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Football

Six interceptions lead Seton-La Salle to win over Valley

| Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, 12:36 a.m.

Former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes once said three things can happen when your quarterback throws the ball. Two of them are bad.

Valley coach Muzzy Colosimo may be inclined to believe the old Buckeye after his Vikings were beaten by Seton-La Salle, 52-36, on Friday night at Peters Township in a nonconference game.

Seton-LaSalle defense intercepted Valley quarterback Phil Petit six times, four of which led directly to Rebel scores.

“You know, it's funny. I don't know who the ‘birdie' is, but the birdie says I need to learn to run the ball first and throw it second,” Colosimo said. “Apparently, they haven't followed my career. What we're trying to do is put in a no-quit, balanced offense that we can throw from and run from.”

The back-breaking interception came midway through the fourth quarter with Seton LaSalle (5-1, 6-1) leading 38-28. On third down, Petit threw the ball into the right flat, and Pitt recruit Paris Ford stepped in front of the Vikings receiver, gathered in the pass and was off for a 56-yard score.

“It was a power pass play that I usually never call,” Colosimo said. “I may never call it again. But credit to him (Ford). You see why every college wants him.”

Petit finished with 299 yards passing and two scores.

Valley struck first on a Petit-to-D'Aundre Johnson 46-yard scoring pass. Tyler Green then scooped up a low snap and scampered into the end zone for an early 8-0 lead.

“They didn't get here until 6:45 p.m., so they had little time to warm up,” Rebels coach Damon Rosol said in reference to Valley's late arrival. “Credit to them. They came out ready to play. We were flat, and there was no real flow to the game until later.”

Ford responded as expected when he took the ensuing kick off 89 yards to the end zone. Rebel quarterback Nolan Abbiatiaci put his team in the lead with a 4-yard scoring run midway through the first quarter. After an exchange of turnovers, Valley jumped back in front when Noah Hutcherson dragged several would-be tacklers into the end zone for a 15-yard score.

Valley looked ready to assume control of the contest when Hutcherson intercepted Abbiatiaci on the Rebels' next drive. But Petit tossed his second pick of the evening to Chris Weyrich, who returned it to the Vikings' 5-yard line. Abbiatiaci made amends for an earlier pick when he found Ford (seven catches for 84 yards) in the corner of the end zone and a 19-14 lead.

“We were able to take advantage of some of their mistakes,” Rosol said. “They threw it a bunch, and we were able to make some plays on defense.”

Seton-LaSalle's defense struck again when Zach Deveney intercepted Petit and returned it to the Valley 18. Abbiatiaci again took advantage of a short field and found Ford for a leaping 18-yard scoring pass, pushing Seton-La Salle's lead to 26-14.

But Valley pushed back before the end of the half when it forced a punt and took possession on the Seton-La Salle side of midfield. Petit launched a pass to Eugene Bailey for a 38-yard score.

“I'm proud of my kids for fighting back. They've been doing it all year,” Colosimo said. “It's been a while since you can say a Valley team has done that.”

Valley reclaimed the lead when Bailey returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards to the Seton-LaSalle 6. Two plays later, Jorden King plunged in from the 1, giving the Rebels a 28-26 lead.

The Rebels forced a punt and took possession at their own 2. Two plays later, Nico Popa intercepted Petit and returned the ball to the Vikings' 20. Liam Sweetney later scored from the 1, giving the Rebels the lead for good at 32-28.

Abbiatiaci added scoring runs of 2 and 10 yards around Ford's interception return in the fourth quarter.

“We were sloppy no doubt,” Rosol said. “We're playing for a conference title next week against South Fayette. We can't afford to play like this next week and have a chance.”

David Whipkey is a freelance writer.

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