Irving, Bears rout Indians
Pat Deutsch/Special to the TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Rich Irving tries to pick up extra yardage by stiff arming Lehighton's Mitchell Moyer.
As a former quarterback, Pleasant Valley's Jim Terwilliger knows the importance of having a quality receiver.
On Friday, the Bears' mentor also found out it doesn't hurt to have one as a head coach.
Senior Rich Irving hauled in nine catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns Friday night, leading PV to a lopsided 42-6 victory over visiting Lehighton in both teams' Mountain Valley Conference opener.
But it wasn't just the numbers that were impressive, it was the way Irving achieved his stats that had people talking.
The six-footer pulled in balls over his head, many times out-jumping Indian defenders. He made diving grabs and also accumulated plenty of yards after the catch.
"I know from experience how receivers can go up and make great plays," said Terwilliger, whose team improved to 3-1. "That was cartainly the deal tonight with Richie. He stepped up and made plays. He did a great job."
With the Bears, however, the passing attack is just half of the story on offense.
A solid running attack, led by Rob Getz, makes PV a balanced team that gives opposing defensive coordinators fits.
"The whole offensive unit was on and when we're on we're hard to beat," said Irving. "It's a team effort.
"Our offense is tough to stop and we have a lot of weapons. If they double-cover me someone else is going to be open."
Irving had three catches in the Bears' first scoring drive, which was capped with a Dekimbe Smith five-yard touchdown run.
On the first play of the second quarter, the winners upped their margin to 14-0 when Getz broke free for a 47-yard scamper.
Lehighton (2-2) tried to build some momentum while cutting into the lead, but a long 12-play drive midway through that second frame came to an adrupt hault when PV sacked Josh Agosto and forced a fumble. The Bears recovered on their 20 and they were never threatened the rest of the evening.
"We didn't play well enough to win," said Indian head coach George Ebbert. "That's the bottom line. They came out here and smacked us in the mouth and we didn't respond.
"Our offense didn't click in the beginning and we never got into a rhythm. We had that one drive in the second quarter but we turned it over."
Pleasant Valley, on the other hand, seemed to be doing everything right.
The hosts turned a somewhat close game into a comfortable advantage before the half. Taking over on their own 44 with 32 seconds until the break, Bear quarterback Derrik Walling hit Irving on back-to-back plays to reach the end zone. The second catch was a sliding one in the end zone that made the score 21-0.
"That's their offense," said Ebbert. "They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. We just didn't respond. They outplayed us in every facet of the game."
PV put the game out of reach after the break. The offense, which piled up 444 yards, used another Walling-to-Irving hookup to get on the board. That tally went for 27 yards in which Irving went up and took the ball away from the defense.
"Derrik threw it up there and I just knew I had to go get it," said Irving. "We've been friends for a long time and we have that bond out there but tonight we were really clicking."
"One thing that those two guys have is a chemistry," said Terwilliger. "They know what's going on in each others minds and thay can manipulate the plays and make them happen on the field."
Later in the frame, Walling (12-of-16 for 208 yards) went up top to Brent Golat for a 15-yard touchdown throw and a 35-0 cushion. Dean Bumbulsky capped the PV scoring with a 50-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The Indians, who lost one of their top players Jacen Nalesnik to a wrist injury, avoided a shutout late when Giuseppe Caruso hit paydirt from five yards out.