Landon Alexander, punishing defense lead Central Valley to state title

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Saturday, December 11, 2021 | 2:44 PM


HERSHEY – Central Valley captured its second consecutive PIAA Class 3A title by defeating Wyomissing, 7-0, in a defensive struggle Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.

Landon Alexander scored on a 28-yard run on third-and-12 with 9:54 left to snap the scoreless tie.

Alexander rushed for 231 yards on 35 carries and in doing so, finished with a school-record 4,160 yards rushing.

“All the credit goes to my offensive line,” Alexander said. “I was trying to stretch it and I wanted to hit it up originally but it wasn’t there, so I kept stretching it. I stretched it to a point where I saw a little crease and I said I have to take it. I got through, broke a tackle and I was off to the races.”

Wyomissing (15-1) had a chance to tie the score after Drew Eisenhower returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards to the Central Valley 28.

Wyomissing, the District 3 champion, was able to reach the Central Valley 3, but on fourth-and-goal, Pitt commit Sean FitzSimmons busted through the Spartans offensive line to sack quarterback Ben Zechman and force a fumble to end the threat with 6:30 left.

“We knew we’d have trouble blocking him,” Wyomissing coach Bob Wolfrum said. “We missed an assignment, and we never got a shot to run the play.”

Wolfrum said the play was a rollout pass.

“Those are plays Sean has been making for four years now,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. “There have been a lot of big performances in the state games and WPIAL games by special athletes. I’m not so sure there has been that type of performance consistently over two years from an interior lineman. He took over the game.

“Coming into this game, I felt the strength of our team all year has been our front six. It was a great matchup with their offense. Playing them last year helped us prepare for their wing-T. We knew their tendencies and were able to recognize what they were trying to do.”

Central Valley (15-0) was able to run off most of the clock after FitzSimmons’ play, converting a fourth-and-1 from its 18 to clinch the win.

“He’s like Sean. He wants to be good,” Lyons said about the game Alexander played. “You can talk about being good. He works at it. He’s a relentless film guy, gets after it at meetings and at the end of the day, he’s so driven.”

It was the second consecutive year that Central Valley has beaten Wyomissing in the finals. The Warriors won 35-21 in 2020.

It was the Warriors’ 27th consecutive win. Next year, they will move up to Class 4A because of increased enrollment.

Central Valley outgained Wyomissing, 313-115, with 296 yards on the ground. Central Valley only allowed 34 yards in the second half.

It was also the first time since Nov. 16, 2017 that Wyomissing was shut out. They lost in the first round of the District 3 Class 3A playoffs to Middletown, 49-0.

“This title feels sweeter,” Lyons said. “You defend it, you get back-to-back. There aren’t a lot of teams that can say that. There are a lot of great things going on with this program.”

It was the lowest-scoring final since Farrell defeated Southern Columbia, 6-0, in Class A in 1995.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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