Central Valley Brings Home Gold in District

Sunday, November 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Central Valley earned the WPIAL Class AAA title with a 24-7 upset of undefeated Montour Saturday as the sun set on Heinz Field. The Warriors defense stepped up to shut down the high-powered offense of the Spartans to bring home the gold in the district's inaugural season.

The Warriors made a statement early on, facing fourth down just past mid-field. Central Valley lined up to punt but instead Robert Foster tossed a 17-yard pass to Michael Kupper and picked up the first down at the Montour 39-yard line. Central Valley could not capitalize, however, and turned the ball over after QB Matt Bradford was sacked back at the Montour 49-yard line.

The Spartans were unable to convert and the Warriors took over on their own 10-yard line after a punt on fourth down. Penalties plagued Central Valley, and the Warriors found themselves pinned on the 4- yard line. Punting form the shadows of its own goal post, Central Valley's kick took a healthy Montour bounce and the Spartans took over on their own 39.

Working the running game, RB Julian Durden broke loose for a 22-yard pickup. The Spartans went back to Durden, who broke six tackles to find his way into the end zone 24 yards later and put his team up, 7-0.

Montour and Central Valley exchanged possessions early in the second quarter. The Spartans defense came up big with an interception of QB Matt Bradford in the end zone. Montour again could not convert, going three and out, and giving the ball back to Central Valley.

The Warriors broke out the trickery once again with Bradford faking a handoff to Lukas Turley and picking up 12 yards on the QB keeper. Central Valley worked the run to Turley and picked up another first down. Bradford then kept it on an end run for a one-yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7 with 3:29 to go in the second quarter.

After a touchback on the kickoff, Montour started at its own 20, but made no ground and punted to Central Valley once again. Robert Foster picked up the short punt on the Montour 35-yard line and caught the Spartans sleeping. Foster went 35 yards, nearly untouched, into the end zone to put the Warriors up 14-7 with 1:50 to go before the half.

The Spartans tried to make a run before the half but turned the ball over on an interception by Lukas Turley on the Central Valley with one second remaining in the second quarter.

Central Valley got off to a big start in the second half, returning the opening kickoff to the 48-yard line. The Warriors moved the ball to the Montour 44 before facing fourth down and four. Opting to go for it on fourth down, Foster picked up the first down with a five yard run up the middle. Foster's luck on the drive ran out, however, when he fumbled on third down at the Montour 34. Darren Massey recovered for the Spartans.

Montour started the fourth quarter strong, driving into the Central Valley red zone. The Warriors defense stepped up once again, forcing Montour to turn the ball over on downs. Central Valley took over on its own 30-yard line with 9:45 to go in the game.

The Warriors started off the drive with a game-changing play, catching the Spartans defense sleeping once again. QB Bradford connected with Foster for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Central Valley led 21-7 with the score.

Buechel rallied the Spartans offense, completing an 18-yard pass to Aaron Reed to advance to the Central Valley 41. The next pass from Buechel bounced in and out of the hands of Aaron McGee, and the Warriors' Michael Kupper returned the fumble to his own 40.

Central Valley got a key 68-yard run from Davon Clements, putting the Warriors in field goal range. Gregory Nicastro booted it 30 yards through the uprights to put the nail in the coffin of the Spartans.

Central Valley coach Mark Lyons praised his team's effort in a post-game press conference. "It's great to bring a title to the Central Valley community. We got hot at the right time. The combined record of the teams we play was 40-2. Our guys welcomed the playoffs after being in the Parkway. It's something to be able to say we were the first to win a title at this school."

Durden led Montour with 158 rushing yards and one touchdown. Buechel completed 16 of 30 passes for 131 yards and one interception. The Spartans will return 15 starters next season.

Central Valley was led by Clements' 68 yards. Bradford completed two of four passes for 75 yards and one interception.

The Warriors go to (10-) and will move on to face Erie Cathedral Prep in the PIAA Quarterfinals at Veteran's Stadium in Erie next Friday night.

Central Valley 0 14 0 10 24
Montour 0 7 0 0 7

Scoring Summary:
2nd Quarter: Montour – Julian Durden 24 yard run (Lucas Tourney kick) 11:16
Central Valley – Matt Bradford 1 yard run (Gregory Nicastro kick) 3:29
Central Valley – Robert Foster 35 yard punt return (Gregory Nicastro kick) 1:50
4th Quarter: Central Valley – Robert Foster 70 yard pass from Matt Bradford (Gregory Nicastro kick) 9:42
Central Valley – Gregory Nicastro 30 yard

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