By Andy Shay:
For the second week in a row the 4th Down Magazine Game of the Week was all about the turnover battle.
Central Dauphin committed a stunning 13 penalties against the Wilson Bulldogs Friday night at Landis Field.
But give the Rams credit they took care of the football. Wilson did not, turning it over four times.
Central Dauphin scored a defensive touchdown late in the first half to swing momentum (more on that later) and turned a pair of second-half interceptions of the Bulldogs into 10 points.
That’s 17 points off Wilson turnovers for Central Dauphin and provides the narrative for the 24-6 Rams victory in this battle of District 3 big-school heavyweights.
“When we had a lead it changed our game plan and I don’t regret that,” CD coach Glen McNamee said. “Wilson is a team that feeds off mistakes, and once we got ahead I wanted to make sure we weren’t one of those teams they came back on because of mistakes.”
Central Dauphin’s defensive front, led by junior Micah Parsons, also played a big role by sacking the Bulldogs quarterbacks five times and harassing them all game.
And running the ball simply wasn’t an option for Wilson. The Bulldogs were limited to 20 yards on 19 carries. Central Dauphin, by contrast, rolled up 227 yards on the ground.
“He’s a man. You can’t one-on-one block him. He gave us fits all night,” Wilson coach Doug Dahms said of Parsons. “He’s virtually unstoppable. And their other defensive end was doing the same thing. They beat us in the trenches We’d move the ball pretty well, then we’d throw a pick.
“We knew they were better than us in the trenches. That’s tough. We can’t match that now. Their rush was phenomenal.”
Just before the half the tide turn in Central Dauphin’s favor on what can only be described as completely blown call.
Central Dauphin was clinging to a 7-6 lead and Wilson was driving just before the half. A 2-yard out route to Justin Weller was clearly incomplete, but the whistle didn’t blow when the ball squirted free.
So Rams LB Frank Manus scooped up the loose ball and raced 59 yards for a CD touchdown to make it 14-6 at intermission.
What’s missing in all that is not only was it incomplete, Manus was on his knee when he went down to corral the ball. And then, he clearly stepped out of bounds along the CD sideline.
“It was just a bad call. Even their coaches said after the game it was a god awful call,” Dahms said. “Number one it was incomplete. Number two the kid had his knee on the ground when he picked it up. Number three he stepped out of bounds after he picked it up. The guy wasn’t there to see it. As I told our guys, that’s not an excuse. It was still only a one touchdown game.”
It was not a shining moment for the guys in stripes. But the call stood.
And McNamee’s Rams took the gift-wrapped TD and rolled into halftime up eight points instead of nursing a one-point lead or behind.
“I didn’t get a great view of it. It was hard to see exactly what happened even though it was right in front of me,” McNamee diplomatically said. “So I’m going to go with the refs call on that one, how about that?”
Who can blame him? In the end, it was six points for his squad. But it was a dreadfully bad missed call that influenced the game for a bit, but the reality was it didn’t impact the eventual outcome.