Glendale topples rival Moshannon Valley, 29-13|
Saturday, October 13, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
FLINTON - If it weren't enough for the Glendale football team that it had rival Moshannon Valley stepping on their turf at Dr. Roy F. Baker Field for Senior Night on Friday, the Vikings had even a little more reason to get fired up for the game.
Black Knight head coach Michael Keith was making his first return to the field he called his home for the previous three seasons as head coach of the Vikings - and his former team played like it had something to prove.
Led by seniors Damon Braniff and Doug Twigg, Glendale jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back, cruising to a 29-13 win.
"I could tell in the locker room they were ready," said Glendale head coach Matt Irvine, who served as an assistant under Keith last season and also played for him. "I told them it was the first game all year I could look them all in the eye and tell they were all ready to go.
"And being Senior Night against Mo Valley with Coach Keith and Coach (Brett) Kephart coming back, they were ready to go. Ready to stick it to them. I couldn't be more proud of the kids tonight."
Keith expected a strong effort from the Vikings, who certainly looked like they used his return to play inspired football.
"It would be foolish to say they didn't," Keith said. "If you watched the game, you saw they were extremely fired up. That's a credit to them. They played very excitable football. They played a good football game. They played well. They had a lot of momentum to start with and just never let up."
Glendale won the toss and elected to receive, setting up shop at its own 45-yard line after the opening kick.
After an 8-yard Braniff run, Twigg gashed his way for 33 yards to move the ball to the Knight 14. Twigg was thrown for a 3-yard loss by Jake Ludwig on the next play, but Braniff carried the next three times, his last a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings on the board.
The Vikings got the ball back at their own 33 just four plays later when they recovered a Mo Valley fumble.
Glendale couldn't do anything with the ball and had to punt it back to the Black Knights, who once again turned it over. But this time, it set the Vikings up in the red zone at the Mo Valley 19.
Chris Wilson and Shea O'Donnell sacked Knight quarterback Tanner Dipko on back-to-back plays. O'Donnell jarred the ball loose on his sack and recovered the fumble at the 19.
Two plays later, Braniff was in the end zone again, scoring on a 17-yard jaunt to give the hosts a 14-0 lead with 4:04 to play in the opening quarter.
Mo Valley went three-and-out on its next possession, but Ludwig boomed a 53-yard punt to pin the Vikings deep in their own end at the 7-yard line.
Ludwig followed that effort with a fumble recovery three plays later when he ripped the ball from quarterback Gary Witherow's hands, giving the Knights prime field position at the Viking 7-yard line.
Three Caleb Campbell running plays later, the Black Knights were on the board.
Campbell's 2-yard run and James Stodart's PAT closed the gap to 14-7 just four seconds into the second quarter.
Mo Valley forced Glendale to punt on its next series, taking over on its 20-yard line.
But a pair of negative plays, including another O'Donnell sack put the Knights in the shadow of their own goal post, staring at a fourth-and-20 from the 10-yard line.
Ludwig lined up for the kick, but the snap sailed over his head and by the time the Knight punter got control of the football, Wilson had him in his grasp in the back of the end zone.
The safety gave Glendale a 16-7 advantage with 7:27 to go in the quarter. It also gave the Vikings the ball back after a Mo Valley free kick.
Glendale started the drive in Knight territory at the 45 and needed just seven plays to punch the ball across the goal line.
Braniff had the payoff on an 18-yard run where he went around, over and through nearly the entire Black Knight defense before diving for the pylon.
Derrian Matchock added his third extra point of the night to give Glendale a 23-7 lead with 4:44 to go in the half.
Braniff had 102 yards and three scores on 16 punishing first-half carries.
"He stepped up. I'm proud of him for stepping up," Irvine said of Braniff. "He went down with an injury, but he came right back and didn't really slow down after that. He fought hard, and he wanted it tonight. I hope he keeps that feeling and the fire he has right now for the rest of the year."
Glendale had 149 yards of offense in the first half, while the Viking defense held the Black Knights to no yards.
Mo Valley had 19 passing yards, but was stuffed for negative-19 yards on the ground. The Black Knights finished the game with negative-8 yards rushing.
"We had some problems up front early," Keith said. "I keep harping on this, but until we correct that and get some type of running game we're not going to be a great football team until that happens. We have no offense because we're pass-heavy."
The Vikings upped their advantage to 29-7 midway through the third quarter when Twigg took an option pitch from Witherow and scampered 65 yards for a score.
Twigg raced down the sideline in front of the Black Knight bench, getting a final block from Sam Troxell to spring him for the score.
Braniff was injured during the drive and left the game for a couple Viking possessions. Twigg was hurt on his touchdown run and didn't return.
Stodart blocked the extra point, then scored a touchdown 14 seconds later when he hauled in a 58-yard pass from Dipko on a slant route.
His PAT attempt sailed wide left, however, making the score 29-13 with 5:29 to go in the third quarter.
The touchdown pass was the first, first down of the second half for Mo Valley and just the second of the game.
"(Coach Keith) took the offense from here and took it to Mo Valley, so we knew what they were going to bring to us," Irvine said. "The defense wanted to stuff everybody. They didn't want to give up anything, and they did that the first half.
"In the second half, we slipped a little bit, but we'll take the outcome."
Mo Valley drove inside the Viking 20-yard line on its final two possessions of the game, but came up empty on both occasions.
The Knights were stopped on fourth down on the first drive, and Witherow intercepted Eric Sherkel in the end zone to snuff out Mo Valley's last gasp and give Irvine some bragging rights over Keith.
"You always want to win in a situation like this," Irvine said. "I thank the kids for stepping up. This is something that Michael and I will talk about over the summer. You never want to be on the bottom of this one, so I thank the kids for that.
"They gave 100 percent, everything they had. They were focused and played with heart and went full speed all the time. I challenged them to do that before the game, and they did."
Braniff ended the contest with 120 yards on 23 carries, while Twigg added 92 yards on six totes.
"Braniff and Twigg are two of the best players in the ICC," Keith said. "You're never going to stop them, you have to contain them, and they both got loose a couple times."
Mo Valley dropped to 4-3 and hosts Williamsburg on Friday.
The Vikings improved to 5-2 and travel to Juniata Valley before going on the road to face Bellwood-Antis.
"(Coach Irvine) is doing a great job," Keith said. "They're 5-2, But they have a tough road to hoe the next two weeks. I wish them the best. I hope they win out. I would love to see them play well."
EXTRA POINTS: Glendale had 13 first downs to Mo Valley's 5 ... Dipko and Sherkel combined to complete eight passes for 134 yards for Mo Valley ... Stodart hauled in three balls for 75 yards ... The first half was penalty free, but each team was whistled for two infractions in the second half ... Eight of Mo Valley's 20 first-half plays went for negative yardage, and only one - a 24-yard Dipko run - covered more than 3 yards.
Moshannon Valley 13
Score By Quarters
Mo Valley 0 7 6 0-13
Glendale 14 9 6 0-29
G-Braniff 3 run, (Matchock kick), 9:07.
G-Braniff 17 run, (Matchock kick), 4:04.
MV-Campbell 2 run, (Stodart kick), 11:56.
G-Safety, Wilson tackled Ludwig in end zone, 7:27.
G-Braniff 18 run, (Matchock kick), 4:44.
G-Twigg 65 run, (kick blocked), 5:43.
MV-Stodart 58 pass from Dipko, (kick failed), 5:29.
Total First Downs 5 13
Rushes-Yards 26-(-8) 46-255
Comp-Att-Int 8-21-1 3-12-0
Passing Yards 134 16
Total Plays-Yards 47-126 58-271
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1
Punts-Avg 5-35.6 6-29
Penalties-Yards 2-15 2-22
Moshannon Valley-Ludwig 9-20, Sherkel 3-7, Campbell 5-0, Dipko 7-(-13), Team 2-(-22).
Glendale-Braniff 23-120, Twigg 6-92, Witherow 14-45, Team 3-(-2).
Moshannon Valley-Dipko 4-of-12, 85 yds., 1 TD; Sherkel 4-of-9, 49 yds., 1 Int.
Glendale-Witherow 3-of-12, 16 yds.
Moshannon Valley-Stodart 3-75, Stewart 2-34, Campbell 2-21, Bailey 1-4.
Glendale-Twigg 1-8, O'Donnell 1-6, Bantly 1-2.