WESTFIELD -- Despite what the 42-21 score might suggest, the Cowanesque Valley Indians football team (2-2) gave the Muncy Indians (3-1) all they could handle here on Friday, Sept. 17, and even held a 21-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter of play.
The Muncy Indians came into the contest as heavy favorites, being the second-ranked Class A team in all of Pennsylvania, but the Indians went blow for blow with Muncy throughout the game.
“When we first got here our defensive knowledge on technique and gap integrity was bad,” CV Head Coach Mike Schmitt said. “Kids didn’t understand how to play defense. But we have been working on the technique and knowledge of how to be a good defense, we are not all the way there but we are getting better. Defense is something we have to fix from our youth league up to our older guys. But toughness is something we have been focusing on from Day one and it is beginning to really start to show itself and I couldn’t be more happy and proud.”
In the first quarter, the Muncy team would strike first as Austin Johnson would rumble through the Indians’ defense, shaking tackles to find the end-zone on a long run to push the score to 7-0 with 4:33 remaining in the quarter.
Just seconds later, Tanyon Brown would make his impact felt on special teams as he caught the ensuing kickoff at the 18-yard line and took it straight up the gut of the Muncy coverage team for the first score for the CV team on the night, and bringing the score to 7-6.
The touchdown was quickly followed by another strong Muncy drive as standout quarterback Branson Eyers would shimmy and shake his way free from the defense and go the distance for a 30-yard touchdown run and give Muncy some breathing room with 1:35 remaining in the first quarter.
Muncy would once again get another score in the second quarter, with Chase Crawley catching a 28-yard fade on the right side of the field for a touchdown to bring the score to 20-6, but the CV team would start to gain traction on offense.
Freshman running back Timmy Freeman would burst up the middle for a big gain and a few plays later catch a screen from quarterback Jacob Schmitt and rumble his way into the endzone for a score with just over five minutes in the half.
Brown would catch the two-point conversion from Schmitt to close the gap to 20-14.
Then with time ticking down in the half, Fletcher Good would haul in one of his three catches on the day and put a spin move on the defender and then break free with nothing but green grass in front of him for the go-ahead touchdown with only 35 seconds left in the half.
The CV team had the Muncy squad completely off-kilter and walked into halftime with a 21-20 advantage and the momentum on their side.
In the second half, the CV defense would open things up by playing inspired football.
Flying to the ball and laying some big hits on the Muncy team throughout as the third quarter was a stalemate, bringing the game into its final frame with the CV team clinging to a 21-20 lead.
The Indians would have their chance to put some distance between them and Muncy, but Fletcher Good couldn’t haul in another big catch in the frame that bounced off his hands and nothing but a wide-open field in front of him and set up Muncy with new life.
On their next possession, they would score on another Eyers’ run, this time from six yards out. Muncy converted the two-point conversion to push the count to 28-21.
Muncy would then score two more touchdowns in the fourth, and 22 unanswered the quarter, with Ty Nixon scoring a rushing touchdown and Johnson scoring a rushing touchdown in the frame, to stop the Indians’ upset bid and win 42-21.
The offense was much cleaner against Muncy than in previous weeks, and after racking up an abundance of penalties last week were able to clean those up in a big game.
Defensively, the unit was led by Mikey Sipps who was flying around the field with 12 tackles on the day.
Sottolano also looked dominant as he pushed the offensive line around and made some big plays in his five tackle performance.
Those two kids are two of the toughest players I have ever coached,” Coach Schmitt said. “They have worked their butts off in the weight room and on the mat in wrestling. They have both overcome injuries in their careers to come back and be better than ever. They are what every football coach in America wants as their team leaders and I would take them over any other players in the NTL. I am glad they are on our side and we don’t have to coach against them.”
The secondary turned in their normally solid day in run-support with Tucker St. Peter recorded seven tackles while Brown and Freeman also recorded five in the effort.
On offense, sophomore quarterback Schmitt was asked to toss the ball around and had 22 completions on 37 attempts racking up 219 yards and one touchdown while also throwing an interception.
Freshman bell-cow running back Freeman was once again a monster running the football and had a team-high in yards with 90 on just 16 carries while also catching four passes for 27 yards and a touchdown.
The receivers were led by their two senior speedsters with St. Peter racking up five catches for 34 yards and Brown catching seven passes for 35 yards while also adding a touchdown on the kickoff return.
Also with a big day catching the ball were freshman Fletcher Good who had three catches for 83 yards and a long touchdown and his brother Elliot Good also caught three balls for 13 yards in the contest.
The toughest section of the schedule is over the CV team, and at 2-2 will have a contest with the CMVT Rams (0-4) on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. in Bloomsburg.
The Indians’ next three contests are against opponents who are currently a combined 1-11 and only one team (Montgomery, 3-1) left of their six games has a winning record.
“We have been talking about each week just trying to go 1-0 so we are at 50% right now that is all I think about,” Coach Schmitt said of the remaining schedule. “Can we take what we learned from the previous week and move forward. We are not a program that can ever take a break and think the next team is an easier road. We will prepare each week to battle our opponents and more importantly ourselves.”