Cougars blank Mountaineers
DALLAS — There was still plenty of football left to be played Friday night and that one big momentum shift had yet to happen.
However, in the span of 21 seconds in the third quarter, Valley View checked both boxes.
Jaden Duplessis had just hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game to put the Cougars ahead by two scores, but by no means had they put Dallas away.
Then, Zack Kovalchik came up with the play that did.
Kovalchik returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown, and with it, helped the Cougars take a commanding lead in a 33-0 victory over Dallas in a nonconference high school football game.
Valley View improves to 8-0, and owns victories over Wyoming Valley Conference foes Berwick and Dallas. Dallas drops to 7-1, and must regroup quickly for a trip to Berwick next week.
Kovalchik’s interception return put the Cougars ahead, 19-0, but with as well as the Valley View defense was playing in the second half, the lead appeared insurmountable.
Valley View held Dallas to minus-11 yards rushing in the second half, and minus-6 yards total. On the other side, the Cougars finished with 344 yards rushing and 473 yards of total offense.
“We just told the kids at halftime that we needed to do a little better job tackling,” Valley View coach George Howanitz said. “We made a couple of mistakes on pass routes, but we pressured them more in the second half. We have been in these big games before. I thought it showed.”
The Cougars took a 6-0 lead when Duplessis hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Janaasah Boone with 8:29 left in the second quarter.
Dallas took the ensuing drive and marched to the Valley View 3. But an offside penalty pushed the ball back five yards, a negative rush and incomplete pass then followed. Ultimately, the Mountaineers were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal attempt that was botched, and the Mountaineers came away empty.
“Credit to (Valley View),” Dallas coach Rich Mannello said. “They kicked our butts. That is a good football team. I think getting a touchdown on that drive would have helped us get going. We didn’t get it, but we have to handle it. I thought Valley View did a great job.”
Valley View scored on the first drive of the third quarter when Duplessis hooked up with Boone on a 16-yard pass play on a fourth down call. Kovalchik’s interception soon followed.
“I thought we wore them down a bit in the second half,” Howanitz said. “The kids did a nice job blocking and opened up the holes. The defense did a great job shutting them down. I think kids going one-way paid dividends in the second half.
Valley View running back Mason Kordish rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the second half, and finished the night with 208 yards rushing.
“He is just so tough, you can’t tackle him,” Howanitz said of Kordish. “He is always sideways, and he is shifty. He has good enough speed to break away when he has to.”
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Valley View’s Mason Kordish runs through the Dallas defense.
Valley View quarterback Janaasah Boone reacts after the Cougars shut out Dallas, 33-0, to continue their undefeated season.
Valley View’s Jaden Duplessis hauls in a pass over Dallas’ Matt Maransky for a touchdown during Friday’s game.