The Pleasant Valley football team came out in its season opener and played a great half of football against Lehigh Valley foe Nazareth.
Unfortunately for the Bears, their second half of football was just as eye-opening – but in a bad way.
Pleasant Valley traded blows with the defending District 11 AAAA champ for the entire first half and even took a 28-27 lead into the break. However, the Bears' fell apart in the second half while the Blue Eagles continued to pile up the points. The Eagles scored 23 unanswered points and went on to win by a score of 50-28.
"It was really a tale of two halves," said Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger. "In a game of inches, you really have to scratch, bite and claw for the centimeters. You really have to do the little things to win big football games.
"I thought in the second half we were undisciplined at times and inconsistent with what we did. We didn't take advantage of the things that we took advantage of in the first half and the outcome showed. I thought our kids competed well and played their rear ends off, but you have to do the little things to beat good football teams."
Things started out great for Pleasant Valley. On just the second offensive play of the night, freshman tailback Austyn Borre took his very first varsity handoff and bolted untouched up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown. Borre added a second touchdown right before halftime to give the locals a slim lead. He would finish with 105 yards on 11 carries.
After Pleasant Valley had a field goal blocked on its next possession, Nazareth's Jordan Gray scampered in from three yards out to tie the game. The Bears would retake the lead when Brandon Leap found Tony Bell on a 24-yard touchdown pass, but again saw Gray run in from 26 yards out on the next possession to tie things up.
Leap connected with Andrew Romeo from 17 yards out on the Bears' very next possession as it started to become a track meet between the two offenses. Nazareth kept up when quarterback Parish Simmons hit Anthony Gaetaniello for a 46-yard score just three plays later. Simmons punched it in himself a minute and a half later following a Leap interception to give the Eagles their first lead of the game. The lead didn't make it out of the quarter though, as Borre scored right before the half.
While everyone in Brodheadsville expected a similar, fast-paced second half, it was anything but. The Bears turned it over three more times in the half and never moved the ball past the Eagles' 42-yard-line. Meanwhile, Nazareth added three touchdowns and a field goal en route to the runaway victory.
"The big thing was inconsistency," said Terwilliger. "I saw flashes of great things, and then I saw flashes of things that weren't so great. I thought our kids were more focused at playing defense and we did some nice things. Nazareth is a great offense.
"But we have to shape some things up. Fifty points, I don't care who you are, you aren't going to win a lot of ball games giving that up. We have to take care of that."
Leap had a bittersweet night for Pleasant Valley. He completed 16-of-34 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns, but turned the ball over five times (three interceptions and two fumbles).
The Bears will look to bounce back next week at Dieruff. Until then, Terwilliger and his team will take a hard look at themselves and try to get better in practice.
"The score is the score," Terwilliger said. "We got beat. We will look in the mirror. We are going to work on our weaknesses until they become our strengths. That's what we believe in. I think when we go back and find the things we did well, versus the things we didn't do so well, I think this team will be alright because this group is a bunch of hard workers."