HS FOOTBALL: Valley View Ousts Coughlin
BLAKELY — A balanced rushing attack and a stifling defense proved the ticket to the District 2 Class 4A final for No. 3 Valley View.
Seth Vernon led the ground game with 175 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and the defense bottled up Coughlin (5-7) star Vincent Todd to roll to a 40-7 in the semifinal Friday night at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Cougars (9-3) will face top-seeded Berwick, who defeated No. 4 North Pocono, 48-14, in the championship.
Valley View took the opening kickoff and needed just five plays to travel 65 yards for a touchdown.
Vernon pushed the ball into Coughlin territory, rushing for 28 yards on three carries before quarterback Chandler Fuller kept it and darted for a 32-yard score to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead with 9:55 in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Valley View had no answer for Todd, as he had three rushes for 11, 15 and 23 yards, the last went for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 7-6 edge with 6:59 in the first.
A few possessions later, the Cougars forced a three-and-out, and got pressure on the punter, forcing a short kick and good field position.
Vernon took over as Valley View went exclusively to the running back on four straight plays.
Vernon capped the drive on the fourth handoff with a 17-yard touchdown as the Cougars reclaimed the lead, 12-7 with 2:31 in the first.
On the next drive, the defense contained Todd to force another three-and-out, and the Cougars took over on their 33.
Valley View then turned to Mason Kordish who proved the workhorse of 67-yard touchdown drive.
He carried eight times for 49 yards, capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on third-and-1.
“We’re able to keep all our tailbacks fresh and our quarterback is a good runner for us,” Valley View coach George Howanitz said. “The credit really has to go to our offensive line. Our offensive has played so well over the last seven or eight weeks. We’re averaging I think 300, 400 yards a game rushing.”
On Coughlin’s next possession, Valley View’s Chase Combs came up with a huge open-field tackle of Todd on third down to force a punt.
“I thought the defense played well,” Howanitz said. “We knew that we all had to tackle number two (Todd). We had a couple breakdowns where he just made some guys miss, but didn’t give him any big plays.”
After a fumble in the red zone on the ensuing drive, the Cougars defense stepped up again, forcing another three-and-out.
The low snap on the punt dribbled past Cole Horan who could only fall on it at Coughlin’s 3.
Fuller capitalized with a touchdown pass to Janaasah Boone with 2.1 seconds before the end of the half to give Valley View a 26-7 lead.
Looking to get something going in the third quarter, Todd scrambled, evaded Valley View defenders and broke free on third-and-14 to get the ball to the 50 for a first down.
But the Cougars knocked the Crusaders back with a tackle for a loss followed by a sack, where Todd walked off the field with an injury.
“Vincent is a great kid,” Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. “He gives it his all.”
He would miss the next where Garrett Wardle replaced him and threw an interception to Combs who returned it 33 yards.
The pick set up another Kordish touchdown.
Traon Jones ended the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run.
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