Bears cash in against Tribe
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Rob Getz breaks to the outside on his way to a first half touchdown.
A loan from the soccer team paid big dividends for the Pleasant Valley football team.
The defense then made sure the Bears were able to cash it in for a victory.
When the bottom line was tallied, Pleasant Valley benefitted from a huge second half windfall to post a 37-15 Mountain Valley Conference victory over Lehighton on Friday.
"We're stressing everything being positive this year," said PV rookie coach Jim Terwilliger. "Even though we were trailing at halftime, we stayed upbeat and positive.
"Our kids then came out and did a great job in the second half. We're going to embrace this and build on it. A win like this can be a tremendous learning experience for our kids."
Trailing 15-14 at intermission, Pleasant Valley's offense had several opportunities to take over the game.
The Bears had the ball deep in Indian territory on their first three possessions of the second half. But each time, the drive fizzled.
Fortunately for Pleasant Valley, it has a weapon to salvage drives that go bad.
Ryan Habick, a member of the Bear soccer team who Terwilliger said "just picked up kicking" this year, drilled field goals of 40, 36 and 30 yards to put Pleasant Valley on top 23-15 early in the fourth quarter.
"We left some points on the field offensively in the second half, but Ryan came through to pick us up," said Terwilliger. "He has a powerful leg and really gives us a nice weapon.
"I have all the confidence in the world in him, so there was no hesitation to put him out there for those kicks."
Despite Habick's accurate leg, the lack of touchdowns by the Bears' offense kept the game in doubt until the final minutes..
The Pleasant Valley defense made sure it never became an issue.
"We played great assignment football, especially in the second half," said Terwilliger. "We never lost focus."
The numbers back up Terwilliger's statement.
In the second half, Lehighton ran 23 plays from scrimmage and gained a total of just 33 yards. The Indians had seven second half possessions and picked up a first down on just one of them.
"Give Pleasant Valley credit. They did a great job," said Lehighton coach George Ebbert. "We tried a lot of different things, but we just couldn't generate any offense in the second half. Their defense really shut us down."
The defensive dominance by the Bears finally led to a touchdown that put the game away.
After forcing a Lehighton punt from deep in its own territory, Pleasant Valley took over at the Lehighton 30-yard line.
A 12-yard run by Rob Getz put PV in the red zone. On a third-and-nine play, quarterback Derrick Walling found David Dalmas in the corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown and a 30-15 lead with just 4:52 remaining in the game.
On Lehighton's next play from scrimmage, Rich Irving picked off a JT Keer pass and returned it 30 yards for the game's final score.
"Pleasant Valley outplayed us in the second half," said Ebbert. "We had some momentum going into halftime after Billy [Angst] returned the kick [96 yards] for a touchdown.
"But we were never able to build on it. Their kicker hit some long field goals to give them momentum and their defense made sure we could never answer back."
The teams had traded scores in the opening half as Getz ripped off scoring runs of 24 and 65 yards for the Bears and Lehighton countered with an eight-yard Keer to Tim Sulzer TD pass and Angst's kickoff return.
But in the second half, all Pleasant Valley's investments seem to pay off while Lehighton went bankrupt.