Bear 'D' comes up big against Wyomissing
With Pleasant Valley trailing Wyomissing 38-28 with 7:41 left in the fourth quarter, all eyes were on backup quarterback Brandon Kuehner.
The Bears' junior signal caller was forced into action midway through the second quarter after record-setting QB Brandon Leap went down with an eye injury.
Kuehner stepped in and stepped up, leading Pleasant Valley to 21 unanswered points, propelling the Bears to a wild 49-38 win over nonleague foe Wyomissing.
"You don't always know that you're going to be playing in the game, but you just have to prepare like you're the starter," Kuehner said. "When something happens, you just have to be able to come in and run the offense."
Not only did Kuehner run the offense, he took control of a unit that needed big plays late in the game and delivered, throwing touchdowns of 68 and 55 yards, respectively, in the final six minutes of the contest and finished with 228-yards and three touchdowns in relief of Leap.
The Bears led 21-12 going into halftime, but quickly found themselves in a hole after the intermission, as the Spartans reeled off 19 straight points to take a 31-21 lead near the end of the third quarter.
The late deficit didn't worry Kuehner, who knew his team would charge back.
"Honestly, that's just how our team is," the junior said. "It's just the confidence and the energy of our team; we never feel like we're going to lose a game. That's one thing that's really special about our team, we never feel like we're out of it.
"We always feel like we have a chance in the game an never give up. When we make plays, things happen."
The Wyomissing offense was making things happen with its Wing-T attack until the decisive fourth quarter, frequently putting a Bears' defense that had only allowed six points over the last two weeks on their heels.
The Spartans piled up 251 yards on the ground, led by Thomas Paolini's 83-yards on eight carries. The dynamic junior tailback came out of the game in the second half with a leg injury before returning late in the contest.
The turning point for the Bears' defense came on a fourth-and-one at the Pleasant Valley 24-yard line with just over a minute to go in the contest.
Trailing 42-38, Wyomissing had one last chance to move the chains push the ball deeper into PV territory with a win hanging in the balance.
As junior tailback Caleb Naylor took the ball up the gut, he was met by a host of Bears' defenders, driving him back to the line of scrimmage and effective ending the Spartans last chance at a comeback.
The ability to overcome Wyomissing's physical offensive unit and withstand its relentless pressure late into the fourth quarter is something Bears' coach Jim Terwilliger knows his team will be able to build on later in the season.
"Our defense has been outstanding all year and they faced a heck of an attack from Wyomissing tonight," the coach said. "They're a very good football team, winning the (Class AA) state championship last year and they showed why they're so good tonight.
"But our defense came up with a stop when we needed it. They played inspired that last drive and those things will lead to victories down the road."