21

Bishop Guilfoyle 0 7 13 0 — 20

second quarter

THIS. Lingenfelter 10 pass from I. Hoenstine (H. Smith kick), 11:53.

BG – Kiesewetter 1 run (Cacciotti kick), 6:07.

THIS. Lingenfelter 22 pass from I. Hoenstine (H. Smith kick), 0:00.

Third quarter

BG – Rother 4 run (Cacciotti kick), 6:43.

BG–Rother 15 pass from Kiesewetter (missed), 0:44.

Fourth trimester

C–I. Hoenstine run 3 (H. Smith kick), 10:36.


First attempts 12 18

Total yards 253,335

Races-yards 27-100 40-177

Passing yards 153 158

Assists (comp-attack-int) 13-17-0 14-22-0

Punts-avg. 4-34.5 4-32.5

Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1

Penalties-yards 3-15 11-100


PREVIOUS–Central, Rhule 5-25, I. Hoenstine 16-74, H, Smith 4-5, TEAM 2-(-4). Bishop Guilfoyle, Rother 11-34, Kiesewetter 28-141, Yanoshak 1-2.

IN PASSING–Central, I. Hoenstine 14-18-0-153, Muthler 0-1-0-0. Bishop Guilfoyle, Kiesewetter 13-21-0-136, Yanoshak 1-1-0-22.

RECEPTION–Central, Rhule 1-18, H. Smith 3-13, E. Lingenfelter 7-109. Benton 1-5, Daughter 1-5, Dunn 1-3. Bishop Guilfoyle, Yanoshak 4-27, Wyandt 1-3. Reilly 1-9, Rother 4-77, Cioffari 2-12, Hagg 1-8, Kiesewetter 1-22.

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