High school football notebook: Once-woeful Valley makes quick progress
TribLIVE Sports Videos
On Monday, Valley first-year coach Chad Walsh welcomed his second child into the world — Tyler Joseph.
In a year or so, Walsh might be helping the new baby walk.
Walsh's football team has had a much quicker progression when it comes to development. And the Vikings haven't taken baby steps. They've sprinted to a 4-2 start, bringing optimism to the program for the first time in years.
“I think it started in camp when we went (to Slippery Rock University),” Walsh said. “We had kids who didn't talk to each other last year hanging out. They have bought in. They believe they can win now. There's not a lot of ‘I' going on any more. They pick each other up.”
Valley, which dropped to Class AA this season, hasn't had a winning season or made the WPIAL playoffs since 2008 when it went 7-3.
Since then, Valley is 7-26, with four of those wins coming in the past six weeks.
To think a team that started the season on a 22-game losing streak could have five wins by mid-October is almost unfathomable.
Valley (4-2, 3-2 Allegheny Conference) hosts Summit Academy (2-4, 1-4) tonight.
“Everyone's glad to come to practice and work,” said Valley senior linebacker Dale Lasko, a fourth-year starter. “Everyone's putting everything into it. We're having fun again.”
There's no doubt that the recent return of starters Jaden Walker (RB), Devin Houser (DE) and Dylan Clarke (LB) have given the team a boost. But Walsh thinks the team is clicking schematically, as well.
“We're running the ball well, which has opened the pass some, and our secondary has been more disciplined,” he said. “My assistant coaches have been excellent and have helped make my job easier.”
Valley is in fourth place in the Allegheny Conference with three conference games remaining. The top four teams in each conference make the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
“We're knocking on that door; now we have to take care of business,” Walsh said. “It's been great to see people filling the stands again. Our student section is filling up, and the kids stormed the field twice.”
Quarterback Ty Matthews will sit tonight because he had his appendix out this week. Dan Farinelli or Chaz Cheatham will start.
When Burrell's Cole Bush, Springdale's Sean Dugan, Knoch's Mike Cunningham and Highlands' Allan Cratsenberg posed for the cover photo of the Valley News Dispatch football preview tabloid this summer, they were lauded for their skills as linebackers.
Turns out, they have been just as effective — perhaps even more so — on offense.
Bush has rushed for an A-K best 1,186 yards and 20 touchdowns; Dugan has 995 rushing yards and has cleared the 3,000-yard mark for his career; Cunningham has been a solid complementary and big-play back to Ben Tackett; and Cratsenberg has passed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, run for two scores and caught passes for 284 yards.
Highlands didn't take long to score last week against Derry.
The Golden Rams put up five touchdowns, and none of the scoring drives took more than two plays in a 41-13 win.
In addition, all of the drives took less than a minute. Totaled, Highlands only needed eight plays and 2:32 to score five times.
Burrell senior quarterback James Liput (concussion) will not play Friday against Ford City. Junior Cody Wolfe, who relieved Liput late in the first quarter last week against Freeport, will get his first start.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Comeau’s hat trick leads Penguins; Crosby reaches career points
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Pregnant woman struck by van in North Side dies; doctors save baby
- Amusement parks fight off home entertainment threat
- Fatal crash closes Flight 93 chapel in Somerset County
- Pitt plays best game of the season; routs Kansas State
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Police on hunt for suspects in unrelated Penn Township, Manor cases
- Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
- PIT wants non-passengers allowed past security to shop
- Western Pa. business owners urge shoppers to think small