Valley clinches first playoff berth since 2008
TribLIVE Sports Videos
With so many fourth-quarter comebacks, Valley has made it easier to forget about the days during its 22-game losing streak when a second-half deficit appeared insurmountable.
The Vikings (6-2, 5-2) rallied in the fourth quarter for the second time in as many weeks and edged Kittanning, 20-17, to clinch their first playoff berth since 2008. The come-from-behind win was their fourth of the season.
“I feel good for these seniors,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said. “They deserve this because they've been through so much the past three years.”
Sophomore quarterback Dan Farinelli and senior wide receiver Chaz Cheatham again became heroes. Cheatham, who caught a game-winning touchdown last week, grabbed an 11-yard throw from Farinelli in the back of the end zone with 41 seconds left in the Allegheny Conference game.
“It was supposed to be a slant inside,” said Farinelli, who made only his second varsity start. “It wasn't there, so I rolled out to the left, and my running back wanted the ball. But I thought he'd just get tackled, so I threw it up for Chaz.”
Farinelli threw no other passes in the second half. Valley chose to rely on its “Beast” package, which involved direct snaps to running backs Demetrius Houser and Jaden Walker. The Vikings overloaded blockers to the running side and challenged Kittanning (4-4, 4-3) to make stops.
“We can sort of pick their poison,” Walsh said.
Walker scored twice in the Beast package. His first touchdown, a 4-yard run, tied the score, 7-7 with four minutes left in the first half. His second visit to the end zone put Valley ahead, 14-10, early in the fourth quarter.
Houser, though not fortunate to find the goal line, finished with 19 carries for a team-high 110 yards.
Kittanning answered Valley's Beast package with its own two-man battering ram, seniors Kevin Barnes and Zac Croyle. Barnes, the quarterback, had 25 carries for 98 yards, and Croyle gained 60 yards on 16 rushes. He also scored the touchdown that put Kittanning ahead, 7-0, in the first quarter.
In a departure from the norm, Kittanning rarely went to the air.
On fourth-and-5 from the Vikings' 35-yard-line, Barnes rolled out to his left. And with the several defenders squared up to meet him at the line of scrimmage, he launched a pass to Mitch Pirhalla, whose touchdown catch put Kittanning ahead, 17-14, with less than six minutes left.
“We froze them there, and they showed blitz pressure, so we thought we could take a shot downfield,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said.
“Anytime you lose in the last minute, there's going to be disappointment. It hurts. But that's how you know it mattered.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.
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.
- Brady free to play after judge rules against NFL in ‘Deflategate’
- Morning delay: Banksville Road contractor failed to give notice of lane restriction
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- 2 arrested after Jeannette raid turns up heroin, crack, gun
- Alcoa putting $60M into Upper Burrell tech center expansion
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno from Derry on life support, family says
- Sto-Rox High School announces early dismissal because of heat
- Locke struggles again early, Pirates lose again in Milwaukee