Conemaugh Township Overcomes Slow Start and Overwhelms Conemaugh Valley
Written by: Phil Myers on Sunday, September 9th, 2018
The first quarter ended deadlocked at 0-0 and the game appeared like it would be an entertainingly close contest. In fact, Valley outplayed Township for the first 12 minutes outgaining them 83 to 42 in total yards. An interception and a short punt propelled the Indians to two second period scores. Then coach Sam Zambanini’s Indians came to life in the second half with a couple small tweaks to their offensive strategy to easily roll by Conemaugh Valley’s Blue Jays 50-6 at Thomas Yewcic Stadium Saturday afternoon.
“We had the methodical slow Saturday start for a Friday night team,” stated Zambanini. “But they (Conemaugh Valley) were doing some good things. They have some good tacklers and athletic guys out there and some big guys plus their coach has them playing and moving in the right direction,” he continued.
Missed opportunities and mistakes haunted the Blue Jays in the first half. One happened in the first quarter. Valley had the ball at Township’s five and appeared ready to score, but the Indians’ Cory Myers stepped in front of a pass in the end zone to keep the home team off the board.
In the second quarter Valley had taken over on downs at their 45 thanks to a muffed punt snap on Township’s part. Three plays gained only 7 yards and Coach Dan Markiewicz elected to punt and pin the Indians deep, but the punt slid off the side of Mason Stoup’s foot travelling only three yards. That gave CT the ball in good field position and they took advantage. Township drove 55 yards in eleven plays for the game’s initial score with only 4:13 remaining in the half.
Quarterback Jordan Poznanski carried six times for 36 yards including his first of his four TD runs, a three yarder. Jordan also hit on all four passes he threw totaling 40 yards. The Indians chocked up 25 yards in penalties on that drive too. Logan Walerysiak tacked on the PAT for the 7-0 Indian lead. But they were not done.
Valley did respond by getting a first down near midfield. With exactly three minutes left Poznanski picked off Bryce McCleester’s pass at the Township 39, returning it to CV’s 29. After Seth Rosey gained four, Poznanski covered the final twenty-five to score his second touchdown with 2:09 left in the second quarter. A defensive penalty on the original PAT moved the ball within two yards of the goal line and Myers punched it in to up Township’s advantage to 15-0, which they took into the half.
The Blue Jays received the second half kick and marched into Indian territory, but Rosey sacked McCleester to thwart that drive. Conemaugh Township begin its initial third quarter possession at their 8-yard line after a penalty. On the first two plays Poznanski ran for 20 and 14 yards. Next, Myers rumbled 33 yards on a screen pass. Finally, Poznanski traversed 25 yards for the score giving the Indians a 22-0 lead.
Coach Zambanini shared his thoughts on why his team was more offensively successful and were gaining big chunks of yards in half two, “We just did a little more perimeter stuff. They were pretty stout up front, and in the middle, and our tackle to tackle stuff wasn’t what it was in the first couple weeks.”
Valley responded with its only touchdown of the game when McCleester found Justin McKenzie for a 34-yard score. That kept the Blue Jays within striking distance down 22-6 and gave their faithful followers hope if they could stop the Indians, but it was not to be as the Township eleven found their stride and continued to run wild.
After the Blue Jays kicked off, Poznanski ran 58 yards to the Valley one where Myers powered into the end zone increasing the lead back to three scores at 29-6. To top off the third period scoring, Poznanski dashed 49 yards on the quarter’s final play putting an end to any comeback thoughts.
In the fourth quarter Rosey pushed the pigskin in on a one-yard run and thereby invoking the Mercy Rule. After a blocked punt by Township’s Rylan Yingling was advanced to the Valley six by Ethan Leasure, Rosey scored again to set the final at 50-6.
Game Notes: Poznanski was the man with 223 yards rushing on 17 carries and 4 touchdowns. He threw for 110 yards by going 8 for 9 including hitting on his first eight passes. Myers caught 5 balls for 97 yards most of which were on screen passes. For Conemaugh Valley, McCleester ended up 8-13-3 with 105 yards and a touchdown. Township ended up with 400 total yards compared to Valley’s 181. The Indians scored on seven of their last nine possessions. They only ran 17 plays in the second half, 6 were for 20 yards or more, and five went for touchdowns.
This writer had only seen a few young ladies play high school football before and they were placekickers. Abby Hoffman played on the offensive line and some on the defensive line for Conemaugh Township. Conemaugh Valley has a nice band for a small school. The 3-0 Indians host Meyersdale next week and the 1-2 Blue Jays travel to Ferndale.
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