Parkland Pulls Away from Pleasant Valley
Orefield, Pa.- The calendar reads November 16. That is typically around the time of year when bears go in to hibernation. Friday night in Orefield, the Bears of Pleasant Valley were nowhere to be found.
Parkland sent Pleasant Valley into hibernation for the winter as they beat them 37-0 and won the District 11 AAAA title.
Pleasant Valley was shaky out of the gate. Led by head coach, Jim Terwilliger, the Bears were pounding the rock early and often through freshman running back Austyn Borre. They found some success with that, but it didn’t amount to any scores. Too often was Borre or junior quarterback, Brandon Leap, finding senior linebacker for Parkland, Xavier Roden in their running holes.
Roden led the charge for the Trojan defense as his name was announced constantly throughout the brisk night stating that he had yet made another tackle. He also had a fumble recovery late in the first quarter.
Pleasant Valley didn’t ever give up as they tried battling all the way to the final whistle. However they just couldn’t sustain any drives, especially when they entered Parkland’s territory. Terwilliger was expressing his reasons to me for the lack of production, “We needed to execute. You can’t turn the ball over in a championship game.” Although the scoreboard looked bleak for the Bears, the well-dressed Terwilliger encouraged his players to hold their heads high throughout the post-game ceremonies.
With an explosive second quarter by Parkland’s offense, capped by the beautiful pass and catch from senior Tim Baranek to senior Jarel Elder, the Trojans essentially put the game out of reach by the time they hit the locker rooms at half. Elder told me after the game how it felt to be able to execute big time plays, “It feels good. We knew coming in that we needed to maximize our big plays and minimize theirs and that is exactly what we did offensively and defensively.” Elder continued to discuss the defenses’ superb effort in the matchup, “Coaches draw up the plays and the schemes and we just execute. We all play at 110% every play.”
Heading out of the locker room to begin the second half with a 24-0 lead the shivering Trojans struggled to get hot again as their offense was shutout by the on and off Pleasant Valley defense. The Bears forced three three-and-outs from the Trojans in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Pleasant Valley the offense couldn’t capitalize and that wasn’t even the worst news of the period. Starting quarterback, Leap, had to leave the game after he came up limping after a rushing attempt. He was seen using crutches on the sidelines for the rest of the game and on the field after the contest. It was confirmed by head coach, Terwilliger, later that Leap had broken his leg on that play.
The fourth quarter was an easy one at that for the Trojans. The starting offense was removed from the game after a quick score for the Trojans courtesy of a 51 yard touchdown run by 5’7”, 155 pound Elder.
A rejoicing Baranek was able to stay humble when I asked him how it felt to be District 11 AAAA champions, “It was a huge win for us. We played tough. We played well. We had some times where we could have executed better. Pleasant Valley played tough. Credit them and their coach for that [as they] were representing their conference in a strong way…it was a big win for us.”
As the amount of time remaining decreased as quick as the temperature outside, the mercy-rule fourth quarter ushered us rapidly into the medal ceremony. While elated family members stormed the field, cameras in hand, ready to capture the moment with their victorious players, there was a lot of sportsmanship going around. Regardless of what the scoreboard displayed, Parkland handled the victory with grace as they refused to score again at the end of the game and with their mature post-game interactions with the Pleasant Valley players.
After pumping up his already exuberant squad Parkland’s head coach, Jim Morgans, talked about Jarel Elder and his squad, “Elder is an outstanding player. I’ve been doing this for a long time and he is definitely in the top five or top ten best players that I’ve coached. He just has a nose for the ball.” While crediting the Bears’ talents, Morgans wasn’t too pleased with the running game, “Well I thought we could have run the ball better today. We want to run the football. Timmy [Baranek] gives us an extra dimension in the running game.”
The Parkland Trojans got to this point by avenging a loss that they got at the hands of Easton during the regular season when the beat them in the opening round of the district playoffs. If they want to keep their 2012 season alive they will need to avenge another regular season loss. This one was the season opening defeat at the hands of Delaware Valley by a score of 37-35. The game will be played, Friday, November 23 at 7pm. The site is to be determined.
11:21- Parkland 17 yard touchdown pass from Baranek to Fuehrer. PAT good– Parkland 10 PV 0
2:31 – Parkland 5 yard rushing touchdown by Baranek. PAT good- Parkland 17 PV 0
1:15 – Parkland 55 yard touchdown pass from Baranek to Elder. PAT good- Parkland 24 PV 0
:55.2- Parkland 44 yard interception return by Elder. PAT good- Parkland 31 PV 0
11:09- Parkland 51 yard rushing touchdown by Elder. PAT no good- Parkland 37 PV 0
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