NAZARETH - Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger knew it was going to be tough sledding in his team's season-opening game with Nazareth.
As tough as he thought it was going to be, he probably never fathomed that it would be as bad as it was.
Nazareth scored on its first seven possessions of the night and went on to beat up on Pleasant Valley, 61-20 in non-conference play. The Blue Eagles needed just 20 total plays to score their first seven touchdowns, including scoring plays of 42, 84, 41 and 45 yards. Meanwhile, the Bears totaled just 172 yards of total offense on the night and didn't offer must competition until midway through the fourth quarter.
"When it comes down to it, our football teams needs to improve in all areas," said Terwilliger. "It was the first night for a lot of guys and we knew it was going to take some time to gel. We have a young group of guys, a whole new offense and a whole new defense, and we knew it was going to take some time.
"The bottom line is that we have to get better. The only way to get better is to keep playing. We will take this one tonight and evaluate the film and try to get better."
The Eagles' quarterback Dan Harding had one night to remember. Harding had his hand in six of his team's first seven touchdowns. He threw for scores of 42, 84, 41 and 45 yards and ended the night 11-for-12 for 282 yards. His only incompletion came on a dropped pass in the endzone.
Harding also ran in two other scores. He scampered in from 29 and 14 yards out and totaled 49 yards on three carries.
Meanwhile, the Bears could muster only 52 yards of total offense in the first half. The only bright spot for the locals came in the form of Rob Getz's 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Getz later caught an 11-yard touchdown as well.
Troy Verway started at quarterback for Pleasant Valley in the absence of starter Brandon Leap. Leap is out for about three weeks with a broken left hand. Verway did okay in his first career start, as he finished 11-for-22 with 103 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His two touchdown throws came in the fourth quarter when he threw for consecutive scores of 11 and 32 yards. Corey Campbell, who finished with four receptions, hauled in the second touchdown.
"I told Troy to prepare as if he were a starter," Terwilliger said. "Troy has to learn. He is a senior guy with no varsity experience, so it is a learning experience for him. He is going to learn how to play at a different level. He started to get better at the end of the game and as he feels more comfortable he will grow and improve. Hopefully it is sooner than later."
The Bears started last season with a lop-sided loss to Nazareth and rebounded quickly in the form of eight-straight wins. They will need to do a lot of work if they want to do that again in 2011.