Mars routs Valley
A full moon cast its glow Friday evening over Valley Memorial Stadium.
But the host Vikings were blinded by Mars — the football team, that is.
Mars showed its flash by scoring eight offensive touchdowns — half of them from 40 yards or more — in rolling to a 56-0 victory in a Greater Allegheny Conference matchup.
Backup halfback Seth Geyer rushed for 113 yards and two scores, and quarterback Eric Guzak passed for 179 yards and two touchdowns — both long bombs to flanker Aaron Lozzi.
"We felt coming in we needed to throw the football well, because we haven't thrown it well the past two weeks, and we proved that a little bit," Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. "We're primarily a run-oriented offense, but a lot of people may not understand we can throw the ball a little, and that's a big factor for us."
It was the third consecutive shutout for the Planets (7-1, 5-0) and the fourth time this season Valley (0-8, 0-6) had been held scoreless.
However, in a season when the Valley roster chart has resembled more of a mistake-filled Sudoku puzzle, coach Troy Hill was adamant about keeping things positive.
"We don't have bodies, and we've had that all year. We've got guys playing positions they never have and a freshman quarterback who gets better every week," Hill said. "The thing I'm most proud of is the kids fought. Our kids come to practice every week, but we're obviously not where we need to be and take your hat off to Mars. They're a good team and well-coached."
Mars, ranked No. 6 in Class AAA by the Tribune Review News Service, will collide next Saturday with No. 5 Knoch for the conference title.
The Planets took a 21-0 lead on a pair of Geyer runs and a short plunge by Austin Miele. Miele — who entered the game for the goal-line series — rushed only three times and appeared to move gingerly before coming out for good. He entered Friday as the WPIAL's 11th-leading rusher (988 yards, 14 TDs).
"His ankle is sore, but he's fine," Heinauer said of Miele. "If we needed him to play, he could play. And Seth is a good runner as it is."
Jason Lozzi, Sam King and Alex Smith added late touchdown runs for the Planets.
Valley's offense twice threatened for touchdowns late in the second quarter. But a false start led to a blocked field goal and, after freshman quarterback Ty Mathews' 25-yard laser was dropped in the end zone, his next pass was intercepted.
The Vikings also fumbled five times — losing three.
"We gave the ball away and stopped our momentum," Hill said. "Field position has been a problem all year. For the amount of guys we have, we can't make the mistakes."
To its credit, the Vikings defense churned out a spirited effort, led by linebacker Deron Hinton (nine tackles). Hill hopes the effort pays off next week at winless Connellsville, the final game of the year.
"There's a kid right there who's our starting corner, and we have to play him at linebacker," Hill said of Hinton. "We're looking for a win every time we step on the field, but to go down there and get a win, it would be real big for these kids."