Rivalry was personified last night in Brodheadsville.
The game included the home team and winning team's crowd rushing the field at the end…one of the game's stars nearly broke down in tears of joy…the winning team's coach was on the brink of speechlessness…both teams entered the contests with identical 3-5 records overall and no hopes of a championship.
To 'throw out the record books' was an understatement, as the Pleasant Valley and Pocono Mountain East football teams entered the Brodheadsville football stadium with intentions of leaving every ounce of energy on the field.
When the dust settled, it was PV that was celebrating the hard-fought 24-19 victory over the visiting Cardinals, returning the rivalry's coveted 'Ol Oaken Bucket Trophy to the hallways of the high school once again after a two-year absence.
The game wasn't pretty with plenty of penalties and numerous turnovers, but the amount of heart and desire shown on both sides of the ball easily overshadowed any sign of sloppiness.
"To be a part of a game like this is unbelievable," Pleasant Valley coach Jim Terwilliger said afterwards. "I'm kind of new to this scenario with this being my first year, but I've been around long enough to know how important this game is every year."
The game's importance was shown as both sides showed resiliency, grit, and heart in the entire game.
Pleasant Valley opened up the scoring with a 19-yard field goal by senior Ryan Habick. After a punt exchange, Pocono put together an impressive scoring drive starting on their own 34-yard line. Over eight and a half minutes were taken off the clock as the Cardinals moved the ball down to the 12-yard line, where junior tailback Eddie Helm took it in for the first TD of the night.
PV punted and on PME's next possession, a fumble ended up in PV's Gary Taaffe's hands to set up Anthony Bumbulsky's first of three scores on the night. Junior quarterback Derrick Walling hooked up with Bumbulsky on a screen pass to the right. After options faded, Bumbulsky switched back across field for a remarkable 27-yard score, giving the locals the 10-6 lead with 4:50 remaining before half.
Scoring ceased until the third frame, when Pocono regained the lead when senior quarterback PJ Major connected with Lamont Tillery for an 11-yard score and a 13-10 lead.
The locals struck back quickly, on the next possession, where the identical tandem of Walling to Bumbulsky resulted in another score on a 23-yard touchdown reception. That gave the locals the lead back 17-13 with 5:22 left in the third.
The PV lead ballooned in the fourth when the same connection of Walling to Bumbulsky hooked up on a 33-yard score with just over six minutes left in the game.
Pocono wasn't done, though. Eddie Helm showed his worth when he rumbled down the field on a 44-yard scoring run with three and a half left.
Pocono had one more chance on their final possession of the night, but on a fourth and five from the PV 33, a pass went through a receiver's hands in the endzone and the celebration began.
"It's so emotional to get back the trophy," Bumbulsky mentioned after the game. "We put everything on the line each night we step on the field and with this being my senior year, we just wanted it so badly."