Different styles make an interesting football game and although that's what the fans got last night in Panther Valley's 34-21 win over Shenandoah Valley, Blue Devil turnovers really caused the outcome to be in the Panthers' favor.
First, the game was about styles. Shenandoah threw 39 passes for 321 yards, but could only rush for 38 against the Panther defense while PV, utilizing its two-headed monster in quarterback, Kyle Ferryman and running back, Richard Nase, ran for 291 yards. Ironically, Ferryman completed only one pass on the night, an 18 touchdown pass to wideout , Anthony Micholik.
After the Panthers' first possession resulted in a punt, the Blue Devils recovered a PV fumbled punt and then embarked on a 17 play drive that took over nine minutes and into the second quarter. Left with a fourth down at the PV three yard line, Nick Krusinsky booted a field goal to give SV an early lead.
The Panthers (2-5) recovered an onside kick attempt and drove to the Devils' 18 yard line where Ferryman appeared to take off on a running play, but he pulled up to find Micholik in the right corner of the end zone for a PV 6-3 second quarter lead.
Shenandoah's McCole hit his tight end Kayin Herb on a 42 yard run pass and run TD on the ensuing possession. After a Panther drive stalled, McCole lead another scoring drive to give the Blue Devils a 15-6 edge at the half.
"We made some important adjustments at halftime," said PV coach Lon Hazlet. "We showed them a nickel defense and dared them to run the ball. Our kids bought into the adjustments, but I could see a lack of confidence in their eyes based on so many halftime deficits we've been in this year. We needed a spark to get us some momentum going."
The "spark" almost happened immediately. Kicker Mark Williams recovered his own on-side kick to set up the Panther offense at the SV 42, but on fourth down, Ferryman's pass was picked off by Tyler Marnell, who had quite a night for his Devils' offense, catching 13 passes for 161 yards.
Then another spark flickered for Panther Valley as a tipped SV punt gave them a first and ten on the Devils' 17 yard line. Another pass attempt, however, was intercepted and it seemed like PV as going to run out of chances.
The third spark finally caught fire as a SV long snap sailed over their punter's head and was picked up by Kyle Emmert who ran 25 yards for a score to bring PV within two at the eight minute mark of the third quarter.
The blaze continued on the next SV possession when Dylan Moyer intercepted a pass and took it to the house for a 21-15 Panther lead.
"We've been losing the turnover battle all season," said Hazlet. " But turnabout is fair play and tonight we got some payback."
Shenandoah Valley didn't cash it in though, as McCole threw an 11 yard TD strike to Angelo Maskornick to tie the game at the in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. But PV's Nase got around the left edge and scampered 56 yards to pay dirt before Calergo Keo picked off a McCole pass with eight minutes to go. Then on the next Devils' possession, a fourth down pass fell incomplete from the PV 6 yard line. Ferryman ended any chance of a SV comeback with a 94 yard touchdown run with two minutes to play.
"We tried our best to fight back at the end," said SV coach Jeff Maksimik, "but it was too much Ferryman and Nase. They are two great athletes."
"When we got those turnovers," said Hazlet, "the momentum really picked up our kids and they believed they could pull this one out. It was a great second half for us."