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Valley backs run wild

| Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005

KITTANNING -- Dwight Shannon and Tyler Santucci reminded Valley coach Troy Hill of some great Vikings backs.

The duo combined for 222 yards rushing and four touchdowns as the Vikings steamrolled Allegheny Conference rival Kittanning, 39-15, on Friday.

"They reminded me of running backs Billy Callihan and Brian Williams," Hill said. " They are unselfish kids, team players. Santucci is a big part of our team, and Shannon is a speedster. He gets better every game."

Shannon rushed for 136 yards on 18 carries, and Santucci scored three times, twice from a yard out as the Vikings improved to 3-0 in the conference and moved into first place with Ford City, which beat Shady Side Academy, 35-6, last night.

"They played power football on us and we couldn't stop them," Kittanning coach Sam Panchik said.

The Vikings offense rushed for 310 yards in the game.

"I am proud of our offensive line," Hill said. "I credit my offensive line coach for getting them ready."

And Valley was ready right from the start.

The Vikings took their opening drive 65 yards on seven plays to grab an early 6-0 lead.

Santucci scored twice in the second quarter to start the onslaught.

The Vikings started to take the momentum in the second quarter, leading 12-7.

Kittanning quarterback Colin McKelvey hit Kent Walker on a perfect screen pass that went for 15 yards and a first down. But it was called back on an illegal block, which brought the play back -- a 30-yard difference. McKelvey's next pass was intercepted by Ashton Saunders.

"That did help out," Hill said of Valley taking control of the game. "We were just lucky to get the momentum back."

The Vikings then scored 27 unanswered points.

"They just beat us at every phase of the game," Panchik said. "We made too many mistakes. We made mistakes and they didn't."

Valley seemingly could do no wrong.

The Vikings were called for just two penalties and even when they were stopped, turned it into something positive.

Leading 20-7 in the third quarter, Darwin Banks was stopped in the back field on a third-and-1, but before Bank's knee hit the ground, he flipped the ball to Anthony Howell, who ran for the first down. Four plays later, Howell ran for a two-yard score.

On the ensuing kickoff, Saunders recovered a fumble to give the Vikings the ball at Kittanning's 30. Shannon scored just 42 seconds later. Valley scored three times in 3:32 to break the game wide open.

The Wildcats offense was hurt without the running of Ryan Shepard, who missed the game because he was ill.

"We missed Ryan," Panchik said. "We missed his leadership, no question. He is one of our co-captains and team leaders."

Without Shepard, the Kittanning's offense sputtered all evening. The Wildcats had 66 total first-half yards and finished with just 164 yards.

Valley visits Shady Side Academy next week, while Kittanning will travel to Burrell.

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