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Central Mountain moves to 3-0 for first time in school history

Micah Walizer is in on a stop during Friday's game. Walizer played a key role in the win. TIM WEIGHT/For the Express

MILL HALL – This season’s Central Mountain football team will have a spot in the school’s record book forever after Friday night.

Wildcats’ quarterback Brett Gerlach took a knee as the game clock struck zero and handed the ball to the official. It was a significant kneel-down as Friday’s, 21-16, victory over Bloomsburg marked Central Mountain’s third straight win of the season and its first time ever being 3-0.

The historic win for the Wildcats came on the team’s senior night. Prior to kickoff, Central Mountain honored 13 of its senior football players. Among the 13 recognized was Micah Walizer.

“Sometimes there can be a little bit of distractions with senior night. Once again, we’re showing our grit and attitude in how we come out and win in whatever way we have to. We’re a team, we love each other and we’re going to fight for each other,” Walizer said.

Walizer–a phenomenal two-way player for the Wildcats–helped his team jump out to an early lead by hauling in a 10-yard pass from Gerlach. The score marked Walizer’s first touchdown of the season. The senior plays fullback on offense and has seen his role in the team’s scheme dip in terms of touches from a year ago.

Wildcats QB Brett Gerlach extended his multi-TD game streak to three after he scored Friday in the second quarter. TIM WEIGHT/For the Express

The hard-nosed Walizer isn’t bothered by it, he’s a team-first player who wants the best for the guys around him. He was grateful to snag the touchdown.

“When we’re winning it doesn’t matter,” Walizer said. “In practice we’ve drawn up some plays with me getting the ball and it happened and felt really good.”

Gerlach registered his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter after he took a designed draw in for a score from 25 yards out. The second quarter score marked Gerlach’s third straight game with multiple touchdowns.

Central Mountain entered the half with all of the momentum on its side, leading Bloomsburg 14-0. Things looked even more promising for the Wildcats as they were set to receive the second-half kick.

Bloomsburg forced a three and out on Central Mountain’s first possession as the Panthers’ sideline began to come alive. Starting on its own 46, Bloomsburg marched the entire way to Central Mountain’s 1-yardline.

Central Mountain's Ryan Pentz in action Friday. TIM WEIGHT/For the Express

The Panthers were ultimately stuffed and turned the ball over. It was a massive stand for Walizer and the Central Mountain defensive unit.

“It was a rough game at times on defense but just like the last couple of games, when we needed to make plays, we made them. We stood tall. One area when we’re really good at is making plays when we have to,” Walizer said.

After Central Mountain’s defense stop at the goal line, the Wildcats’ offense was backed up to the end zone essentially. On the first play, following the turnover on downs, Bloomsburg finally got on the board. Gerlach was brought down in the end zone for a safety. The scoring spree did not stop there for the Panthers.

It was a testament of character from the Bloomsburg squad. Panthers’ quarterback Liam Zentner connected with Madden Locke on a 17-yard touchdown to pull his team back into it with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.

“We never quit. That’s one thing I can guarantee about my team every time we step on the field. Down 14-0, we came out and asked them to answer the bell; and they did. To coach Manning’s team, kudos to them, every time we came back, they answered. It was a good game. We had opportunities,” Bloomsburg coach Mike Kogut said.

In need of a strike, Central Mountain’s Connor Foltz delivered on the game’s next possession. The sophomore wideout took a misdirection handoff 20 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the third to put his team ahead, 21-9, after Tyler Weaver drilled the XP.

Trailing by two scores and time ticking down, Bloomsburg decided to turn to its pass game to open things up. Zentner found an open Locke once again to get the Panthers’ next drive rolling. David Rasmussen later pounded in a 2-yard TD to trim the deficit to just five with 10:33 left in the game.

According the Kogut, Bloomsburg’s ability to throw the ball in the second half was monstrous.

“It (passing the ball) was something we thought after meeting at halftime. It was just an adjustment; we knew we had some outside runs against them but how they were playing things our pass game opened our run game a bit.” Kogut said.

Rasmussen’s big quarter continued as he came away with an interception on Central Mountain’s next possession.

Bloomsburg drove straight down to the Wildcats’ 35 after its drive began on its own 18. Facing pressure, the Wildcat defense delivered. Central Mountain forced the turnover on downs and gave the ball back to its offense with a lead at the 4-minute mark.

Central Mountain coach Shanon Manning praised his team’s defense following Friday’s game.

“It (CM defense) saves us. It gets out in and out of spots we need to be out of at times. This is a scary game, coming off an emotional win, coming off senior night and everything that goes around that,” Manning said.

The Wildcats managed to run down the clock late and successfully hold off the Panthers as they improved to 3-0.

“We almost ran out of bodies again; we’re trying to do it with a whole lot of young kids in spots they don’t actually play,” Manning said regarding his team’s monumental win. “I’m proud of their effort, they always dig, they find ways to dig. I’m proud of their effort. Assignment wise–we have a lot of work to do to be perfect on both sides of the ball in some areas.”

Bloomsburg 0 0 9 7–16

Central Mountain 7 7 7 0–21

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter

CM -Micah Walizer 10 pass from Brett Gerlach (Tyler Weaver made XP), 4:01.

Second quarter

CM -Gerlach 25 run (Weaver made XP), 0:17.

Third quarter

BL -Gerlach safety, 7:18.

BL -Madden Locke 17 pass from Liam Zentner (Sisay Doerschler made XP), 3:49.

CM -Connor Foltz 20 pass from Gerlach (Weaver made XP), 0:24.

Fourth quarter

BL -Damon Rasmussen 2 run ( Doerschler made XP), 10:33

TEAM STATISTICS

BL CM

Rushes-yards 34-131, 30-127

Passing yards 110, 91

Total yards 241 , 218

Comp-att-int 10-15-0, 9-15-1

RUSHING

Bloomsburg, Damon Rasmussen 15-74-1 TD; Liam Zentner 8-24; Nick Wharton 7-30; Mike Widom 2-3. Central Mountain Brett Gerlach 14-74-1 TD; Connor Foltz 6-16-1 TD; Ryan Pentz 5-14; Micah Walizer 4-18; Tanner Williamson 1-5.

PASSING

Bloomsburg, Liam Zentner 10-15-0, 110, 1 TD. Central Mountain, Brett Gerlach 9-15-1, 91, 1 TD.

RECEIVING

Bloomsburg, Madden Locke 4-48-1 TD; Jake Foglesanger 3-29; Parker Jones 1-20; Charlie Foust 1-14; Damon Rasmussen 1-5.

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