Ball-hawking defense helps Greensburg Central Catholic stuff Springdale

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 10:30 PM

Greensburg Central Catholic forced three turnovers and used a strong mix of rushing and passing to win its third consecutive Eastern Conference game, defeating Springdale, 33-7.

The Centurions took the lead for good on their second drive of the game. Zach Kuvinka capped the 53-yard drive with a 6-yard run, and Nate Ward’s PAT gave GCC a 7-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the opening quarter.

GCC scored the only points of the second quarter as well. This time, the Centurions went 94 yards on a drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock.

On fourth-and-goal at the Springdale 1-yard line, David Altimore found Joe Blahovek in the end zone. Ward’s second PAT of the night gave the Centurions a 14-0 lead with 1 minute, 52 seconds left in the first half.

Altimore had a solid opening half for GCC, completing 11 of 15 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Even more impressive was the Centurions defense, which held the Dynamos to 11 yards of total offense.

A pivotal moment in the game came on the opening drive of the second half. GCC tried an onside kick, which Springdale recovered at the Centurions’ 48-yard line.

The Dynamos drove into the red zone and were faced with a third-and-1 at the 18. Christian Vokes picked up the first down on a run play, but he was stripped by GCC’s Danny Dlugos at the 13. Dlugos then raced 87 yards the other way for the defensive score, putting the Centurions ahead, 20-0, with 6:43 left in the quarter.

“Defensively, we have so much speed,” Centurions coach Bret Colbert said. “And the guys up front have been controlling the line for the most part this season.”

GCC struck again 4:17 later when Dlugos scored on a 15-yard run, putting the Centurions ahead, 26-0. The scoring play was set up by a 26-yard pass from Altimore to Brandon Brown on third-and-3 from the Springdale 41.

The teams swapped fourth-quarter scores.

Vokes hauled in a 30-yard pass from Demitri Fritch to cut the Springdale deficit to 26-7 with 1:29 left in the game. The touchdown ended a nearly eight-quarter scoring drought for the Dynamos.

Zach David rounded out the scoring on the next offensive play for GCC with a 50-yard TD run.

The Centurions rushed for 211 yards as team. Altimore passed for 127 yards.

“Last year, they learned how to win” Colbert said. “This year, they’ve bought into the confidence. And the confidence we’ve had this year has been immeasurable. That goes a long way. They’ve had the confidence and the relentlessness this season.”

With the victory, GCC improves to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the Eastern Conference. Springdale lost for the second consecutive week, falling to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the conference.

“I’m not putting a lot of pressure on this one game,” Dynamos coach Seth Napierkowski said. “We were 2-8 last year. These kids are still learning and still growing. We’ll keep moving forward.”

Both teams have non-conference games in Week 6. GCC visits Mapletown, while Springdale hosts Northgate.

Matt Vandriak is a contributing writer.

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