Knights collar Bulldogs|
Saturday, October 6, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
AMESVILLE - In a season and a half as a varsity starter, Moshannon Valley's Kent Stewart has made his share of plays.
No two plays were bigger in Friday's contest with Claysburg-Kimmel at the Moshannon Valley Athletic Complex than a pair that Stewart made to put last week's 56-7 defeat to Juniata Valley in the rear-view mirror.
Stewart's double move resulted in the first score of the contest, while his forced fumble in the third quarter accounted for the second of his team's three touchdowns in a 21-0 dominating defensive performance.
"That was big because that was our only offensive score until the end of the game," said Mo Valley head coach Michael Keith of Stewart's reception. "He's a good kid and he plays his butt off every down. It's the same with all of these kids.
"Where we're not blessed with a lot of speed, we're blessed with a lot of heart, and they played their hearts out."
A pair of breakups by freshman cornerback Eric Sherkel on third- and fourth-and-goal thwarted the Bulldogs' first drive, which encompassed 19 plays and 62 yards, while Justin Kitko - Mo Valley's other cornerback - picked off a Trey Claar pass in the end zone to make up for an offense that found the sledding tough against Claysburg-Kimmel's defense.
The Bulldogs forced a three-and-out on Mo Valley's first series, while pouncing on a fumble at the Knight 27 before Sherkel and Kitko worked their magic.
"Defensively, we played excellent," Keith said. "If you take their first drive away - we made an adjustment here and there - defensively, you couldn't ask for a better game. Kitko stepped up with an interception in the end zone, and it was a huge play.
"It's big going forward, knowing that your defense can man up like that, and that was all-around. They had no rushing yards after the first drive and our secondary played well. We were asking a lot of them by playing man-to-man coverage. We don't consider (Sherkel) a freshman anymore. He's a player, he's an athlete and that's why he's playing."
Stewart's first big play came after a Claysburg-Kimmel drive stalled once more in Mo Valley territory, as quarterback Tanner Dipko found a wide-open, streaking target who raced 54 yards to paydirt.
James Stodart added the first of his three PATs to give Mo Valley a 7-0 cushion at the half.
Keith made a halftime adjustment to put further pressure on Claar, and Stewart and Stodart were the main beneficiaries.
Both had multiple sacks in the contest with one of Stewart's forcing a fumble that Stodart returned 39 yards for a touchdown.
Claar rolled out to his left and didn't see Stewart coming from his backside. By the time Claar got to his feet, Stodart was crossing the goal line for the Knights' second score.
"It was huge for them," said Claysburg-Kimmel head coach Joey Kitt. "It was a big momentum swing in the game because they were able to get another score on us. It was a big play on their part, and they did what they were supposed to do - they picked it up and took it in. It changed the momentum of the game."
Defense ruled most of the second half as well with the teams combining for just three first downs in a quarter and a half.
The harassing Knight front forced Claar to make some quick decisions. When the Bulldog southpaw had time to throw, he was able to find some open receivers to the tune of eight completions for 127 yards.
Claar spent more time on his backside, however, as Stewart, Stodart, Austin Mital, Jack Bunnell and Kameron Swoope applied constant pressure.
After Sherkel snuffed out the Bulldogs' opening series, the visitors could only muster 2.6 yards per play on their final 52 snaps.
"We put a little wrinkle in at halftime where we sent both of our ends," Keith said, "and it paid off. They lived in the backfield, and it seemed like we were throwing (Claar) for a loss every other play.
"Football is a game of momentum. Once you get that, we just feed off it."
Claysburg-Kimmel's Zach Helsel ran for 43 yards on 13 carries during his team's opening drive, but could only add 13 yards to that number on his next 11 carries.
Late in the game, Claar stopped the clock on first down before being sacked on two of the final three plays his team ran.
Mo Valley's Jake Ludwig capitalized on the turnover on downs, as he ran 20 yards for a score on the next play to cap the scoring with 48.4 seconds to play.
"We had opportunities down there by the goal line on several occasions," said Kitt. "We had some penalties and turned the ball over with some terrible blocking. Those things were a disaster for us and that's a credit to their defense, too. They stood up when they had to.
"They started getting all kinds of penetration and really screwed things up for us. We couldn't pick their ends up ... and it's really not a good game at all played by us.
"I thought we could move the ball better against them, and we didn't. I thought we could run the ball inside better and we just couldn't. They did a good job up front. We didn't block well and that's the story of the game."
Stewart finished the contest with four catches for 82 yards, while Ludwig rushed 14 times for 75 yards. Dipko completed 8 of 19 passes for 123 yards - which was his sixth 100-yard game this season - for the Knights, who travel to face Glendale on Friday.
"Our offense is going to come," Keith said. "We just have to keep working. ... We left a lot of plays on the field tonight, a couple big plays. We had them and we left them on the field, and you can't do that. That's why I say it's still a work in progress. We'll just keep plugging away at it."
EXTRA POINTS: Claysburg-Kimmel, which fell to 1-5 with its fifth straight loss, gained just 71 yards in the second half on 34 plays. ... The Bulldogs have scored just six points in their last eight quarters, including last week's 37-6 loss against the Vikings. ... Sherkel entered the game at quarterback in the third quarter and gained 25 yards on third-and-22. ... Stodart finished the contest with a pair of receptions for 37 yards, while Devin Weyandt hauled in four passes for 87 yards to lead the Bulldogs. ... Claysburg-Kimmel entertains Williamsburg on Friday. ... Dipko and Cayenne Lantz were named Homecoming King and Queen in a pregame ceremony.
Moshannon Valley 21
Score By Quarters
Claysburg-Kimmel 0 0 0 0- 0
Moshannon Valley 0 7 7 7-21
MV-Stewart 54 pass from Dipko, (Stodart kick), 5:04.
MV-Stodart 39 fumble return, (Stodart kick), 6:55.
MV-Ludwig 20 run, (Stodart kick), :48.4.
Total First Downs 14 9
Rushes-Yards 41-46 31-108
Comp-Att-Int 10-30-3 8-21-1
Passing Yards 152 123
Total Plays-Yards 71-198 52-231
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-1
Punts-Avg 5-29.6 6-33.2
Penalties-Yards 2-10 7-40
Claysburg-Kimmel-Helsel 24-56, Claar 12-(-18), Weyandt 2-7, Pant 1-4, Cowher 1-2, Brown 1-(-5).
Moshannon Valley-Ludwig 14-75, Sherkel 4-25, Campbell 3-19, Bailey 3-15, Kitko 1-(-2), Dipko 6-(-24).
Claysburg-Kimmel-Claar 8-of-24 127 yds., 3 Int.; Helsel 2-of-4, 25 yds.; Team 0-of-2.
Moshannon Valley-Dipko 8-of-19, 123 yds., TD, Int; Sherkel 0-of-2.
Claysburg-Kimmel-Weyandt 4-87, Mountain 3-38, Helsel 1-16, Brown 1-7, Claar 1-4.
Moshannon Valley-Stewart 4-82, Stodart 2-37, Kitko 1-5, Ludwig 1-(-1).