Valley's Houser runs wild in win over Deer Lakes
Looking like someone was maneuvering him with a video game controller, Valley senior running back Demetrius Houser juked and jived his way to a career night.
In the Allegheny Conference opener, “Meech” was out of reach.
Houser rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries as Valley opened the season with a ground-attack-led yet penalty-riddled 42-16 win over Deer Lakes on Friday night at Lancers Stadium.
Valley (1-0, 1-0) committed 22 penalties for 190 yards but rushed for 448 yards and built a cushion on the scoreboard that allowed the penalties to sit on the back burner.
Deer Lakes (0-1, 0-1) was hoping to help first-year coach T.J. Wiley and his staff to their first win. Instead, the Lancers' young defense seemed to wear down as Valley pounded the football and broke big plays.
Houser scored on runs of 76, 21 and 60 yards.
“A lot of that was poor tackling on our part,” Wiley said. “But you can't take anything away from Houser. The kid has so much natural talent. He's a freak.”
A 1,200-yard, first-team all-conference back as a junior, Houser said all the right things, too, crediting his line like a featured back usually does.
“My linemen stepped it up,” he said. “They have worked hard all (offseason) and they told me if I run hard like I can, they'd do their part.
“I want to score every time I touch the ball.”
Although Houser's effort was the postgame buzz, the penalties could not be overlooked.
Valley has rival Burrell next week, and a lackluster effort could cost the upstart Vikings.
“It's ridiculous and uncalled for,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said. “We were undisciplined. The kids have to act like they have been here before.”
Valley held Deer Lakes to zero rushing yards in the first half while gaining 279 on the ground.
“They were keeping everyone in the box, but we were able to get to the outside,” Walsh said. “It seemed like they sold out on our leads.”
Houser picked up 168 yards across the first two quarters as Valley took a 28-9 lead into halftime.
“The scoreboard didn't indicate how this game was played,” Wiley said. “We're young and teaching the basic things from top to bottom, and the kids are learning. Valley's team speed neutralized us.”
Pushed forward with the help of penalties, Deer Lakes drove to the Valley 5 early in the second half but turned the ball over on downs.
“If we get in there, it's 28-15 and a new ballgame,” Wiley said. “We score there, it's on.”
Valley quarterback Ty Matthews had two touchdown runs — the first set up by a 64-yard completion to sophomore Tyson Hill — and Dylan Clarke scored on a 45-yard burst on the second play of the game for the Vikings.
Deer Lakes' highlights:
• Mark Febinger scored on a 75-yard kick return to get the Lancers within 13-6.
• Soccer player Matt McCausland, playing his first varsity game, hit a 36-yard field goal late in the second quarter.
• Mike McGrath returned a fumble 16 yards for a score late in the fourth.
Devin Houser added 62 yards rushing for Valley.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.