PECKVILLE — Coughlin’s first possession Friday night went as planned.
Touchdown. Extra point. The lead.
The momentum, though, deteriorated by halftime.
The defense couldn’t stop Valley View’s running game. The offense lost standout running back Jake Cole to a shoulder injury. And a punt team gaffe allowed the Cougars to punch in a touchdown just before the teams retreated to the locker room to escape the 19-degree temperature.
It all added up to Valley View ending Coughlin’s season with a 40-7 victory in a District 2 Class 4A semifinal game before a few hundred frozen fans.
Valley View (9-3) will head to Berwick (10-2) next Friday for the D2-4A championship and a spot in the state playoffs. Coughlin ended its year at 5-7.
“They’re great kids, they worked hard all year,” Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. “A lot of kids were playing out of position, and I just want to thank them for at least trying and giving an effort. To be playing in Week 12 after Week 2, I would never would have thought of that.”
The seventh-seeded Crusaders lost their first two games by a combined 96-7, but knocked off second-seeded Dallas 28-0 in the quarterfinals to advance to Friday’s game. And the semifinal contest started well after Valley View punched in a score but botched the extra point on its first possession for a 6-0 lead.
Cole and quarterback Vincent Todd worked Coughlin down the field on a 60-yard scoring drive, with Todd darting up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown. The point-after gave the Crusaders a 7-6 lead at 6:59 of the first quarter.
Valley View, though, eased away control with its running game. First it was senior Seth Vernon, who finished with 190 yards on 18 carries. Then it was junior Mason Kodish carrying the load. Both backs scored consecutive touchdowns on the Cougars’ third and fourth drives of the game for a 19-7 lead.
Coughlin was content going into halftime down 12 points, but a miscommunication and a errant punt snap changed that.
Coughlin took over at its own 15-yard line after linebacker Tyler DeCinti recovered a fumble with 1:06 until halftime. But the Crusaders ran a pass play instead of a running play — as they were supposed to do — on second down and the incompletion stopped the clock. A fumble out of bounds on third down halted the clock again.
Then on fourth down, punter Cole Horan had to chase down a bad snap, falling on the ball at the Coughlin 3-yard line. Valley View quarterback Chandler Fuller threw a TD pass to Janaasah Boone on the next play, giving the Cougars a 26-7 lead with two seconds left until the break.
“I think that was a big play,” Valley View coach George Howanitz said. “We made a nice play defensively to poke the ball out and hold them to fourth down. Then the ability to make a play and score right before half takes the wind out of a lot of teams’ sails.”
The absence of 1,000-yard rusher Cole didn’t help. He carried just five times for 17 yards before being sidelined. He was also a big part of the defense as a linebacker. Todd did what he could in the second half, gaining most of his yards on scrambles. The Crusaders had 18 yards of offense in the second half and finished with 106 for the game.
Valley View 40, Coughlin 7
Coughlin`7`0`0`0 — 7
Valley View`12`14`7`7 — 40
VV — Chandler Fuller 37 run (run failed), 9:55
COU — Vincent Todd 23 run (Jeff Mondulick kick), 6:59
VV — Seth Vernon 17 run (pass failed), 2:31
VV — Mason Kordish 1 run (Matt Cesarini kick), 7:44
VV — Janaasah Boone 3 pass from Fuller (Cesarini kick), 0:02
VV — Kordish 5 run (Cesarini kick), 3:07
VV — Traon Jones 1 run (Cesarini kick), 8:07
RUSHING — Coughlin, Jake Cole 5-17, Todd 18-79, Rafael McCoy 4-11, Jervone Young 1-3, Eric Sovan 5-13, team 1-(minus-19). Valley View, Vernon 18-190, Fuller 2-30, Kordish 9-44, Sam Pittsman 4-29, Boone 3-13, Jones 3-10, Zach Manchak 3-19, Noah Clifford 1-2, Jeremy Stanton 2-12, Cain Bennett 1-7, Jordan Conserette 1-1, team 3-(minus-3).
PASSING — Coughlin, Todd 2-4-0-2, Garrett Wardle 0-1-1-0. Valley View, Fuller 2-5-0-45.
RECEIVING — Coughlin, Cole 1-5, McCoy 1-(minus-3). Valley View, Chase Combs 2-45.
INTERCEPTIONS — Valley View, Combs 1-33.