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High School Football - Willliams Valley 29, Line Mountain 7
Vikes to lay for share of TVAA title

Matt Miller powers through the line Mountain defense for a score Oct. 24. (Sentinel photo by Lon Zeiders)

MANDATA • Williams Valley defeated Line Mountain 29-7 in an Oct. 24 contest that held playoff – and, for Williams Valley – league implications.

The Vikings (now 6-3) needed to win to stay alive for a piece of the Tri-Valley Athletic Association (aka Tri-Valley League) championship, and to keep pace in the District 11, Class A playoff race.

The Eagles (now 4-5) still are hoping for a slot in the District 4-A race, so a victory was crucial as well.

The Line Mountain offense tried to establish an early lead behind their team leader and quarterback, Ryan Reed. Reed relied heavily on his running backs to move the chains. Kenny Boyer was his back of choice as he helped establish ideal field position for the Eagle offense. Hunter Hojnacki chipped in with a first down of his own for the Line Mountain offense.

However, when the Eagles appeared to be clicking, the Vikings defense made much-needed stops behind Albert Wolfgang and Ryan Harris. Wolfgang and Harris entered Friday’s contest ranked third and fourth in the league for tackles.

The Viking defense did enough to hold the Line Mountain offense as their own quarterback, Nick Rodichok, stepped onto the field and went under center for a drive of his own. Offensively, the Vikings were led by Matt Miller who simply could not be stopped. Every time Miller carried the ball, he took Eagle defenders with him as it took three or four defensive players to take down the hard-nose runner.

The Vikings’ offensive attack was unpredictable as Rodichok often went through the air, connecting with Miller and Cody Miller for first downs. The Vikings were inside the red zone when the Eagles strung together a series of crucial stops, thanks to Clint Riehl and Jonathon Lenker.

Having been stopped deep in their opponents’ territory, the Vikings elected to kick the field goal. Steven Hill took the field and sent the kick right through the uprights, giving the Williams Valley offense a 3-0 lead. That would turn out to be the lone scoring play in the opening frame as both defenses shaped up, making statements early.

When action resumed in the second quarter, the Line Mountain offense found its way. The offense was given exceptional field position – thanks in part to their defense — and took advantage of it.

The Eagles pushed their way all the way down inside the Viking 10 and eventually down to the one. Reed bullied his way into the end zone for the first touchdown of the evening. Brent Osman kicked the extra point as the Eagles held a 7-3 lead.

For the Vikings, Rodichok showed signs of leadership and determination the next trip on offense. He began to lead his team, behind Miller, down the field. Thanks to his offensive line, Miller had the holes the size of trucks as he continued to gain extra yards due to his tough running. The Vikings continued to feed their back as the front five remained consistent in executing its blocking schemes.

Miller would crack the scoreboard for the first time, cashing in after an 11-yard run. Despite a missed extra point, the Vikings now regained the lead by the score 9-7.

The Viking defense fed off of the offense’s score as Zach Ulsh and Devon Rabuck got in on the defensive attack with huge stops. Before he knew it, Rodichok was back under center and the chains once again were moving in the Vikings’ favor.

Matt Miller didn’t make things any easier for the Eagle defense as he provided another first down which was followed by Cody Miller’s long reception.

After begin stuffed on first down, Matt Miller easily entered the end zone for the second time of the evening from just two yards out. The Vikings attempted the two-point conversion, but once again, their attempt was unsuccessful. Still, the Vikings led 15-7.

While the Eagles offense could not muster up enough first downs when they needed them the most, Williams Valley regained possession thanks to another stellar defensive outing by Ulsh and company.

This time, Rodichok didn’t hand the ball off to Miller. Instead, he dropped back in the pocket and connected with Rabuck, who gave the Viking offense another touchdown. The scoring play came from 15 yards out. Hill connected on the extra point as the Vikings led 22-7 at the half.

In the second half, both defenses rose to the occasion. Despite continual efforts from Line Mountain, the Vikings kept holding their own on the defensive side of the ball.

Ryan Harris would give Williams Valley some more cushion with a 21-yard receiving touchdown from Rodichok in the third frame, giving the Vikesthe final margin of victory.

Rodichok capped off the night with 137 yards through the air with two passing touchdowns. Matt Miller led all offensive players with 222 yards on just 18 carries. He also scored twice and caught three passes for 49 yards. Harris and Rabuck also caught touchdowns for the Vikings.

Boyer led the way for Line Mountain with 98 yards on the ground, while Hojnacki and Reed combined for 134 yards on the ground.

The Vikings will close the regular season out when they host the once-beaten Juniata Indians Friday, October 31.  The Eagles will aim to end the season with 500. against East Juniata, also next Friday. Kickoff for both games is 7 p.m.

Playoff picture. As of this week’s press time, the postseason playoff picture looks as follows:

Districts 3, 4 and 11 take only four teams in Class A. In District 3, Millersburg is seventh, Upper Dauphin Area is eighth and Halifax is ninth in the power rankings.

Line Mountain is sixth in the D4-A rankings.

Depending on the source, Tri-Valley could or could not make the D11-A playoffs. The Bulldogs are ranked second in one group and fifth in another. Williams Valley is first in one ranking and third in another.

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