High school football coaches constantly talk about how turnovers can affect the outcome of a ball game. It's the same quote week in and week out. "Whichever team can win the turnover battle will probably come out on top."
It may be mundane and sports fans might be sick of hearing it, but the fact remains that it's oh so true.
Pleasant Valley found that out the hard way on Friday night, turning the ball over to Stroudsburg four times. The Mounties took advantage, converting the Bears mistakes into multiple scores en route to a 42-15 Mountain Valley Conference victory.
The Bears first drive of the night set the tone for how their evening was going to go. Quarterback Brandon Leap led a well managed 14 play drive down to the Mounties three yard line, but it was what happened on the Bears 15th play of that drive that would be a foreshadowing of things to come.
Leap threw an errant pass on that 15th play and it landed in the hands of Stroudsburg's Rya Liebau, who took the ball out of the end zone and all the way down to the Bears 16-yard line. Mounties running back Gerald Douglas would take care of it from there, rushing the ball four straight times, scoring from four yards out to give Stroudsburg a 7-0 lead.
Pleasant Valley would then turn the ball over on downs on their next possession and Stroudsburg once again took advantage. The Mounties orchestrated a well managed drive of their own and finished strong with another Douglas touchdown, this time from 14 yards out.
The Pleasant Valley offense on their next possession turned it over yet again when Leap threw his second interception on the night. Then around the seven minute mark in the second quarter PV was pinned inside their own five from a nicely placed Stroudsburg punt. The Mounties "D" were able to get to Leap when he dropped back in the end zone to make a pass, causing a safety and increasing their lead to 16-0.
"You look back to the individual plays that were made in this game and we didn't make the plays we needed in order to win tonight," said Pleasant Valley coach Jim Terwilliger. "Credit Stroudsburg because they did a great job, but we just didn't do we what we had to do to be successful tonight."
In the second half the Mounties turned to their workhorse in running back Gerald Douglas. Simply put, the Bears had no answer for him as he rushed for 197 yards on 28 carries. He constantly broke PV tackles all night and showed people why he is revered as one if not the top back in the MVC this season.
"That young man did a heck of a job tonight and he's one good running back," said Terwilliger. "He showcased why he is one of the top backs in our league. We just need to do a better job of tackling and when we hit we need to make more of an impact on the runner. We just didn't do a great job of that tonight."
PV would finally get on the board in third after a 23-0 deficit when Leap found Kevin Cruz for a 29 yard pitch and catch. Cruz was a positive for the Bears on the night as he caught 12 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
Still, the problem on the evening for Pleasant Valley was turnovers. Leap would throw two more interceptions in the second half with one being returned for a touchdown late in the fourth. It just simply wasn't Leap and the Bears night.
"We didn't have the ball that much tonight and when we did we turned it over," said Terwilliger. "I don't care who you are, you can't turn the ball over. We can definitely take some positives away from this game and we'll look at the film and get better, but right now we're all just frustrated with the loss tonight."