Story first appeared easternpafootball.com on Sept. 18, 2016.
ALLENTOWN- Darnell Ferrell has led Central Catholic’s offense for the first three weeks of the season.
Saturday night was no different.
Ferrell compiled 235 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries to go with a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown as Central Catholic earned a 55-35 victory over East Stroudsburg South in an EPC North football game on Andre Reed Field at J. Birney Crum Stadium on Saturday night.
“His demeanor at practice, his run game at practice has changed and that carries onto the game field,” Central Catholic head coach John Cupples said about Ferrell. “He’s just been explosive and he is going to continue to be explosive, that’s just the type of player he is.”
Central Catholic (3-1 overall, 3-0 EPC North) came out of the gate with a no-huddle offense which featured a lot of quick scoring.
The Vikings scored on their first drive of the night, as senior Ethan Persa connected with senior Thomas Murphy on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 8:58 left in the first quarter. Central Catholic’s offense continued to roll behind Ferrell as the Vikings mounted a 27-0 lead after the first quarter of play.
East Stroudsburg (1-3, 1-2) pieced together a 17 play, 70-yard scoring drive that spanned the first half of the second quarter to score the Cavaliers first points of the game.
Ferrell and the Vikings had a quick response as the senior went 67 yards for the touchdown and the 34-7 lead with 6:58 left in the first half. The Vikings led 34-14 at the half.
“We did it last week,” Cupples said about his team’s no-huddle offense. “We’ve always had an up tempo offense, but we just decided to pick it up. Coach [Rob] Melosky has done a great job with that and he’s decided to pick up the tempo and see how fast we can really go.”
Despite the Vikings’ fast play, the game still took two hours and 50 minutes as the Cavaliers battled back in the second half, not allowing ACC to completely close the door.
“I said to the kids at halftime that this is the type of team that isn’t going to quit,” Cupples said. “You can just see it on film. They are going to fight to the end. I kept trying to tell the kids that as much as I could. We just couldn’t finalize and close that door. Fortunately for us, we got things going back momentum wise. I think in the third quarter we didn’t have the ball much, so that hurts us being able to close the game.”
East Stroudsburg South cut the deficit to as little as 14 points after Jacob Cirillo hit John Murphy with a 16-yard strike for a touchdown with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter, however Central Catholic answered on the ensuing drive with a nine-yard rushing touchdown by Ike Harrison with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, which finally put the game away.
Persa helped Ferrell pilot the offense as the senior quarterback was 10-13 for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
East Stroudsburg returns home next week to host Nazareth while Central Catholic faces Dieruff, with the Vikings being the away team. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. on Friday night.