Late touchdown lifts PV
patrick deutsch/times news Pleasant Valley's Dekimbe Smith (24) powers into the end zone for a touchdowns against East Stroudsburg South.
As Derrik Walling's pass hung in the air, the Pleasant Valley fan base held its collective breath.
In perhaps the Bears' biggest game of the last decade, it all came down to one play with 22 seconds left. The Bears, who had trailed and fought back three different times throughout the night, found themselves on the East Stroudsburg South 13-yard-line down by a single point.
Walling sat in shot-gun, took the snap, looked over the middle and let it fly.
"I just prayed to God that (Rob) Getz would catch it," said Walling. "And in the back of my mind I knew he would. This was one of the craziest games I have ever been a part of."
Meanwhile, in the back of the end zone, Getz found himself wide open between three Cavaliers defenders with the ball coming right at him.
"I just told myself to make the play," said Getz. "I've been there before. That's what I do. I score touchdowns. It was just like any other catch."
As Getz hauled in the pass, the Pleasant Valley sports complex erupted into cheers. Pleasant Valley would hang on for the remaining 18 seconds and knocked off East Stroudsburg South for the first time since 2004, 40-35.
With one more win over either Pocono Mountain East or Stroudsburg, the Bears would guarantee themselves the Mountain Valley Conference championship."I have seen that ball go up many times in practice," said Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger. "I've seen it many of times go up as a player. That is something we practice often.
"To be able to do it when it meant something - it's a heck of a play. Those two guys executed. I've seen it a million times in my head and it worked just like it did on the field."
East Stroudsburg opened up strong and scored twice within the first three and a half minutes. After Mike Carmella, the Cavs' quarterback, ran it in from 48 yards out, the Bears fumbled away the ensuing kickoff. Four plays later Carmella found Matt Walters for a 22 yard score.
Pleasant Valley responded with back-to-back scores from Dekimbe Smith and Rich Irving. Smith would finish with three touchdowns on the night. All three came from inside the five-yard-line.
South took a 21-14 lead into the break, but watched as Walling came out on fire in the second half. The left-hander completed his first seven passes and led his Bears on consecutive scoring drives to take a 28-21 lead. It was the first time this season that South had trailed to a MVC team.
Things turned quickly though, as the Cavs scored twice within a minute to retake the lead. Still, the Bears responded and drove 65 yards in 13 plays to tie the game with 2:23 remaining.
Instead of playing for the tie, Terwilliger decided to go for the win. The Bears ran a play-action slant, but Irving couldn't hang as he had a defender draped all over him.
"We were in it to win it," said Terwilliger. "I told the guys that if there was a shot to be fired tonight I was going to shoot it. If I didn't go for two there, I would be lying to them. We were going to play for the win."
Pleasant Valley failed to recover the onside kick and placed all of the pressure on its defense. Much like they have all year, the Bears answered the call. The defense stuffed the Cavs on four straight running plays, including a fourth-and-two stuff by Gabe Everret.
The Bears got the ball back on their own 48 with 1:32 to go. Walling hit on four passes, and despite an 18-yard holding call, got the ball back to the 13. On third down, Walling hit Getz and won the game.
"It's a great feeling," said Terwilliger. "The feeling that sticks in my head is the fact that our guys, no matter what happened, played the game. They fought through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That's the way it is supposed to be and I am proud of them for that."