Oct. 23—SOMERSET — A gamble by the Somerset Golden Eagles with 2:56 left in the fourth quarter provided the Central Cambria Red Devils with a short field and the opportunity to steal the game.
Somerset had possession of the ball with 6:19 remaining and a slim 21-20 lead. The Golden Eagles picked up two first downs, but on a fourth-and-9 at midfield, Ethan Hemminger was stopped after a 4-yard run to set up the Red Devils at their own 46.
Central Cambria senior Ethan Gillin toted the pigskin on six successive carries, including the final 6 yards to score with 46 seconds left in the game and set the 26-21 final after the conversion run failed.
"It wasn't how we kind of envisioned it," Central Cambria coach Shane McGregor said.
"It wasn't pretty for a while.
"We have a saying 'Charlie Mike,' which means to continue the mission when things are rough and not going well. A win is a win and our guys hung in there."
Gillin had 133 yards on 25 carries in the game.
The teams traded turnovers on their initial touches, and Somerset had a 7-0 lead after Hemminger bolted 61 yards on a fourth-and-10 from its own 39 at 9:33 of the first quarter. Hemminger added the PAT kick.
Central Cambria quickly knotted the score on a TD pass from Ian Little to Nolan Wyrwas that covered 66 yards just 1:26 later. Adam McGlynn added the extra point.
Somerset fumbled on second down on its next possession.
The Little-and-Wyrwas connection worked again worked for a 31-yard score at 6:31 of the first quarter. McGlynn's kick upped the margin to 14-7.
Somerset had a 23-yard touchdown run by Hemminger negated by a holding penalty, and the Red Devils muffed the snap on a field-goal attempt that lost 19 yards in field position during the second quarter.
The botched field goal set up Somerset for its second score, a 63-yard run by Hemminger with 1:06 left in the half. He also kicked the PAT to tie the game at 14.
In the third quarter, the Golden Eagles used 4:55 of game clock and drove 46 yards on the ground.
Hemminger scored his third touchdown of the game from 13 yards out and added the PAT for a 21-14 lead with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
Hemminger had 17 carries for 225 yards in the game.
Wyrwas returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to the Somerset 21.
The Red Devils scored on a 9-yard run by Jonathan Hajzus, but the extra-point kick failed leaving them trailing by a 21-20 deficit.
The Red Devils started at their own 11 after a 60-yard Hemminger punt. They picked up two first downs but could not overcome three procedure penalties and a personal foul penalty and had to punt for the first time in the game.
Somerset gambled on the ensuing drive to set up the climatic finish for the Red Devils.
The end of the game was marred by several 15-yard penalties and player ejections along with scuffling in the stands.
Central Cambria ended a seven-game losing streak to Somerset and raised its record to 4-5.
The Red Devils host Richland next Friday night.
Somerset falls to 1-7 and has to travel to Central next Friday night.
"I am so proud of our effort tonight," Somerset coach Brian Basile said. "We played well enough to win, right on the edge and I am proud of the senior leadership. The young guys came through in this tremendous battle. They can hold their heads high."