Pouring rain or not, the dominance of the Rams’ offensive line against Central York was complete and took only two quarters to be on full display in this District 3 Class 6A opener at Speed Ebersole Stadium.
Central Dauphin rushed for 336 yards in the first half and used an explosive 34-point second quarter to drill the Panthers 49-21 in a game that was over by halftime.
Senior Adam Burkhart and his pounding running style was too much for Central York to handle. Burkhart rushed for 162 yards on 23 carries, all in the first half, and scored three touchdowns.
Tyler Leisher chipped in an additional 98 first-half yards on only eight totes with a touchdown.
Central Dauphin finished with a staggering 412 rushing yards on 61 carries to account for all of its offense. Not a single starter saw the field in the second half for the Rams.
“The offensive line played a great game. All the holes were there. We were just driving the whole time,” Burkhart said. “The plan was to pound the rock and assert our dominance. Everyone was blocking good, and we were just moving the ball.”
This was still a game after one quarter as Burkhart staked CD to an 8-0 lead on the opening drive of the game with a 3-yard touchdown run. On that 13-play, 80-yard march, Burkhart carried nine times for 65 yards.
But a fumble on the Rams’ next possession, one of seven fumbles the teams combined for in a relentless driving rain, gave Central York an opportunity.
And the Bearcats cashed in with a 55-yard touchdown pass on the very next play from Cade Pribula to Taylor Wright-Rawls that made it 8-6 just past the midway point of the first quarter.
The rest of the first half was all Rams, though.
Central Dauphin, which will get a chance to avenge one of its losses this season when it travels to face defending District 3 Class 6A champion Manheim Central in the semifinal round, scored five touchdowns in the second quarter.
Burkhart opened the floodgates with a 19-yard run, and Nick Chimienti returned an interception 33 yards 11 seconds later that made it 22-6.
Three more touchdowns, one each by Burkhart, QB Noah Hoffman and Leisher in a span of 4:35, gave the Rams a 36-point mercy-rule lead at halftime.
Plenty of credit goes to the Central Dauphin defense. After a shaky start against Pribula, the Rams secondary came alive, and during one stretch of the second quarter, the Delaware-bound Central York quarterback was 0-for-8 with two interceptions.
“We just started to pick up what they were doing and made our adjustments defensively,” Burkhart said. “We played a solid defensive game.”