WESTFIELD — If you asked Cowanesque Valley Head Coach at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season what his teams’ record would be after seven weeks, 5-2 would most certainly not be his response.
But on Friday, Oct. 8, on their home field, the Cowanesque Valley Indians (5-2) completely dominated the Wyalusing Rams (2-5) by a score of 32-0 as the Indians continued to roll in a historic season for the program as they picked up their fifth victory of the year.
“I’ll tell you what, last week, I was upset,” Coach Schmitt said. “After the game, I felt like we could have done better and my dad said to me ‘Hey if I told you that you would be 4-2 when the season started would you be okay with that?’ And I said yes sir and he said ‘Okay, shut up.’”
Coming into their matchup with Wyalusing, the Indians didn’t let up and used another big start to jump out to a huge lead.
In the first quarter, the Indians would come up with a big stop on the Rams first drive and start their dominant first quarter as the Indians pounded the ball down the field on their first drive for 41 yards and was capped off by a five-yard touchdown from freshman running back Timmy Freeman to push the score to 6-0 with 7:31 left in the half.
The Rams almost answered immediately, as Arnold took the ensuing kickoff in for a touchdown, but a flag would nullify the play, a theme that would occur often for Wyalusing as mistakes, penalties and miscues constantly put them into less than advantageous situations throughout the night.
On that same offense possession for the Rams, CV senior Tucker St. Peter would make his presence felt in a game where he was all over the field on both sides of the ball, and after the defense forced a punt St. Peter would put the moves on and take it 76 yards to the house for a second touchdown for the Indians in the frame after Freeman went into the end zone untouched on the two-point conversion the Indians would find themselves up 14-0 less than six minutes into the game.
CV would get one more touchdown in the frame and after another stalled drive for Wyalusing with a big play called back on yet another flag, CV would get the ball at midfield.
CV would get behind the sticks and be forced into a third and long, but the hero of the game St. Peter, who seemed to make a play anytime it was needed, made a huge catch for 20 yards to keep the drive alive.
After a Tanyon Brown catch picked up another first down and inched the Indians closer, Freeman would do what he does best as he plummeted into the endzone up the middle from 10 yards out to give the Indians a big 20-0 lead with only 1:22 left in the first quarter.
The CV offense would cool off in the third quarter, with both teams trading possessions and the Rams coming up with a few big stops on fourth down, but St. Peter would breathe some life into the Indians as he stepped in front of Blake Morningstar pass for an interception that he took down the 15-yard-line for his first of three picks on the day.
“I had noticed his wind-up that he has which is a pretty distinct wind-up, like a baseball player,” St. Peter said. “So when I would see him the wind, I knew it was pretty clear what he was going to do, so I jumped it.”
CV wouldn’t be able to convert as they went for it on fourth down once again and failed, and the Rams would drive the distance of the field on the back of some deep pass plays.
But with time dwindling, the Rams failed to get into the endzone as the ball dropped off the hands of Kashawn Cameron to keep the Indians’ lead at 20-0 at the half.
After trading possessions to open the half, the Rams would try to convert on fourth down to no avail, setting up the Indians with excellent field position deep in their opponent’s territory.
After a St. Peter reception and a few Freeman runs, the Indians would get it down to the one where the rumbling running back Freeman could not and would not be denied as he scored his third touchdown of the game from one yard out to give the Indians a lead of 26-0 with 3:49 left in the frame.
On the very next drive, the Indians would suck the life out of the Rams as St. Peter was able to grab another interception off Morningstar and the offense would finish things off as Brown was able to get open across the middle and catch a touchdown in the back of the endzone on a pass from quarterback Jacob Schmitt with 42 seconds left in the half to push the score to the final mark of 32-0.
In the fourth quarter, the Rams’ frustration would boil over as Brian Arnold would be ejected during the contest when a fight broke out. A play later the Rams continued to show their frustration with some more after-play aggression, but the game was settled out after some discussion.
The Indians would continue to completely shut down the Rams offense and cruised into the final buzzer with their fifth win of the year, a mark that would total their combined wins from the last six seasons.
The defense continued to prove to be a solid unit, with the secondary once again ball-hawking while the defensive line had the Rams Morningstar under fire all night long.
They forced four turnovers with St. Peter grabbed three interceptions in the contest while also coming up with two tackles and a handful of deflections from the secondary.
The front seven for the Indians also won the battle in the trenches by a large margin, as the unit led by Mikey Sipps pitched a shutout and Sipps covered from the sideline to sideline racking 11 tackles with one for a loss.
Freeman added six tackles while Brown and Sottolano each had four with Sottolano being a complete force in the middle and getting a tackle for loss along with a large number of pressures.
Carter Ackley also added three tackles and a sack and Schmitt also had a sack, an interception, and three tackles in the win for an impressive defensive outing for the Indians.
“We just practiced all week, we saw on film that the quarterback is definitely right-hand heavy but we also worked on a lot of scramble drills,” Coach Schmitt said. “The kids did a pretty good job and we threw in a couple of zone blitzes where we picked him up and kind of confused him, so we knew what was coming and they did a good job of executing that and it was one of the first times as a group we were able to adjust on the clock.”
Though the defense stole the show in the win, the offense was once again potent, scoring over 30 points for the second time this season and topping 20 points for the fifth time of the year.
Schmitt was able to connect on half of his attempts in the contest for 13 completions, 149 yards and a touchdown while also picking up 20 yards on the ground.
Brown, the master of the fake-punt-pass, was also able to complete one of two attempts for 35 yards through the air for a big first down while also catching four balls for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Brown now has 30 catches through seven games for 406 yards and three touchdowns this season and for his career sits with some impressive totals with 82 career catches for 1135 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns.
The x-factor in the contest was none other than senior St. Peter, who was impressive on special teams, returning a punt for a 76-yard touchdown, on defense, where he racked up three interceptions and two tackles, and on offense where he led his team in catches with five and receiving yards with 81 and it seemed every time CV needed a big play, he was the one to make it happen in the win.
“We all know he’s just a great athlete,” Coach Schmitt said of the impressive play from the senior. “He’s a smart kid and another great quality young man. We took him away from that quarterback position after his injury last year to allow him to be that guy with his athleticism and he’s done a great job in accepting that role, and he’s exciting.”
Since moving from quarterback to receiver this offseason, St. Peter has been extremely impressive, especially over his past two games.
The senior has now racked up 30 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown and over his past three games has been on fire, hauling in 14 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown for the Indians.
“I feel like I’m finally getting comfortable,” St. Peter said of his recent spike in production at the receiver position. “I thought Jake (Schmitt) did a great job growing the ball tonight. And I think Coach did a great job on plays.”
Also with a big game was none other than ‘Freight Train’ Freeman, who lived up to his billing as he took 27 carries for 137 yards and three touchdowns and averaged over five yards per attempt.
Through his first seven games, Freeman has now racked up 765 yards on 5.9 yards-per-carry and has four 100-yard games and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
He also has 10 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown this season and has put himself in the discussion as the best back in the Northern Tier League as only a freshman.
The Indians who are now winners of two straight had their Homecoming contest on Friday, Oct. 15 against CMVT (0-7) at 7 p.m., canceled as they look for a new opponent for this weekend.
“It’s an interesting feeling because we’ve never felt this before,” St. Peter said of the teams’ 5-2 record. “We haven’t won anything since like peewee football. So it’s helping us get through practices and keep up going and helping the whole team be better. The leadership on this team is just amazing and even the underclassmen are stepping up and realizing they got to listen to the older guys and they’re just doing their job.”
With only three games (if they find a game this weekend) left on the schedule, the players and coaches agree, the goal is to win every week and take each contest as they come to be the best they can by the end of the year.
“That’s all I care about right now,” Coach Schmitt said. “We just want to win next week… We are still working on getting that sustainability,” Coach Schmitt said. “Not just hitting the peaks and the valleys. Being consistent from start to finish. So we saw a little bit of that I thought.”