Braves beat down Schuylkill Valley in opener
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LEESPORT, Pa. – On a chilly season-opening September night, it took a quarter for Octorara to warm up, but once the Braves did, they were off and running. Octorara built a 14-3 half-time lead and rolled to a 40-10 victory over Schuylkill Valley on Friday night in the first contest of the 2020 campaign for both schools.
Both teams were held scoreless in a speedy first quarter. The lone scoring opportunity was a missed 30-yard field goal attempt.
The momentum began for the Braves on special teams. Under 10 minutes to go in the second quarter and Octorara punted, but the ball bounced off Schuylkill Valley and was recovered by Weston Stoltzfus of Octorara to give them new life. Octorara capitalized later that ensuing possession with a one-yard rush by Mike Trainor to make it 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion.
The Braves worked their way down the field on their next drive as well and finished with a five-yard pass from Stoltzfus to Caleb Rising for a touchdown. Following a two-point conversion, it was 14-3 in favor of the visiting Braves.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard before halftime. Following a deep pass and catch from Schuylkill Valley’s Drew Campbell to Nate Schaeffer, Brian Heffner connected on a 38-yard field goal to make it 14-3 at the half.
Octorara began to run away in the second half, as the Braves tallied 26 unanswered points over the final two periods of play. Among those second half scoring plays was a 55-yard scamper by Stoltzfus for a score and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Paul Murray.
The Panthers brought that streak to a halt late in the fourth quarter when they found the endzone for the lone time on Friday night. Chanz Stevens recorded the rushing touchdown.
The win was a welcomed start for Octorara, who went 2-8 a year ago.
Next week, Schuylkill Valley travels to take on Kutztown. Octorara returns home to host Northern Lebanon.
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