Vikings defense stymies Bucs in battle of rivals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The balance of power in a rivalry thought to be losing its touch shifted sides as Valley set up an impassable roadblock for Burrell in the Battle of the Bypass.
Valley's defense put on a show, recording seven sacks, and running back Demetrius Houser ran for three touchdowns for the second straight game as Valley blanked Burrell, 26-0, on Friday night in a Class-AA Allegheny Conference game at Valley Memorial Stadium.
No matter how many game-week pranks are pulled, or which side out-gorges the other in hot dog- or chicken wing-eating contests, the rivalry always is settled on the field.
“We came out flying to the ball and got after them,” said Valley senior quarterback Ty Matthews, who threw for 108 yards and ran for a score. “We showed that we're a team to be reckoned with.”
In the latest clash of neighboring rivals who go to class about three miles apart, Valley (2-0, 2-0) showed its speed and athleticism is much farther down the road.
Devin Houser rushed for a team-high 80 yards on seven carries, 75 coming on a late burst, and Demetrius Houser added 60 yards on 13 carries as Valley broke a four-game losing streak against the Bucs (1-1, 0-1).
“The seniors wanted this shutout,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said. “Our defense came up big. We said we wanted 11 helmets on the ball all night.”
Valley leads the all-time series, 20-14, and the shutout was their first against Burrell since 2006.
“It was a game of mistakes for us,” Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt said. “Valley came out with intensity and made less mistakes than we did. With their speed, you can't let them get to the tips.”
Valley turned two Burrell turnovers into points and took a 20-0 lead into the half.
Constant pressure on Bucs quarterback Cody Wolfe forced an ill-advised throw that led to a tipped interception by Matthews, playing linebacker.
“I'm always glad to have a pick (on defense) rather than throwing one,” said Matthews, who was 5-for-11 passing.
One play later, Houser bounced left, evaded one last defender and raced 31 yards for his second score of the half.
Burrell did not complete a pass and was sacked four times in the first half. The Bucs lost a fumble late in the second quarter and Matthews scored on a 5-yard run.
Houser scored again on a short run late in the third as a follow-up to the play of the night. D'Aundre Johnson delivered a highlight-reel hit along the Burrell sideline to help spring shifty Devin Houser to a 75-yard gain deep into Bucs' territory.
“What a play,” Matthews said. “Everyone was blown away by that hit.”
Johnson caught two passes for 72 yards; Tyson Hill added two for 29 yards.
Burrell running back Ryan Sowol ran for 115 yards on 28 carries.
Valley played a cleaner game in terms of penalties. After committing 22 for 190 yards in Week 1, many of them after the whistle, the Vikings had seven for 58 last night.
And coaches say rest assured; the rivalry — dubbed the Bypass Brawl on Twitter this week — is as healthy as ever. Maybe not as strong as the current of Puckety Creek after a heavy rainfall, but sturdy enough to call it one of the WPIAL's best.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- WPIAL, coaches are still looking to schedule Week 9 rivalry games
- Gorman: A WPIAL playoff drought about to end
- Previewing some of Western Pa.’s top Week 9 matchups
- Ford City, Kittanning matchup to be part of SI.com’s ‘Underdogs’
- Heavyweights West Allegheny, Central Valley meet in test for Parkway
- High school football notebook: WPIAL might welcome another team next year
- Valley News Dispatch Q&A: Springdale’s Austin Kline
- West Mifflin hoping to spoil TJ’s perfect season
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Q&A: Montour’s David Haseleu
- Connellsville focuses on nailing down playoff berth
- Longtime rivals Kittanning, Ford City set for final act