HARD KNOCKS: Williams Valley dismisses Line Mountain from the unbeaten ranksWritten by: Josh Funk on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
MANDATA, Pa. – Before even coaching a game in Tower City, first-year head coach Tim Savage had already generated talk about his Williams Valley Vikings. He had decided to move 1,100-yard rusher Owen Daniel to wide receiver.
“I caught a lot of grief for doing that – you have no idea,” Savage admitted.
Turns out that Savage’s preseason hunch is paying dividends for the Vikings. Line Mountain might well be wishing the Viking boss hadn’t thought outside the box.
Between rushing, receiving and special teams, Daniel amassed more than 280 yards and scored three long touchdowns as Williams Valley (4-0 overall, 3-0 Tri-Valley League) rolled off 22 unanswered points to quell host Line Mountain (3-1, 2-1 TVL), 35-28, Saturday evening from Glenn Ressler Field at Eagles Stadium in Mandata.
Truth be told, Daniel always envisioned himself playing wide receiver. In fact, it was his dream position to play.
“I was curious about getting to play wide receiver – all of the time when I was younger, that was what I wanted to be,” Daniel said.
But Saturday night, Daniel found himself being the proverbial dagger being stabbed repeatedly into Line Mountain’s Tri-Valley League dominance.
Daniel’s two touchdown receptions – spanning 22 yards in the second quarter and 79 yards in the third, were part of a stretch in which WV outscored Line Mountain 22-0 between the second to fourth quarters. He finished with 158 yards on six receptions, carried twice for 43 yards, including a 46-yard toss sweep to set up the Vikings’ final touchdown, and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown after Line Mountain had jumped to an early 7-0 lead.
“It (the momentum) turned when they had that kickoff return for the touchdown,” said Eagles’ first-year head coach Rodney Knock. “They (Williams Valley) deserve a lot of credit. They played well.”
It didn’t start out well for the guest Vikings, as junior field general Stephen Sedesse was intercepted by the Eagles’ Cory Warford, resulting in a 34-yard return for a touchdown. Warford would also provide the Eagles a 14-7 lead with a 31-yard run later in the first period.
But Sedesse didn’t get down.
“My teammates had real confidence in me and my receivers made a lot of plays – I just had to throw the ball to them and they made plays,” Sedesse said. “I give all the credit to my line. I didn’t face any pressure all game long.”
Sedesse staying upright all night long was the complete opposite for Eagle starter Cole Rickert. Battling a nagging ankle injury from the previous week against Juniata, Rickert started the game watching from the sideline for a play. He then entered the game on the Eagles’ second play from scrimmage, but Rickert’s final Homecoming game was cut short.
On an option keeper in the second quarter following recovery of a Viking fumbled punt return, Rickert reaggravated the ankle injury and sat out the rest of the game, trading his helmet and pads for a blue jacket. Fellow senior Codi Morris was forced into the game.
“We preach here: ‘Next guy up, do your job,’” Knock said.
Morris did. He completed his first pass attempt to Jeremy Renn for a 60-yard touchdown and a 21-13 Eagle lead. He also found Renn for a 56-yard scoring connection to bring the hosts to within seven in the fourth quarter. In all, Morris threw for 132 yards, completing 4-of-6 passes and rushed for 14 more yards on seven carries.
“As a coach, I couldn’t ask for more out of him,” Knock said. “He did exactly what we preach – step up. And he didn’t turn the ball over. He can run our offense just as good (as Rickert). He showed that tonight.”
Only a comeback wasn’t destined to be in the Eagles’ cards. Williams Valley got the ball back with 7:12 remaining in regulation, and soon found themselves forced to punt. Only WV never gave up possession. Line Mountain was flagged for a roughing the kicker penalty, giving the Vikings a first down.
A steady diet of Cole Barnhardt later, the Eagles found themselves out of timeouts and facing a fourth-and-8 if it opted to decline a WV holding penalty. The Eagles chose to accept the foul, which enabled Barnhardt to post a 14-yard run on third down and drain more clock. Sedesse lobbed a rainbow to the end zone for Daniel, but the Eagles were flagged for pass interference. Line Mountain never saw the ball again after Renn’s second touchdown reception.
“This is huge for us – Line Mountain has been the program in the TVL for years,” Savage said. “This win is monumental for us and for our program.”
Sedesse admitted he’s looking toward bigger goals for both himself and the Vikings, like a run in the District 11 and possibly state playoffs, too.
“We can be right up in there,” Sedesse said.
You might just call it a hunch.
NOTES: Prior to the start of Saturday’s game, Glenn Ressler was honored as the field at Eagles Stadium was named in his honor. Ressler, a graduate of Mahanoy Joint High School, was a 1964 Maxwell Award winner along the offensive line at Penn State and played 125 games in his NFL career, including being a member of the Baltimore Colts’ Super Bowl V championship team. Mahanoy Joint operated as a high school until 1966. Line Mountain formed in 1967…..Barnhardt, Williams Valley’s featured tailback, finished with 98 yards on 30 carries and caught three passes for 52 yards, scoring two touchdowns…….the 50/50 drawing at halftime yielded the night’s prize winner (from Williams Valley, ironically) a whopping $1,395……Williams Valley turned the ball over three times – twice via fumbles and the opening interception. Line Mountain’s Nick Strohecker recovered both Viking fumbles while forcing one.
Williams Valley 7 14 6 8 – 35
Line Mountain 14 7 0 7 – 28
LM – Cory Warford 34 interception return (Austin Snyder kick)
WV – Owen Daniel 80 kickoff return (Stephen Sedesse kick)
LM – Warford 31 run (Snyder kick)
WV – Cole Barnhardt 15 pass from Sedesse (pass failed)
LM – Jeremy Renn 60 pass from Codi Morris (Snyder kick)
WV – Daniel 22 pass from Sedesse (Tim Schorr pass from Sedesse)
WV – Daniel 79 pass from Sedesse (pass failed)
WV – Barnhardt 2 run (Daniel pass from Sedesse)
LM – Renn 56 pass from Morris (Snyder kick)
Rushes-yds 33-143 38-125
Passing 12-16-1 8-12-0
Passing yds 220 152
Total offense 363 277
1st downs 14 11
Penalties 4-40 5-52
Turnovers 3 0
RUSHING: Williams Valley: Cole Barnhardt 30-98 TD; Owen Daniel 2-43; Trevor Whelski 2-2. Line Mountain: Cory Warford 13-98 TD; Austin Snyder 6-18; Dillan Michael 9-minus-1; Cole Rickert 3-minus-5; Codi Morris 7-14.
PASSING: Williams Valley: Stephen Sedesse 12-16-1-220 3 TD. Line Mountain: Morris 4-6-0-135 2 TD; Rickert 4-5-0-17; Michael 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Williams Valley: Daniel 6-158 2 TD; Barnhardt 3-52 TD; Brendan Miller 1-7; Tim Schorr 1-1; Ryan Hand 1-0. Line Mountain: Jeremy Renn 4-132 2 TD; Michael 2-13; Erik Smeltz 2-6.
Share This Post: