Central Valley conquers Wyomissing again, 7-0, to win PIAA Class-3A title
HERSHEY, PA – The old saying goes that it’s hard to beat the same opponent twice in the same season. Well, Central Valley and Wyomissing weren’t meeting exactly the same season, but the new saying should be that it’s hard to beat the same team twice in back-to-back state championships.
Two undefeated powers, both back to back winning streaks throughout the season, including giving the PIAA champions their only losses of the season, faced off at Hersheypark Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and only one was able to come out victorious.
In a fierce, ground-and-pound defensive battle that didn’t allow a point until the fourth quarter, behind the effort of another 200-yard game effort from Landon Alexander and a stifling defensive performance and call to the A very courageous fourth quarter, Central Valley emerged victorious with a 7-0 victory in the PIAA Class-3A championship.
Central Valley won another state title, once again against the Wyomissing, and extended their winning streak to 27 games.
Central Valley opened the game predictably, using the two-headed monster of Antwon Johnson and Matt Merritt as quarterback for quick draws and relying heavily on Landon Alexander’s powerful runs.
However, after regular training that moved inside the Wyomissing’s 5-meter line, progress stalled. A short placement attempt from Serafino DeSantis was blocked by the Spartans, but Wyomissing was unable to capitalize on a fourth and conversion deep in their own territory.
The second possession for Central Valley continued in a similar fashion to the first, working inside Wyomissing territory with consistent gains – including a 21-yard throw sweep gain from Deniro Simpson. But practice stalled inside the Wyomissing 30, with a Jayvin Thompson catch coming just short of the line to win in fourth.
The second quarter turned into a series of punters, with two solid defensive lines exploding any momentum that tried to be gained on the ground. The Wyomissing Wing T offensive could not gain any ground pace, and Alexander’s strong start (50 yards on first possession) gave way to a series of weak or no gains.
Wyomissing received the ball after a short punt from Central Valley just behind the midfielder, and Spartan’s better half-time position on the field paved the way for promising possession. Wyomissing passed the ball to the Central Valley 40s. With a fourth and eight from the 35-yard line, the Spartans attempted a throw to Thomas Grabowski who exploded in the backfield.
However, neither Central Valley nor were able to line up the end zone before the end of the first half. With just 212 total yards in the first half between the two teams, it was quite a brawl.
Wyomissing and Central Valley traded a punt and another turnover on the downs to open the second half, followed by another Spartans punt, before the Warriors’ best chance of the quarter. With an excellent field position after a short Spartans punt, Alexander moved the ball with authority.
Central Valley again entered the red zone, helped by the first conversion in the air on a connection between Johnson and Thompson, but with a second and a seven on the 11, a jump pass from Merritt was picked up by Grabowski at a hand. grab.
But the Central Valley defense, as it had all the play, forced a quick three and a sixth punt of the Spartans’ contest. And Alexander, perhaps tired of the near misses and turnovers on the downs, thundered 34 yards into Wyomissing territory, and he finished the run with a 28 yard touchdown in which he waited for the last second. to punch a hole in the line and convert a third-and-11 – and much more.
Wyomissing’s Drew Eisenhower immediately brought the Spartans back into the fight, returning the ensuing kickoff 63 yards inside Central Valley 30. Benjamin Zechman’s first end of the game came at just the right time, converting a third and 11 with a 13 yards. throw to enter the red zone.
And on the fourth and the 4-yard line goal, Central Valley’s Sean FitzSimmons crossed the line and forced the ball out of Zechman’s hands to detonate the biggest play of the game and give the ball back to the Warriors in the middle. -path of the fourth quarter.
In practice that followed, with a fourth and one in their 18s with less than four minutes to go, Central Valley head coach Mark Lyons decided to go. And a Merritt quarterback converted one of the bravest calls in PIAA football this season.
Facing a third and six from the 41, Merritt took the snap in the backfield, squeezed through a hole in the line and pushed back a few defenders to cross the line to win and burn more time. But with 20 seconds remaining, Wymossing needed to travel 75 yards to extend or win the game.
Zechman was hit hard in the first down game, the ball slipping out of his hand, but Wyomissing lineman Jven Williams grabbed the ball and scolded for a solid gain. However, with four seconds left, the Spartans couldn’t reach the end zone.
While Central Valley has now won three straight State Championships, the real work begins now. The Warriors will be making the jump to the WPIAL Class-4A football season, and the Warriors have grown too used to winning to stop now.