For the second week in a row, Manheim Central fell behind by double digits in the first half against a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One opponent.

For the second week in a row, Manheim Central had a takeaway and scored a touchdown just before the half to gain some momentum.

And for the second week in a row, Manheim Central picked up a gut-check, come-from-behind victory.

Evan Simon struggled up top, but he tossed a pair of touchdown passes, the Barons feasted on three turnovers and sacked Wilson QB Anthony Futrick five times in the second half, and Central overcame a sloppy first half for a 20-10 win over the Bulldogs in the first L-L-mandated crossover game Friday night at Elden Rettew Field in Manheim.

“You saw the tide turn in the fourth quarter,” Central coach Dave Hahn said. “Our defensive line went through them like they were a sieve. Earlier in the game it was the other way around; they were coming right through us. But we tightened it up. We go stronger and better as the game went on. That’s what great teams do.”

Wilson (2-2) bolted to a 10-0 first-half lead with a pair of second-quarter scores: After missing a field goal earlier in the half, Jack Wagner drilled a 22-yarder for a 3-0 lead, and Elijah Morales had a 1-yard dive for the the Bulldogs, giving Wilson a 10-0 cushion with 9:02 to go in the half.

Troy Corson set up Morales’ TD burst with a 33-yard punt return, as Central struggled in special teams and particularly through the air in the first half, when Simon went 1 for 12.

But that one completion was big: Simon flipped a 3-yard TD toss to Jake Harbach with 4:30 to go in the half, cutting Wilson's lead to 10-6. The TD capped a short 10-yard drive, after Central's Will Rivers strip-sacked Futrick and forced a fumble.

It was 10-6 Wilson at the half, but the Barons had the momentum.

“Absolutely,” Wilson coach Doug Dahms said when asked if his team let this game slip away after a fast start. “We totally shut them down in the first half. But mental mistakes will kill you.”

Late in the third quarter, Central (4-0) held Wilson on downs, and the Barons went right to work, with Simon flipping a 39-yard TD strike to Evan Hosler, who was wide open over the middle. The Barons ran a fake jet-sweep play and got the Bulldogs' defense to bite, and Hosler, alone in the flat, bolted 39 yards for the go-ahead score with 11:51 to play.

“We had to stick to our game plan and execute,” Hosler said. “We tried to stay focused and do our thing. We made some stupid mistakes early on, but we all came together in the end.”

Later, after Wilson muffed a punt snap and the Barons took over at the Bulldogs’ 11, Tyler Flick iced it with a 2-yard run to make it 20-10 with 9:56 to go.

“Momentum is everything,” Hosler said. “Nobody was happy about our performance in the first half. So this one definitely feels good. We feel good going into Section Two now, but we have to keep grinding every week.”

Once again, an injury hurt Wilson. With reigning L-L Section One Linebacker of the Year Nick Johnson already out indefinitely with a broken leg, Avanti Lockhart, the Bulldogs’ bulldozer back and Johnson’s replacement on defense, limped off with first-half injury.

Johnson and Lockhart were both on crutches after the game.

Central’s offense produced just 186 yards, as Flick was held to a season-low 78 yards on 23 carries, and Simon went 3 for 16 for 57 yards. But two of those completions went for touchdowns, including the clutch dart to Hosler, which turned the game for good.

“We weren’t in sync tonight at all,” Hahn said. “But at the end of the night, we found a way to win. Plain and simple: We found a way.”