Panther Valley head coach Lon Hazlet said earlier this week that in order to stay in the game with Schuylkill Valley they had to limit their big plays.
Schuylkill Valley was coming into their contest against Panther Valley with 15 out of 22 starters returning from last year's AA District 3 playoff squad and over 3,500 yards of total offense between their quarterback and two running backs.
So it's safe to say that coach Hazlet's game plan was the right one.
Unfortunately, for Panther Valley that game plan didn't exactly work out the way they wanted. Schuylkill Valley racked up 400 yards on the ground, averaging almost 10 yards a carry, en route to a 54-28 victory on Friday night at Panther Stadium.
"That's a real good football team we lost to tonight and they're everything they're built to be,"said Hazlet. "They have two extremely talented running backs and we had plans to stop them and we didn't. Those backs ran with power all night and it looks like they both could squat 400 pounds with the way they drive their legs. Schuylkill Valley is a good program and you have to credit them for the way they came out and played tonight."
The Schuylkill Valley running attack didn't waste anytime getting into the end zone. Ryan Matthews got Schuylkill Valley on the board first with an 11-yard dash up the middle. Panther Valley actually had the lead for a brief time in the ball game when on their following possession PV quarterback Matthew Levitt hit Devon Dillard on a 35-yard strike to give the Panthers a 7-6 advantage. Dillard mad ea nice play going up and over a Schuylkill Valley defender to give Panther Valley the lead.
The PV lead was short lived however, as Schuylkill Valley quarterback Kyle Beissel threw a bomb of his own to 6-3 215 pound target Adam Drumgoole for a 68-yard touchdown. Then running back Eryk Cerankowski would get in on the fun for SV with a 42-yard scamper up the sidelines for a score. Schuylkill Valley then forced Panther Valley into a game of catch up when a Levitt pass from his own seven yard line was tipped by Tanner Mish and was then intercepted by Nick Scheidt, who took the ball into the end zone.
It was evident from the onset that Panther Valley didn't have an answer for the Schuylkill Valley rushers. Cerankowski tallied 139 yards and two scores, Scheidt had 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Matthews collected 92 yards and a score.
"We came ready to play tonight," said Schuylkill Valley coach Jeff Chillot. "This is not the same team we faced last year and we knew that coming in. We knew they were going to play physical, but our guys just did a great job of executing tonight. We were able to make some big plays and we did a good job of responding to their early score. We got them in a position where we had them chasing us a bit and then we just controlled the tempo of the game from then on."
The Panthers showed glimpses of big play ability on the night with some long passing plays, which is something positive Hazlet and his staff can take away from a tough football game against an even tougher opponent.
"The kids played hard and our goal is to get better everyday," said Hazlet. "We had hoped to play better tonight, but we didn't, so we're going to get back to work and get better."