Central Scarlet Dragons (1-0, 0-0) at Tyrone Golden Eagles (0-1, 0-0)
WHEN: Friday, August 31, 2019
WHERE: Gray-Veterans Memorial Field, Tyrone
SERIES HISTORY: Tyrone leads the overall series with 24 wins and 19 losses. Two games have ended in ties. The teams first played in 1970, battling to a 20-20 draw. The Blair County rivalry was renewed every season after that through 2000, when the Golden Eagles and Scarlet Dragons competed as members of the Big 8.
Before last season, Central had defeated Tyrone five straight times, matching its longest winning streak in the series. Prior to that, the Dragons won five in a row against the Eagles from 1989 through 1993.
Tyrone’s longest winning streak ran from 1994 through 2008, a string of nine games that was interrupted from 2001 through 2006 when the Dragons had joined the Laurel Highlands Conference.
The teams have faced each other three times in the postseason, with the Eagles holding a 2-1 edge in playoff games.
The most competitive stretch in the series came in 2009 and 2010 when Tyrone and Central played four times, twice in the postseason, with none of the games decided by more than 10 points. In 2009, Central defeated Tyrone 7-0 in the regular season finale 14-7 in Roaring Spring to claim the MAC Nittany Division championship, but two weeks later, in the District 6 2A semifinals the Eagles extracted a measure of revenge, topping Central 7-0 to advance to the finals.
A year later, Tyrone won the regular season contest in Tyrone 21-20 before knocking the Dragons out of the playoffs once again in the semifinal round, winning 17-7 at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
LAST 10 GAMES: Central leads 6-4.
COACHES: Tyrone: John Franco (251-121-2, 190-38 at Tyrone; Central: Dave Baker (194-193-11, 69-23 at Central)
SEASON SCORES: Tyrone lost to Bellwood-Antis 35-32 in double overtime; Central defeated Northern Bedford 49-21.
LAST MEETING: Tyrone built a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and waited through a 40-minute rain delay at halftime before turning the game over to its defense in a 33-14 victory over Central in Roaring Springs.
Defensive back Damon Gripp registered four interceptions, returning his final one 41 yards for a touchdown with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles limited Central to 68 yards rushing. At the same time, Tyrone rusher Zac Albright had a career day, running 26 times for 200 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Denver Light ran for a touchdown in the second half and tossed a 32-yard scoring pass to Brandon Homan.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tyrone – Brandon Homan, QB, 14-25 for 167 yards, 1 TD, 2 Int; Tommy Hicks, RB, 27 carries for 73 yards, 1 TD; Damon Gripp, WR, 6 receptions for 100 yards, 1 TD; Central – Jeff Hoenstine, QB, 5-for-6 for 124 yards, 2 TDs; Braden Kitt, 11 carries for 122 yards, 2 TDs; Zach Parks, WR, 2 receptions for 51 yards, 1 TD.
GAME NOTES: Tyrone will honor the 1999 PIAA championship team at halftime on the twentieth anniversary of its title season … the Eagles’ loss to B-A was its second overtime loss in the Backyard Brawl in three seasons … Central accumulated 408 yards in total offense against the Panthers … Tyrone’s last win over Central at home came in 2010.