Conestoga Valley used an entertaining, big-play offense to send Manheim Central to its fourth straight defeat Friday, beating the Barons 41-35 in Elden Rettew Stadium.
In what used to be a fierce and high-stakes Lancaster County rivalry, it’s CV’s first win over the Barons since 2006. It’s four straight losses for Central (0-4 Section Two, 1-4 overall) for the first time since 1976.
The Buckskins had gaudy offensive numbers all over the place: QB Macoy Kneisley completed 8 of 11 throws for 218 yards and two touchdowns, including TD tosses of 60 and 44 yards.
CV also got a 69-yard TD sprint by Booper Johnson, and an 81-yarder by Jaiyell Plowden. Wide receiver Zach Fisher had five catches for 177 yards, scored two TDs and threw for one (more on that in a minute).
Gerad Novak, CV’s veteran coach, has rarely, if ever, had a better play-calling night.
Central’s ongoing defensive issues of course had something to do with that, but it’s a tribute to Central’s long-term excellence that last week’s 42-35 loss to Solanco was just the third time they’ve scored 35 or more and lost in 72 years.
Friday’s first half was fun in the way first halves can be when the offenses are way ahead of the defenses and both coaches are jockeying to get the ball last.
CV struck first on Johnson’s 69-yarder, and last on a brilliant play-call dialed up by Novak after calling timeout with three seconds left.
The play was a fake end-around and throw from one wide receiver to another, Fisher to Plowden for a 17-yard TD that made it 24-21, CV.
Before that, Central scored two TDs in the last 2:18 of the half, both set up by Judd Novak passes, a 45-yarder to Brady Harbach and 28 yards to Wes Borden. Novak and Justin Heffernan did the scoring on short plunges.
The teams combined for 459 yards of offense in the half. Kneisley completed all five of his first-half passes for 150 yards, and that’s not counting Fisher’s 1-for-1 for 17 and a TD.
Things settled quite a bit after halftime, but not before Plowden’s 81-yard TD, on an end-around, on just the third play of the third quarter.
The Buckskins seemed in control down the stretch, but Central kept firing, and got two late TDs on passes from Novak to Borden for 16 yards and to Owen Sensenig for 38.
Novak completed 17 of 25 for 233 yards.
And the Barons actually did get the ball last, forcing a fumble in the final half-minute, but with too much ground to cover and not enough time.
Conestoga Valley hosts Solanco Friday. Manheim Central goes to Elizabethtown.