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HS FOOTBALL: No. 4 Wallenpaupack At No. 1 Valley View

August 25, 2018

BLAKELY — Jordan Conserette spent almost all of the preseason doing his job, working hard, and backing up Valley View’s new starting quarterback Janaasah Boone. He learned only Wednesday, when the dynamic and fleet-footed Boone didn’t practice because of an illness, that his number could be called to start the season opener. Storming the field during pregame, Conserette soaked in the energy at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium. Then, after gaining some confidence, the lanky junior led the No. 1 Cougars to a hard-fought win. With Conserette rushing for 63 yards and two touchdowns, and throwing for 90 yards and a touchdown Valley View defeated No. 4 Wallenpaupack, 27-14, on Friday night. “Yeah, it’s a nerve-racking feeling,” Conserette said of not knowing until mid-week that he might have to start. “With the big crowd it and it being Valley View football. I just tried to be ready. “After the first drive, that adrenaline went away a little, then I calmed down and settled in.” Valley View (1-0) and Wallenpaupack (0-1), two teams with high expectations this season because of their size, strength and experience in the trenches, slugged it out with both trying to establish their superiority. Yards, first downs and touchdowns were hard to come by in the first half, but the Cougars held a 14-7 lead at the half. Mason Kordish had a 3-yard touchdown, set up by a Cain Bennett fumble recovery, and Conserette scored on a 1-yard run to cap a drive that featured a 50-yard burst by Traon Jones for Valley View. Joe Ingulli had a 49-yard touchdown off his left side behind 6-foot-6, 310-pound Josh Moore to lead the Buckhorns in the half. Then, Valley View turned to its veteran offensive line to lead the charge in the second half. On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Cougars, who had 108 total yards in the first half, powered their way to a score. They ran the ball on 11 of 12 plays and Conserette escaped pressure on two occasions, showing some shifty footwork in traffic, while ripping off runs of 11, 22 and finally 13 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 advantage with 6:25 left in the quarter. “The six guys on the line, we got together in the locker room and said we needed a push and this is where we had to win the game,” Valley View senior guard Mike Sebastianelli said. “We came out on the first play of the second half and we moved them off the ball. “We got in the huddle and said, ‘Here we go boys, let’s just keep running it,’” Wallenpaupack, which gained only 102 yards in the first half, responded with its best drive. Nicholas Ruggieri used his strength to muscle for a 36-yard burst and Tyler Neglia, who darted all over the field for double-digit tackles, got the reward with a 6-yard scoring run to make it 21-14 with 2:08 in the third. “They came out in the second half and pushed us a round a little bit,” Wallenpaupack coach Mark Watson said. “But, we kind of woke up a little bit, and despite the score and a couple of plays that didn’t go our way, I thought we played well in the second half overall and had a solid game.” Valley View and Conserette provided its final big play. The junior shuffled to his left to gain enough space from the oncoming defenders, launched a high-arching pass, and sophomore Zack Kovalchik cradled it in, not distracted by two sets of outstretched hands from two Wallenpaupack defenders. He turned it into a 62-yard score that secured the win, 27-14, at 8:19 of the fourth. “I just ran my route and my quarterback threw a great ball,” Kovalchik said. “It was amazing. I could hear the crowd. “It was just great.” Valley View’s defense slammed the door as junior Logan Burns had a sack and junior Jon Clark had a batted pass to halt two fourth-quarter drives by the Buckhorns. “This is a huge victory for us,” said Conserette, who also filled in for Boone, an LFC Division II all-star last season, in the secondary. “After Janaasah went down, hey, this one was for him.” Contact the writer: jbfawcett@timesshamrock.com; 57-348-9125; @JobyFawcett26 on Twitter

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