SWIFTWATER - Heading into this weekend's game, Pleasant Valley's defense had given up an area-worst 1,282 yards on the ground.
That trend continued Friday night against Pocono Mountain West.
Terrence Quiteh and Rich Adams combined for 345 rushing yards and four touchdowns and led their Panthers to a come-from-behind win over the Bears, 26-14 in Mountain Valley Conference play. Although West committed four turnovers in the game, it was able to chew up a lot the clock with its running game and wore down Pleasant Valley in the end.
"The statistics aren't going to show much about this game because statistically we didn't do much," admitted Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger. "We lost the game up front and in the trenches. West came out and beat us up a little bit. We had a chance late but couldn't pull it out."
The first-half was downright dreadful for Pleasant Valley. Though the Bears did force two turnovers - both in the first quarter - they were unable to capitalize. Both drives ended with three-and-outs, as they totaled just two offensive yards in four minutes and 31 seconds.
It wasn't until the Bears' last drive of the half with 1:50 to go that they finally moved the ball and picked up some yards. However, before that last drive, West put together an 18-play, 92-yard scoring drive that ate up nearly ten minutes off the clock. Heading into the break, the Panthers had run 32 plays for 178 yards while the Bears' had 16 plays go for 31 yards.
"West beat us up up-front," reiterated Terwilliger. "They controlled the ball and kept it away from us. Offensively we didn't do what we needed to do. You have to get your defense off the field. Tonight was a good example of why we need to get bigger, stronger and faster. When the future kids buy into our system, we will be alright."
Pleasant Valley forced four turnovers and capitalized on two of them for its only scores of the night. After West's freshman quarterback Jeff Krisiak (who was filling in for Adams and his two injured thumbs) fumbled early in the third quarter, Anthony Bumbulsky found Rich Irving two plays later on a six-yard touchdown pass.
On the Panthers' next drive, Krisiak was picked off by Rob Getz (his second of the night) and set up the Bears on the West 37-yard-line. Six plays later Bumbulsky ran it in from 27 yards out to put his team up 14-6.
Trailing by eight heading into the fourth, West finally got on track. The Panthers put together an 11-play drive to tie the game at 14 thanks to an Adams two yard run and two-point conversion. Following a blocked punt on the Bears' next possession, Quiteh punched it in from 21 yards out to put his Panthers on top. He would add another on a 42-yard jaunt with 54 seconds to go to put the game out of reach.
Pleasant Valley's remaining games will only get tougher. Starting quarterback Derrick Walling missed Friday's game and may miss the remainder of the season with a broken thumb. Then, late in the fourth quarter, Bumbulsky was slammed to the ground and landed on his throwing shoulder. He missed the rest of the game and is questionable for next week. Junior Moose Frinzi will take over under center if Bumbulsky can not go.
"There is a saying that goes when it rains it pours," said Terwilliger. "And right now we have to prepare Moose to be the best quarterback that he can be. Obviously when you loose two great players - that is going to affect who you are. But Moose can be a great quarterback and it is my job to coach him up. We will have to see what we can do."