GAMEFACE: 1-Valley View At Berwick Is The Game Of The Week

September 28, 2018

It’s a game steeped in high school football history. Valley View and Berwick bring rich championship traditions when they square off tonight in a battle of unbeaten teams at Crispin Field. “I think as a team we are the most excited we have been in years,” said Valley View guard Mike Sebastianelli, whose dad, Rob, played at Valley View from 1984 to 1986. “But, it’s not just us, it’s the most excited the community has been in a long time, too.” Valley View and Berwick were the programs all District 2 were measured against, dating back to their first clash in 1977 and continuing through the ’80s and ’90s. In 1977, both dynasties were just starting to be built by their eventual legendary Hall of Fame coaches — the late George Curry and Frank Pazzaglia — when the Bulldogs beat the Cougars, 17-12, in the Eastern Conference championship game, spoiling the Cougars unbeaten season. In 1984, Valley View returned the favor when the Bulldogs were the No. 1 team in the country, according to USA Today. Led by Ernie Sebastianelli, the Cougars upset Berwick, 14-3 on their way to the Eastern Conference A title. From 1977 to 1986, Berwick went 100-19-2 while Valley View went 96-20-1. In 1988, Berwick won its first of six PIAA Class 3A championships. Then, in the 1991 Eastern Conference Class I playoffs, Berwick knocked off the Cougars, 26-13. In 1992, both Berwick (Class 3A) and Valley View (Class 2A) won PIAA championships. They met four more times in the District 2 Class 3A playoffs during a stretch when Berwick was dominating the state postseason. The Bulldogs, who added four straight state titles from 1994 to 1997, slammed Valley View in back-to-back games in 1995 and 1996, and won a tight game, 14-7, in 1998. Valley View turned the tables on the Bulldogs in the 1999 semifinals, ending their streak of five straight district titles. Their next showdown came in the 2010 Eastern Conference Class 3A title game, which Valley View won, 35-21. While a couple of their games were thrilling, none compared to last season’s District 2 Class 4A final, won by the Cougars, 24-17, in two overtimes. Now, Valley View and Berwick are both ranked among the Top 10 Class 4A teams in the state, according to Pennlive.com. Valley View, which is fourth and coached by George Howanitz, has an average margin of victory of 21.4 points this season. Dual-threat quarterback Janaasah Boone has 260 yards rushing with eight touchdowns and 425 yards passing with five touchdowns. Running back Mason Kordish leads the team with 539 yards on the ground and sophomore Zack Kovalchik has five receptions with three going for touchdowns. Berwick, ranked seventh and coached by former Wilkes University coach Frank Sheptock, is led by a swarming defense that has allowed only 48 points. Teagan Wilk is an all-state defensive back with four interceptions. Blane Cleaver leads the team with 28 tackles, junior defensive end Eric Montes has 22 tackles, including 11 for loss with four sacks. Offensively, the Bulldogs are averaging 36.4 points per game. Quarterback Alex Force has 452 yards passing and Owen Shoemaker has 694 yards rushing. Contact the writer: jbfawcett@timesshamrock.com; @sportsTT on Twitter

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