Ellwood City-Valley football game halted early after bench-clearing brawl

Saturday, September 30, 2017 | 12:15 AM

If you were in attendance at Valley Memorial Stadium, it wasn't hard to see the frustration that boiled over for the Valley Vikings as they dropped a nonconference matchup to Ellwood City, 20-18, on Friday night.

A bench-clearing brawl ended the game with 1:41 to play. With the score 20-12 late in the fourth quarter, Valley junior running back Deonte Ross scored on a 16-yard run to bring the score to 20-18. Junior quarterback Tyler Green's pass fell incomplete on the 2-point conversion.

Valley attempted an onside kick, and Ellwood City (2-3) recovered.

Soon after, the benches emptied as players on the field exchanged punches. The officials and coaches broke up the players. After a brief delay, with the police on the field, Valley coach Muzzy Colosimo and Ellwood City coach Nick Hand agreed to end the game.

“Well, somebody threw a punch at one of our kids, and our kids won't back down and it's wrong,” Colosimo said. “This is why we get the penalties we get because anytime something happens, we react.”

Hand declined to comment. Valley has two players who were ejected and will not be able to play next week. Colosimo declined to identify the players who will be ineligible.

The Vikings (1-4) entered the half up 6-0 courtesy of a 21-yard touchdown run by Ross, who finished with 11 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite the loss, Colosimo was pleased with the performance by Ross, who briefly left the game in the third quarter due to an injury

“He's been doing it all year,” Colosimo said “He's a tough kid. He's a great player.”

Valley began the second half on the wrong foot, and frustration began to mount.

Ellwood City received the second-half kickoff and senior receiver Luca Botti took it 78 yards for a touchdown to give Ellwood City the lead. Valley began their next offensive series on the Ellwood City 38 thanks to a few penalties on the kickoff. On first-and-10, Green was intercepted by senior defensive back Andrew O'Brien.

Two separate fourth-down penalties on Valley, one offside and one roughing the kicker, kept the Ellwood City drive alive.

The Wolverines took advantage, with freshman quarterback Ryan Gibbons throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass to senior fullback Toby Kelly for a 14-6 lead.

Valley turned the ball over on its ensuing possession and Ellwood City recovered a fumble at the Valley 1. O'Brien scored on the next play with a 1-yard run around the left side that made the score 20-6.

The Valley defense stepped up late in the game. After a bad snap on a punt by Valley, Ellwood City took over at the Valley 22.

On fourth-and-10, Valley junior cornerback Elijah Jackson intercepted an O'Brien pass to bring new life into the Vikings.

“They stepped up,” Colosimo said of his defense. “I can honestly say our kids never quit. They played hard the whole way through. It was frustration, but it was frustration that was caused by other things.”

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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