Kuehner backs up Bears in week five
A Pleasant Valley football team scoring 49 points is nothing out of the ordinary, especially since the Bears have averaged just over 34 points per game this season.
But the way the Bears got to that total in last Friday's win over Wyomissing was truly extraordinary.
Backup quarterback Brandon Kuehner came on in relief of injured starter Brandon Leap, throwing for over 200 yards and tossing three touchdowns, to give Pleasant Valley a come-from-behind victory over the defending PIAA Class AA champion Spartans.
Kuehner's performance earned the junior TIMES NEWS Football Player of the Week honors, the second time a Pleasant Valley quarterback has earned the distinction this season.
What the Bears' signal caller was able to accomplish in the clutch and on a big stage came as no surprise to Pleasant Valley coach Jim Terwilliger.
"I thought he did a tremendous job of coming in and be able to manufacture yardage and play the game the way it's supposed to be played at the quarterback position," Terwilliger said. "We didn't change our gameplan at all for Brandon because he's a veteran guy and he understands our offense very well and the guys rallied behind him.
"But he had the presence of mind to be able to handle multiple fronts defensively and multiple coverages. Looking back on it, he did a one of the greatest backup performance jobs that a quarterback can do and that speaks to his character. He practices everyday with the thought in mind that he's going to be the guy and that certainly showed in his output on Friday night."
Not only did Kuehner have a solid game statistically, he also performed his best when it mattered the most.
The junior led the Bears to 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 68-yard strike to Nyiem Nevarez and a nifty 55-yard flea flicker to Kevin Cruz that put Pleasant Valley up for good with 4:24 left in the game.
Making plays with the game in the balance is something Terwilliger expects from all of his quarterbacks, starter or not.
"I coach all of our quarterbacks to play on Friday night," the coach said. "I expect great things out of them and the bar does not lower when the next guy comes in.
"This is a quarterback-driven offense. We work tirelessly in the offseason to (have them) develop the recognition of what has to be done at the quarterback position and Brandon did a tremendous job of coming in, picking up where we left off and running the offense the way it should be run."
The preparation certainly helped Kuehner, who was unfazed by an interception on his third pass of the game, to complete six of his last seven throws in the contest.
"I didn't really go into too much depth (with the pick)," Kuehner said. "It was just a play; it just happened. You just have to keep doing what the gameplan calls for."
While the gameplan calls for Leap to return as the starter this week against Pocono Mountain East, Terwilliger takes solace in knowing his football team has one more weapon on deck.
"It gives me peace of mind knowing we have a guy that, if need be, can come in and operate our offense," Terwilliger said. "It gives us a lot of flexibility and another weapon."