WPIAL Football Team of the Week: Week 2
Monday, September 9, 2019 | 10:21 PM
Last season, the Central Valley football team lost its first four games before rallying to win four of its last five to make the playoffs. The late-season run included a stunning 14-8 upset of previously undefeated and top-ranked Aliquippa in Week 9.
“We were disappointed with how we started the year last season, but sometimes with young players the growing pains take a little longer than you like,” coach Mark Lyons said. “I couldn’t have been more prouder how we were able to rebound in the second half of last year.”
This season, though, Central Valley has flipped the script and hopes its dual personality is a thing of the past.
“This year, our guys knew the importance of getting out of the gates fast,” Lyons said. “But they just didn’t talk about it. They got after it in the summer and at camp.”
After convincing wins over Blackhawk and Quaker Valley in their first two games, the Warriors were set for a tough Class 3A Tri-County West trip to Geneva’s Reeves Field to face fellow unbeaten Beaver Falls.
“We stayed with our game plan and just made subtle adjustments at the half,” Lyons said. “We talked about the importance getting some rhythm in the second half.”
The only score of the first half came when Jalen Guy scored on a 24-yard run in the opening quarter.
“With each carry, Jaylen is growing as ball carrier,” Lyons said. “He is becoming more of downhill runner, making him a physical runner that finishes runs. Jaylen added strength and weight allowing him to run between the tackles with breakaway speed.”
Guy ended up with 75 yards rushing on 17 carries.
After Beaver Falls scored to pull within one point in the third quarter, Central Valley answered when quarterback Ameer Dudley scored from 1-yard.
“Ameer has worked hard in the offseason to become stronger and faster, but his decision-making has grown exponentially,” Lyons said.” Ameer has a passion to be good and make the people around him play well.”
Dudley finished with four completions for 72 yards and the scoring run.
The game’s final score came in the fourth quarter when Matt Merritt connected with Myles Walker on a 9-yard pass to give the Warriors a hard-fought 21-6 victory.
Beaver Falls outgained Central Valley, 236-226, but the Warriors won in the score column.
“Our defense had the mentality of playing the next play,” Lyons said. “They know if they are able to line up anywhere on the field, they have an opportunity to make a big play.
“The guys on that side of the ball are committed to keeping the opposition out of the end zone. That is the only stat we really care about.”
With a pair of top-ranked teams still to come on their schedule — Thomas Jefferson in Week 6 and Aliquippa in Week 9 — the Warriors have a tough nonconference game Friday when they travel to face the No. 2 team in Class AAA, North Catholic.
Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week – Matt Goodlin of Knoch
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.
Tags: Central Valley