KINGSTON – Just when it seemed as if Wyoming Valley West was going to pull away from Pleasant Valley and cruise to an easy victory, the Bears came up with a big play to get back into the gUnfortunately for the Bears, they couldn't make enough plays to cover up for their earlier mistakes.
Pleasant Valley continued to battle and gave Wyoming Valley West all it could handle on its own field, but fell in the end 47-28 in non-league play. Though the Bears racked up 337 yards of offense, no amount of yardage could make up for their eight penalties and two costly turnovers.
"The story of the night was that we kept shooting ourselves in the foot," said Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger. "Every time we got a step ahead, we took a step back. It started with the first play of the game.
"We said early that we were going to get after them and leave everything out on the field. Our kids competed, but the mental mistakes, the penalties and the turnovers ended up being the death of us tonight."
Pleasant Valley executed a brilliant halfback pass on the first play of the game only to have it called back on a hold. That would be the story of the night for the Bears, as they committed 77 yards worth of penalties. Three times the locals had first-down plays called back due to a penalty.
While Wyoming Valley West did turn the ball over four times to Pleasant Valley's two, but the Bears' two turnovers came inside the opponents' 31-yard-line. Meanwhile, the Spartans controlled the line of scrimmage and hit for chunks of yards at a time. Only three times in the entire first half did the Bears hold the Spartans to zero yards on a running play. The other 18 times Eugene Lewis and Tashawn Bunch combined for 219 yards.
By the end of the night Lewis had accounted for 293 yards of offense and six touchdowns. Bunch totaled 182 yards on the ground but failed to reach the endzone.
Following a Spartan touchdown early in the first, the Bears' Rob Getz responded with his second kickoff return touchdown of the season. Getz would add three more scores on the night and totaled four touchdowns for the second consecutive week.
Quarterback Troy Verway, who was making just his third career start, performed well despite being under constant pressure from the Spartans' defense. Verway completed 20-of-33 passes for 248 yards and a score. He turned the ball over just once on a sack-fumble. Those numbers are very good considering he was sacked six times on the night.
"Troy competed," said Terwilliger. "Like I have been saying, Troy has to grow up and get game experience. Sometimes he thinks a little bit too much and sometimes that hurts him. But he did a nice job tonight of keeping us in there.
"The bottom line is that he has proven that he can lead this football team. He has done well so far and we will see from week to week. He will be our starting quarterback against Lehighton until anything else changes."
Although Pleasant Valley was down 33-14 at halftime, the Bears came out and continued to fight in the second half. They held the Spartans scoreless for 16 minutes and 32 seconds while climbing back to make the score 33-28 early in the fourth quarter. However, Valley West converted a crucial fourth-and-six for a 22-yard score midway through the fourth and went on to win the game.
Terwilliger stopped short of calling the game a moral victory, but did say that he was extremely proud of the way his team competed against a talented opponent.
"This group of kids is not going to quit," Terwilliger said. "There is no quit in them. They played hard, and though we fell on the short side of the stick late, they really worked their tails off.
"You learn some things from these types of situations. A – We are a well conditioned football team. Our guys were still fresh in the fourth quarter. B – We can compete with some good talent. West is well coached and has a lot of talent. C – Our defense can make it happen with some turnovers. They did it, we just have to capitalize."