Pleasant Valley knew coming into its Friday night contest with Wyoming Valley West that it would have its hands full with the size and strength of the Spartans.
The Bears knew the Spartans would run the ball right at them, but they still couldn't find a way to stop them.
Wyoming Valley West racked up 407 rushing yards on 51 carries and pummeled Pleasant Valley up front on both sides of the ball en route to a 42-7 non-league victory. The Bears were down by just a single score at the break, but the Spartans wore down the locals in the second half and pulled away with three touchdowns in the span of two-and-a-half minutes.
"It was a tale of two ball games tonight," said Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger. "We came out of the gates fired up and our kids were playing hard. Defensively we were strong, but offensively we couldn't put two drives together.
"Then in the second half you could tell we lost our composure. This team came out and we didn't play to win. If I could erase any quarter from my life, it would probably be that third quarter."
The third quarter Terwilliger spoke of was the downfall of his team. On the Spartans' first drive of the half, the Bears committed four penalties in a row (two personal fouls and two defensive offsides) worth 39 yards to help West move down the field for its second score of the night.
After a three-and-out by Pleasant Valley on its next possession - its fourth three-and-out at that point in the game - the Spartans' striked again. On the second play, Christian Martinez rumbled 54 yards for his second consecutive score. He would add another touchdown later and finished with a game-high 188 yards on 18 carries.
On the ensuring kickoff, the Bears' Rob Getz was fighting for some extra yards when the Spartans' Tashawn Bunch came by and literally took the ball out of Getz's hands. Bunch would go 34 yards untouched for the team's third score in two minutes and 38 seconds.
"What we have right now is a young, inexperienced football team," said Terwilliger. "We are going to have growing pains and I understand that, but you can't be foolish in what we are doing. Foolish penalties are unacceptable."
Wyoming Valley West's overall size was also a big factor. Martinez, a 6-2, 260-pound full-back, plowed forward on every handoff and seemed to gain at least seven yards at will.
The Spartans' defensive line was the same way. They held the locals to just 75 yards rushing on 25 carries and posted five three-and-outs and three turnovers on the night. The Bears had two drives of seven or more plays. "You look at a team like Wyoming Valley West and you can see that their kids are bigger, faster and stronger than us," said Terwilliger. "You can see that from sideline to sideline. I don't think our kids backed down, however that is somewhere this program has to get to.
"In order for us to be successful, we need to train ... I'm glad we play these tough opponents because our kids get to see and learn what we need to do in order to get to the next level."