WINDBER — Windber won the battle of the early undefeated football teams Friday with a 34-18 week four win over Blacklick Valley.
The Ramblers amassed 411 yards of total offense to the Vikings' 228 yards of total offense. Dustin Blough contributed 158 yards on 11 second half carries for Windber (4-0) after missing last week's game with Rockwood due to an injury.
"He was suspended for the first half of the game and tanked up at halftime because he knew he was going to start the second half," head coach Matt Grohal said. "He was definitely a stud out there in the second half for us. He picked us up and got everybody else going and that's a tribute to him and his work ethic."
It was also a tribute to the offensive line of Shane Almodovar,
Charlie Barnes, Brady Sheehan, Bronko Teklinsky and Troy Smith that muscled the Viking defenders around. Grohal also threw in credit to tight end Zack Toth and full back Trevor Neri for their blocking.
Windber fumbled on its opening possession but forced a Blacklick (3-1) punt to regain the ball. Dakota Gipe hit Matt Barkley with a 37-yard pass of 37. Dan Tomlinson had a big run followed by his brother Devon's short run. Gipe hit Barkley with an 8-yard touchdown pass on the next play. Jacob Hanley's PAT was blocked for a 6-0 advantage.
Blacklick responded with a 18-play, 11-plus minute drive helped along by three Rambler penalties. Johnny Sheesley's 3-yard scamper capped the drive. His two-point run failed for a 6-6 tie.
The Ramblers went right back down the field in 10 plays to take a 13-6 lead. Dan Tomlinson scored on a three-yard run right up the middle.
The PAT was good.
The Vikings scored as time expired in the first half. Sheesley tried a pass play which fell short, but the Ramblers were flagged with a penalty. Quarterback Blake Ray then hit Justin Paul with a 44-yard touchdown pass just on his fingertips. Again the two-point play failed for a 13-12 halftime score.