By Marian Valanoski
For The Daily Item
WILLIAMSTOWN — It would seem to be highly unlikely and yet a second-quarter on-side kick proved to be the emotional dagger. It is something that has haunted Line Mountain this season.
The Eagles, as usual, took an early lead into the second quarter, the result of a first-quarter safety. But, after a Williams Valley score, the Vikings successfully executed and recovered the ensuing kickoff and turned a close matchup into a rout tallying 20 consecutive points in the period en roué to a 39-2 Tri-Valley League triumph at Stauffenburg Field.
“They showed it on film and we practiced for it,” Line Mountain coach Rodney Knock said. “The kicker comes up as if he’s going to attack the ball and then he perfectly boots the ball and they are really good at executing and coming up with the loose ball.
“It was a huge momentum swing for them.”
The Vikings (4-0, 3-0) promptly drove 45 yards in nine plays culminating with Stephen Sedesse throwing his second touchdown pass of the period this one to Cody Miller for a 7-yard TD. Tim Schorr caught a two-point conversion pass for a 14-2 lead.
Miller had a record-breaking night against the Eagles (1-3,-0-3), who quickly fell behind 20-2 when the visitors fumbled and Albert Wolfgang recovered at the LM 35.
Three plays later Sedesse spotted Cole Barnhardt down the right sideline for a 25-yard scoring strike.
“We are not responding well to adversity,” Knock said. “It’s the mental mistakes that are hurting us, not the physical ones, and anyone knows that the being mentally prepared is the most important part of the game.”
Line Mountain opened the game in not-so-surprising fashion using the battering ram running of Cory Warford to drive from its own 27 down to the Vikings 1. But a play mixup resulted in a fourth-down loss and the Eagles came away empty-handed.
However, like in their previous three games where they took the lead, it happened again as, on Williams Valley’s first play from scrimmage, Rayce Boyer caught Cole Barnhardt in the end zone and tackled him for a safety that provided the Eagles with their only lead of the contest.
The third quarter was an exhibition of the WV running game as Barnhardt broke away for a 52-yard touchdown and Trevor Whelski contributed a four-yard burst through the middle of the Eagles’ defense.
Sedesse, who showed an uncanny ability to escape the fierce LM pass rush, capped his great night with a 75-yard scoring strike to Miller, who finished the contest with nine receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
“Our defense was on the field practically the entire second quarter and mistakes kept giving their offense a short field to work with in the first half,” Knock said. “We had to keep Sedesse in the pocket because, with his scrambling ability, he was able to pick up his receivers and come up with big plays to score or keep drives alive.”
Warford led the Eagles with 83 yards rushing.