Dieruff edges Pleasant Valley
Jared Salazar tries to get past a Dieruff defender during Friday’s game in Brodheadsville. BOB SHANK/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
The matchup might not have been between unbeaten teams, but the excitement it produced was worthy of that type of game.
Despite the fact that Dieruff and Pleasant Valley were both searching for their initial victory of the season, the teams battled down to the final minute before the Huskies escaped with a 27-26 win on Friday night.
The Bears scored twice in the fourth quarter, the second time on a seven-yard pass from Jack Stephens to Ryan Blass with 52 seconds left in the game to bring them to within a point. But they then fell a yard short on a two-point conversion running play up the middle and the valiant comeback ran out of time.
“There was no decision to be made ... we were going for two,” said Pleasant Valley coach, Blaec Saeger. “I knew with eight minutes to go in the third quarter this is what we’d do if it came down to going for the win. I’d do it 1,000 times again. We had a great play called, but give credit to Dieruff. They made the stop.”
Pleasant Valley dominated the clock and the offensive line of scrimmage, but gave up a big pass play and two long kick off returns by the Huskies.
In the first half, the Bears ran 25 plays from scrimmage and tallied 16 first downs for the game, but still fell a point short at the end.
On the first play of the game, Dieruff quarterback, Marc Castro picked up a snap that sailed over his head and found Josh Wynn down the sideline for a pass and run 80 yard score.
In the second quarter, the Huskies drove 73 yards in just three plays and scored on a seven yard run by Jovan Rodriguez.
Down 13-0, the Bears finished a five play drive when Stephens hit Blass in the back of the end zone.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Alejandro Valderamma broke tackles and ran down the sideline for an 85 yard return giving his team a 20-7 lead at the half.
At the start of the third quarter, the Bears executed a masterful 11-play, five-minute drive on hard running from Robert Papaleo and Jared Salazar, who hit pay dirt from five yards out.
But déjà vu struck the Bears when Valderamma again took the kickoff 85 yards to put the Cougars up 27-13.
“We can’t allow the big plays,” said Saeger. “We’re basically a running team and we work hard finishing long drives, but to give up the big pass play and the two kick returns really hurt us.”
After pulling to within a touchdown on a 37-yard run Papaleo late in the third quarter, the Bears made a huge conversion with under five minutes to go in the game to keep their hopes alive. On and a fourth-and-six from their own 44, Stephens hit Blass who kept his feet in bounds on the sideline for a first down. Runs by Salazar and Papaleo then set up the TD pass to Blass that pulled PV to within a point.
BIG NIGHTS ... Salazar lugged the rock 29 times for 151 yard while Papaleo finished the night with107 yards on 16 carries.
BLASS HITS THE GAS ... Bears’ wide receiver, Ryan Blass had a big night catching four balls for 75 yards and returning a kick off for another 42.
THE FIRST AND THE LAST ... The Huskies scored on the first play and the last play of the first half taking the wind out of the home crowds’ sails, but the Bears fought back valiantly and fell one yard short from giving Saeger his first win at Pleasant Valley.