PHOTO GALLERY | Golden and McCort-Carroll overtake rival Greater Johnstown | Sports

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – McCort-Carroll Catholic entered Friday night’s rivalry game against Greater Johnstown averaging 2.6 rushing yards per carry and 80.3 rushing yards in three games.

Crushers coach Tom Smith and his team entered the race against the Trojans, and the move paid huge dividends in a 29-7 win at Trojan Stadium.

“We really wanted to run the game because we’ve struggled with that aspect of our offense all year,” Smith said after his Crushers scored 296 yards on 47 carries, averaging 6.3 per carry against Johnstown.

“We just committed to doing it. I spoke to our offensive coaches and said we need to limit the times we throw the ball in the air. We wanted to put ourselves in the center a bit and see if we could work out some things. I think we’ve been effective in doing that for the most part.

Senior quarterback Johnny Golden led the rush – literally. Golden gained 132 yards and had three short touchdowns while carrying 19 times. Golden completed 4 of 6 passes for 59 yards and an interception.

“Johnny sped it up,” Smith said after McCort-Carroll tied his record at 2-2. “He’s hard to stop. He’s a tough kid. He’s a workhorse for us.

Junior Brock Beppler rushed for 111 yards on 21 carries and was instrumental in McCort-Carroll’s ability to run out of time in the second half.

“Bepps was our closest,” Smith said.

The Crushers had 16 first downs, and Golden’s four completions moved the chains.

Greater Johnstown slipped to 0-4 and lost their 24th straight game. But first-year coach Antwuan Reed saw positive developments throughout a contest that remained relatively close until the final quarter.

“I told the guys, ‘You fight and I’m proud of you for that. Sometimes you’re going to lose games, but if you fight anything can happen,'” Reed said.

“We lost a few guys to injury. I told them, ‘It’s part of the game.’ Some guys got up. Its good.

“’It was a great game for the fans, for everyone. It’s great for your family to see. You fought back,” Reed added. “Both sides. It was a good game. I told the guys to keep working. They took a step today for the program to improve.

Turnout for the rivalry match was solid, but not as large or strong as in previous seasons when both teams were in the midst of long winning streaks.

McCort-Catholic did not bring his band or cheerleaders, and a lookout party was held at Osborne Street School about a block from Trojan Stadium.

Greater Johnstown announced enhanced security measures for the game in response to an altercation involving students that occurred outside Trojan Stadium during the August 26 home opener.

“I want to congratulate the Trojans. I thought those kids played their hearts out,” Smith said. “They came out and fought us hard. This first half was a chore. I want to congratulate them on a well-played football match.

“We are delighted with the result, but more importantly, it all ended on a high note. I’m proud of everything that’s happened here with both teams.

Golden capped a game-opening 51-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The Crushers faked the extra kick and Golden threw to Cooper Stigers for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead at 8:18.

Greater Johnstown responded immediately. Zymir Reed returned the kick-off 75 yards from the end zone. Ethan Nowak’s extra point put the Trojans 8-7 at 8:06.

“I said to the guys, ‘You fight. You didn’t lie down. You came back and ran it to the end zone,” Coach Reed said of his freshman son’s touchdown return. “The guys blocked. This is winning football. When you get punched in the mouth, what are you going to do?

The Crushers then had a 16-game, 89-yard drive that used 9:09 of the game clock. Golden scored his second touchdown of the game from 4 yards out. Lukas Conner’s kick made it 15-7 with 6:38 left in the first half.

Led by quarterback Anthony Atwood’s run and aided by McCort-Carroll penalties after a facemask and pass interference, the Johnstown great used 14 plays to reach the Crushers’ 11-yard line late in the middle. time.

After a waiting penalty and a procedural call, Johnstown faced fourth and 11th. McCort-Carroll’s Andrew Pakstis blocked Nowak’s 29-yard field goal attempt with 38 seconds left.

“Big block,” Smith said. “They came out to hit him. They took the time. We had a defensive game ready to play if they came out with their quarterback.

“Our special teams coach Dan Santoro said, ‘We’re going for the block if he gets in there and tries to hit it. Pac-Man found a way to get in the middle there and get a block for us to stop a big drive.

McCort-Carroll’s first drive in the second half was rushing for 70 yards. Golden gained 42 yards on five points, the last 2 yards for a TD and a 22-7 lead at 6:00 of the third quarter.

Ibn Shaheed completed a 14-yard run to push the Crushers’ margin to 22 points.

The Trojans had a chance to close when Atwood broke up a 53-yard run to the Crushers 3-yard line, but McCort-Carroll’s Shakile Ferguson kept the quarterback from reaching the end zone.

“It was a relentless game for him and he took it to the 3-yard line,” Smith said.

The Crushers defense forced a turnover on the downs.

Atwood carried 19 times for 112 yards.

“Anthony is really stepping into a leadership role for this team,” Coach Reed said. “He really gives his all.”

The Crushers won their fourth straight game in the series against the Trojans. Greater Johnstown holds an all-time record of 22-15-1 against McCort-Carroll/Bishop McCort Catholic/Johnstown Catholic.

Jack C. Nugent