WYOMISSING - Pleasant Valley coach Jim Terwilliger knew going into the match-up with Wyomissing that in order to beat the Spartans the Bears were going to have to stop Alex Anzalone. The Bears did just that, holding the Notre Dame bound Anzalone to just 20 yards rushing in the first half. Unfortunately, for Pleasant Valley Anzalone got going in the second, rushing for 182 yards to help Wyomissing edge the Bears 31-27.
The Bears were stout in the first half on defense, giving up just 65 yards rushing and 30 yards through the air. Pleasant Valley senior Dakota Everett was a big reason for the Bears' success, blowing up the Wyomissing line on several occasions and collecting two sacks in the process. Everett's sacks were impressive and came on back-to-back plays early in the first to set the tone for the Bears.
"For most of the second half we couldn't get back to the line of scrimmage," said Wyomissing coach Bob Wolfrum. "They were really kicking our behind, so we had to go to an un-balanced set on offense to try and change things up. We did that right before the half and we moved the ball pretty well, so when we came out in the second half we stuck with it."
Wyomissing's adjustments came after the Bears got out to a 14-0 lead over the No. 2 ranked team in the state in AA according to the Harrisburg Patriot News. Pleasant Valley scored on a Josh Thornton one-yard plunge after Marquis Brown blocked a Wyomissing 43-yard field goal attempt, setting PV up with good field position. Then Pleasant Valley quarterback Brandon Leap hit Andrew Romeo on a 63-yard pitch and catch for the Bears second touchdown of the half.
The Spartans would strike back before the half with a Brandon Gonzalez three-yard run, making the score 14-7 in favor of Pleasant Valley at the break.
The second half was a bit of a different story for the Bears defense, and Anzalone served as the main character.
The 6-3 235-pound freak scored on runs of 50 and 52 yards on Wyomissing's next two possessions. It was the first play and only play the Spartans would need on those possessions and Pleasant Valley quickly saw themselves down 21-14.
"The late touchdown in the first half really gave us some confidence," said Anzalone. "We knew going into the second half we were going to get the ball so we just kept our composure and made some corrections. I just knew I had to step up and make a play and there were some nice holes for me and I just waited for some blocks downfield and I was able to score."
Pleasant Valley still would not go away and tied the game up at 21 all after a 17-yard pass from Leap to Sekou Jones. The Bears drove the ball from their own 34 after the Spartans turned the ball over on downs.
Wyomissing would then tack on a 33-yard field goal from Jonah Bowman to make it a 24-21 contest and then later add a touchdown at the 2:19 mark in the fourth on a Mason Smith 35-yard scamper to the end zone, making it a 31-21 Wyomissing advantage.
The Bears offense answered yet again when Leap hit Romeo, who took it 80 yards down the sideline for the score with just 2:07 remaining. However, time was not on the Bears side and Wyomissing was able to come up with a first down after an unsuccessful onside kick, running out the clock and escaping with the victory.
"I told the guys right after the game that were a better football team from playing in this game today," said Terwilliger. "You hate to lose and you hate to be on this side of it, but I'm real proud of the way the kids played today. It was an outstanding game to coach, I wouldn't have it any other way, and I wouldn't trade my guys for anybody."