Burrell dominates rival Valley
One thing became evident to Valley on Friday night: A return to Class AA after two winless years in Class AAA doesn't guarantee victories – or even close games.
Burrell rolled over Valley, 41-6, in a Class AA Allegheny Conference clash between neighbors and longtime rivals in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Buccaneer Stadium.
Burrell (2-0, 1-0), ranked No. 8 in Class AA, grabbed a 34-0 lead by late in the third quarter and cruised to the finish line in its conference opener.
The contest marked the 33rd consecutive year the rivals have played. Valley leads the all-time series, 19-14, but Burrell has won four in a row against the Vikings for the first time.
Burrell senior running back Cole Bush (6-2, 220) bowled over and brushed off numerous Valley defenders, as he rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns and stood out at linebacker.
“Cole is a team player,” Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt said. “He knows it's not just Cole Bush, and it's not just the offensive line. It's everyone working in practice to make us better.”
A week after breaking a 22-game losing streak, Valley (1-1, 1-1) struggled against an experienced Burrell team that tied for third place in the conference last season.
“We tried to preach that we have to stop the run, but we weren't able to do that too well,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said.
“And execution. We were letting blitzes through on the quarterback. You can't make mistakes against a team like that.”
Burrell's 6-foot, 225-pound senior tight end Matt Hess, who converted from center during the offseason, made a highlight catch in the first quarter. Hess pulled in a pass after it was tipped by Valley defensive back Kevin Frame and raced for a 55-yard touchdown to give the Bucs a 13-0 lead.
“This is our biggest rivalry game all season, especially since we're in the same conference again,” Hess said. “They brought it the first couple of series (in the game), but we were able to put it to them eventually.”
Valley couldn't find its groove. Burrell limited the Vikings to 140 yards rushing and 48 yards passing.
Valley junior quarterback Ty Matthews broke the shutout with a 9-yard touchdown run with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-224-2696.