No. 2 Derry steamrolls Central Valley into semifinals
For the second time in the past three season, Derry won a home game to start the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.
On Friday, the Trojans got 174 rushing yards from Justin Flack and 149 from Onreey Stewart to down Central Valley, 46-0, at soggy Trojans Stadium.
No. 2 seeded Derry (10-1) will face conference rival North Catholic next Friday at a site and time to be determined.
Derry defeated Central Valley, 33-20, in the 2016 playoff opener.
Also, Flack’s three touchdowns gave him 32 for the season, breaking the single-season school record of 30 set by Tyler Balega two years ago.
“I’m not out to break any records,” Flack said. “I just want our team to go as far as possible. I just want to win.”
Midway through the opening quarter, Central Valley (5-6) appeared set to score the first touchdown of the game, driving to the Derry 2. But senior Dom DeLuca picked up a Warriors fumble and returned it to the Trojans 25.
Seven plays later, Fleck scored on a 31-yard run.
“That was a big swing,” Trojans coach Tim Sweeney said. “That’s a momentum-getter for them if they get into the end zone. But our defense came up pretty big, so that ended up a 14-point swing.”
“Any time you lose the ball on the 2-yard line, it’s crucial,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. “So, that’s obvious.”
Late in the quarter, Onreey Stewart got loose for a 68-yard run to put Derry ahead, 13-0, with 1 minute, 28 seconds left in the first quarter.
After a bad snap on a Warriors punt, Derry took over at the Central Valley 6 where Flack scored from the wildcat formation.
Matt McDowell’s interception set up the fourth Derry score on a drive started at the Warriors 33. Six plays later, Stewart scored from 8 yards out to put the Trojans ahead, 26-0, with 48 seconds to go in the first half.
Central Valley lost the ball on downs 19 seconds later. Derry took advantage, and Paul Koontz fired a scoring pass on a slant that Justin Huss caught between two defender to make it 32-0 Derry with 1 second left in the half.
“I’ve learned some lessons in the past, and I made some bad decisions,” Sweeney said. “You can’t win the game in the first half. You just continue to play. We were fortunate enough to score twice at the end of the half and put them in a bad spot.”
The Trojans finished the half with 277 yards to 75 for Central Valley, with Flack and Stewart each picking up 118 rushing yards.
On Derry’s first play of the second half, Flack hit the middle on a quick opener and raced 56 yards for a touchdown and got the rest of the night off with a 39-0 advantage.
Colton Nemcheck’s 10-yard run in the fourth quarter concluded the scoring.
Derry is 3-12 all-time in the WPIAL playoffs with the two recent victories over Central Valley and a 1995 upset over Thomas Jefferson.
The 1995 team was honored before the game.