Central Valley shrugs off tough loss with rout of Moon
The pecking order in Class AAA's Parkway Conference got clearer Friday night.
No. 4 Central Valley rebounded from last week's tough loss to No. 1 West Allegheny with a 33-0 victory over Moon.
A week after being held to 51 total yards in a 13-7 loss, the Warriors' 1-2 punch of Jordan Whitehead and JaQuan Pennington put Central Valley's offense back on track with a flurry of scoring plays.
The duo combined for 272 yards and four touchdowns, and the Warriors (5-1, 5-1) spoiled Moon's homecoming at Tiger Stadium with another sterling defensive effort.
Central Valley entered the game allowing a minuscule 3.8 points per game — third best in the WPIAL — and the team's fourth shutout of the season will lower that number. The win left the Warriors in sole possession of second place behind undefeated West Allegheny.
“This was a great bounce-back tonight,” Central Valley coach Shawn McCreary said. “We executed well in the first half, and the defense bent but did not break. We want a crack at somebody in the playoffs.”
McCreary again filled in for suspended coach Mark Lyons, who is eligible to return to the sidelines next week against New Brighton after missing two games for his alleged role in a player's transfer.
With Whitehead and Pennington on the roster, any coach would feel fortunate.
When Whitehead scored on a 66-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the Division I prospect was just getting started. The junior showed a strong arm on a toss-sweep-turned touchdown pass on a 47-yard strike to Anthony Williams. He also caught a 14-yard score from Nate Climo.
“This game mattered,” Whitehead said. “The West Allegheny game was a tough loss. We really wanted to prove a point.”
Pennington scored on a 66-yard screen from Central Valley's other quarterback, John George, who also scored on a 42-yard run.
Moon (4-2, 4-2) tried to counter with junior quarterback Aleksei Yaramus, who marched the Tigers within scoring range three times in the first half.
But Central Valley's defense stiffened when it mattered.
“When you execute like Central Valley did, that's what happens,” Moon coach Mark Washington said. “That's a playoff-caliber team we played, but we could definitely play better.”
Brian J. Duermeyer is a freelance writer.