By Andy Shay:
There might be magic in those black pants Cumberland Valley wears in the playoffs, there is definitely something magic about the Eagles when they play Central Dauphin recently.
For the second time this season, Cumberland Valley beat the Rams for the only losses on the season for CD. It was also the fifth consecutive victory for the Eagles over the Rams.
And this one wasn’t close. Not by a long shot. Cumberland Valley was clearly the better team Friday night in the District 3, Class 6A semifinal at Speed Ebersole Stadium.
Cumberland Valley scored the first two times it had the ball and never looked back in a dominating 21-7 victory.
“We just play well against them,” Cumberland Valley head coach Michael Whitehead, Jr. said. “We took it to them early, and I know they were missing some guys. Our guys just came out ready to play from the get-go.”
Cumberland Valley will never lose a football game where it rushes the ball 55 times and has the ball for 32 of the 48 minutes.
And defensively the Eagles limited Central Dauphin to 185 total yards and only 38 snaps from scrimmage.
The rest, to some degree, is just details and numbers. It wasn’t really a close game despite the 14-point difference on the scoreboard.
“We love playing them and we brought it tonight. We just fought harder and got the win,” said senior FB-LB Josiah Quigley, who carried 31 times for 119 yards and scored a pair of touchdown from the 1-yard-line. “I give my line a bunch of credit. Without them I would be doing nothing.
“Nothing magic. We just fight harder, want the game more and beat them.”
Yep, that about sums it up.
By the time Quigley scored his second 1-yard touchdown of the game on the third snap of the second quarter to give the Eagles a 13-7 lead, Cumberland Valley had run 24 play, piled up 134 yards and led 13-0.
The tenor and tempo of this game had clearly been established, and it was the Eagles doing the dictating.
“That first drive set the tone,” Whitehead said. “We just ran the ball right at them, be the more physical team and make a statement. We played one of our best games of the year, and we knew we would have to.”
Central Dauphin did hit one big play, a 29-yard touchdown pass from Brady Staub to Michael Payton to make it 13-7 at halftime.
After the Rams went three-and-out to open the second half, the Eagles went on a vintage CV football drive that put this game away.
CV traveled 82 yards in 17 plays and evaporated 9:28 off the clock to drive the final nail the Rams’ coffin. The Eagles four times on third down and HB Jake Palmer capped the march with a 1-yard run.
A two-touchdown lead, with the way the CV defense was playing, was plenty of cushion to nurse home the final 12 minutes.
“Our defense played exceptional,” Whitehead said. “They are peaking at the right time.”