By Rob Wheary, Staff Writer • firstname.lastname@example.org
HEGINS — The matchup on paper was just about even between the two teams. The final result was just about even, too through the statistics, with one difference.
Williams Valley pulled out the win with just 45.6 seconds left on the clock to give the Vikings a 14-7 victory over crosstown rival Tri-Valley Oct. 21 in Hegins.
Down 7-6 with 4:53 left in the game, Williams Valley put together a 10-play 54-yard drive that was all Dylan Rabuck. The junior running back ran the ball nine times during the drive, eight of them for positive yardage.
With the Vikings having first and 10 on the 15 with time running down, quarterback Levi Engle found Kenny Boyer in the end zone to take the lead 12-7. Engle then completed just his third pass of the night, the two-point conversion to Devon Rabuck and Williams Valley was up by seven with seconds left on the clock.
After getting the ball back on their own 15 and moving up to the Tri-Valley 30, the drive stalled and Williams Valley clinched the victory.
“Both teams played their hearts out tonight,” Williams Valley coach Tim Savage said following the game. “Both coaching staffs are good. It’s like watching yourself play yourself.”
“It was an entertaining game. We had the lead and we just couldn’t hold onto it,” Tri-Valley coach Mike Ulicny said.
The story of the first half was long drives with no results. While the two big running backs in the game, Tri-Valley’s Danny Scheib, and Rebuck were getting the ball, neither could break away for the big runs, giving credit to the defenses of both sides.
Possession changed in the game through either punts or a loss on downs. The only turnover in the first half came when the defense stripped Dylan Rabuck of the ball, giving Tri-Valley the ball on its own 43 yards line. The turnover came, however, with 21 seconds left in the half, not leaving much time to mount any kind of offense.
Momentum came the way of Tri-Valley as they got the ball to start the second half. The kickoff return put the ball on the Bulldog 41 yard line and three plays later, running back Danny Scheib went over the 1,000-yard mark for a 40 yard gain, putting Tri-Valley down to the Williams Valley 12. Scheib then got the Dawgs down to the one-foot line before the next play. Yoder snuck it in from there, putting Tri-Valley up 7-0 with 9:24 left in the third quarter.
Late in the quarter, Williams Valley was driving down the field and made it to the Tri-Valley 36 before Engle threw the game’s only interception, caught by Dawson Schwalm at the Tri-Valley 25.
The Bulldogs’ drive took the game into the fourth quarter before punting the ball away to the Vikings.
With the ball on their own 20, the offense looked to the Rabuck boys for a spark, and it came in spades.
After Dylan Rabuck rushed the ball twice for no gain, Engle found Devon for a 30-yard gain, putting the ball at midfield. The next two play seemed to rev up Dylan’s engine and on third-and-5 at the Tri-Valley 44, he found a hole and made it to the end zone. The Vikings went for two but Engle was just short, putting the score at 7-6 with 9:10 to play.
“I have a young quarterback that I feel is one of the best athletes around,” Savage said of Engle. “He called the bipolar opposite of what I called for a play.”
After Tri-Valley went 23 yards in nine plays, stalling at their own 43 yard-line and forced to punt, Engle got his redemption with the game-winning drive and reception.
“I can only hate him for so long,” Savage joked after the game.
With Williams Valley getting the win, it all but assured them of the top seed in the District XI Class A playoffs. With the class having three qualifiers, the current picture has Tri-Valley hosting Marian on Nov. Nov. 4 with the winner meeting Williams Valley for the district title in Williamstown.
For now, Savage said he would want his players to savor this one.
“I told them to grab some grass or dirt, or just hug their parents and just enjoy this moment,” Savage said.
Ulicny said his team will bounce back and wants another shot at Williams Valley.
“The kids are tough. We just want to get through the next couple of games and stay healthy. We lost the battle but the war isn’t over yet,” Ulicny said following the game.
Williams Valley (8-1) hosts Pine Grove on Oct. 28 in the final regular season game, while Tri-Valley (7-2) travels to East Juniata the same night.
Williams Valley — 0 0 0 14 — 14
Tri-Valley — 0 0 7 0 — 7
TV — Yoder 1-yard run (Stiely kick)
WV — Dy. Rabuck 44-yard run (run failed)
WV — Reed 15-yard pass from Engle (De. Rabuck pass from Engle)
FIRST DOWNS: WV-13, TV-11
RUSHING: WV-41-197, TV-39-189
PASSING: WV-3-9-1, TV-4-11-0
PASSING YARDS: WV-45, TV-22
TOTAL YARDS: WV-242, TV-211
PENALTIES: WV-3-25, TV-4-30
RUSHING: Williams Valley — Dy. Rabuck 31-178, Savage 3-24, Engle 7-(-5). Tri-Valley — Scheib 24-143, Schwalm 8-39, Lucas 5-10, Yoder 2-(-3).
PASSING: Williams Valley — Engle 3-9-1, 45 yards. Tri-Valley — Yoder 4-10-0, 22 yards. Team 0-1-0.
RECEIVING: Williams Valley — De. Rabuck 1-30, Reed 1-15, Savage 1-0. Tri-Valley — Buchanan 2-15, Zigmont 2-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Tri-Valley — Schwalm.