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NTL FOOTBALL: COWANESQUE VALLEY UPENDS SAYRE FOR FIRST WIN (2021-09-04)

By TIM BIRNEY
Northern Tier West Sports Report
WESTFIELD, Pa. — Junior QB Jacob Schmitt scored on a 2-yard run with 53 seconds remaining, and Cowanesque Valley’s defense stopped Sayre’s last-gasp effort to tie the game five yards shy of the end zone as time expired to seal a 26-19 win here Saturday night in NTL Small School Division football action.

It’s the first NTL win for the Indians against a team other than CMVT and Bucktail since beating Sayre and Wyalusing in back-to-back weeks in 2017.

“It’s a big win,” said third-year Cowanesque Valley coach Mike Schmitt. “It’s hard to win a game when you’re building. Sometimes the boys don’t believe in themselves as much as we coaches believe in them.

“So, tonight we had a big turn-around. We were able to make plays on offense and defense,” noted Schmitt. “That was important, I think that’s the biggest thing about tonight, more so than the win.

“I think is a huge confidence boost for all our boys. Not only did we win, but we had to come from behind to do it.

“I think it builds confidence in believing that hard work pays off,” added Schmitt. “It’s a building block, and you have to break old habits before you can build new ones.”

Freshman Tim Freeman, at 5-feet, 6-inches and 185 pounds, rushed for 130 yards and two TDs on 21 carries — all coming between the tackles, while Schmitt completed 13 of 26 passes for 122 yards and one TD, and added 41 rushing yards and one TD on 13 carries.


Senior Tucker St. Peter led CV with five receptions for 48 yards, and senior Tanyon Brown had four grabs for 46 yards and one TD.

“(Freeman) Is a freshman, and a talented young man. We decided tonight that was his game,” said Schmitt. “And, we have three seniors on the outside who are pretty good skill players.

“Our game plan was to hit it inside, then get some of those quick-hitters on the outside … spread them out, and make them defend the entire field — horizontally and vertically,” noted Schmitt.

“Our offense line played well, and allowed us to execute our game plan,” he added.

The Redskins, playing with just 19 players in uniform and 14 out of action die to Covid quarantine, started in auspicious fashion with a pair of shotgun snaps sailing over the head of senior QB Brayden Horton, resulting of losses of 14 and 21 yards.

Junior Lucas Horton punted the ball away with Sayre facing a fourth-and-39 situation. His 29-yard punt set up the Indians at the Sayre 44.

Schmitt completed his first three passes in CV’s first possession, and added a 9-yard run, while Freeman carried the ball four times for 17 yards, including a 3-yard TD run with 6:20 remaining in the first quarter. Brown's PAT kick gave the Indians a 7-0 lead.

The Redskins answered with an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive to tie the game. Brayden Horton was 5-for-5 for 56 yards in the possession, including a 24-yard completion to Lucas Horton. The drive culminated with a 5-yard TD connection between the Horton cousins with 1:22 remaining in the opening stanza. Aiden Ennis’ PAT kick knotted the score at 7-7.

Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, the Indians put the ball on ground with a poor option pitch, and the Redskins recovered.

Brayden Horton completed two more passes, including a 15-yard strike to junior Jackson Hubbard, and capped the drive with a 2-yard TD run. Ennis’ kick was blocked and Sayre led 13-7 with 11:15 remaining in the first half.

CV turned the ball over on downs at its own 37 after a bad snap on a punt on its next possession, but senior Mikey Sipps picked off a Brayden Horton pass two plays later to get the Indians the ball back at their 37.

CV seemed poised to tie the game after a 24-yard run by Freeman moved the ball to the Sayre 14, but the Redskin defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs at the Redskin 20 with 5:36 remaining in the first half.

Brayden Horton quickly directed the Redskins down field with five straight completions for 69 yards, including back-to-back 14-yard connections with Hubbard, and a 15-yard completion to junior David Northrup to the Indian 11.

A 7-yard run by Northrup moved the ball to the CV 4, but a holding call marched the ball back to the 14, and the drive never got back on track. The Redskins turned the ball over on downs at the CV 4.

The Indians took the second-half kickoff, and marched 65 yards on eight plays, overcoming a trio of penalties, and benefitting from a pair called against the Redskins, including a rare defensive block-in-the-back call. The drive culminated with a 16-yard TD pass from Schmitt to Brown on fourth-and-14.

CV’s PAT kick was blocked, and the game was tied at 13-13 with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter.

Sayre’s ensuing possession ended in five plays when Sipps registered his second interception of the game at the CV 45, but the Indians fumbled the ball back to Sayre at the Redskins 45 just seven plays later.

The Indian defense had one of its best series of the night on Sayre’s next possession, forcing a three-and-out, but the Redskin answered by stuffing an Indians fake punt on the CV 32.

The Redskins couldn’t muster any offense, however, and turned the ball back over on downs at the Indian 26.

A defensive pass interference call, and a subsequent unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Redskins quickly moved the ball to the Sayre 44.

A 12-yard pass from Schmitt to Brown on third-and-11, and a 12-yard run by Freeman then put the Indians in the red zone at the Sayre 16.

Moments later, CV faced fourth-and-3 at the Sayre 10, but Schmitt connected with St. Peter on a quick slant for 5 yards. Freeman bulled in from 5 yards out on the next play to give the Indians a 19-13 lead with 7:47 remaining in the game.

The Redskins answered quickly with the Hortons doing the majority of the damage.

Brayden Horton scrambled for 32 yards to the CV 26 on the second play of the possession, then — after a holding call against the Redskins — connected with Lucas Horton for a 19-yard gain to the Indians’ 14.

A QB keeper off the left side netted Brayden Horton 12 yards, and he tied the game at 19-19 with a 2-yard run on a QB sneak with 4:59 remaining in the contest.

The Indians started the ensuing possession at its 35, but were  quickly in Sayre territory after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Redskins.

CV moved the ball to the Sayre 21, but a pair of penalties left the Indians facing a first-and-25 at the 36. On third-and-14, Schmitt was flushed out of the pocket and gained 5 yards, but a flag for a late hit out-of-bounds gave CV a first down at the Sayre 10.

After an 8-yard run by Freeman, Schmitt snuck the ball in from the 2 to make it 25-19. Brown's PAT kick made it 26-19 with 53 seconds remaining.

The Redskins took over at their 36 on the ensuing possession, and Brayden Horton connected with senior Josh Arnold three times to move the ball to the CV 34 with 14 ticks left on the clock. The final of Arnold’s three receptions was a 7-yard gain on fourth-and-3 to keep the Redskins’ hopes alive.

After an 11-yard completion to Lucas Horton moved the ball to the Indian 23 with 8 seconds remaining, the Redskins burned their final timeout.

CV sophomore Carter Ackely knocked down Brayden Horton’s next throw at the goal line with 2 seconds remaining.

On the final play of the game, Lucas Horton hauled in a Brayden Horton throw at the 10, but a pair of CV tacklers dragged him down at the 5 as time expires.

Brayden Horton completed 19 of 30 pass attempts for 236 yards and one TD, while being picked off twice. He also led the Redskins with 73 rushing yards and two TDs on 13 carries.

Lucas Horton led Sayre with six receptions for 82 yards, and one TD, while Hubbard had six catches for 65 yards, and Arnold added five five grabs for 47 yards.

CV, now 1-1, hosts divisional foe Northwest Area Friday, while Sayre (1-1) hosts CMVT.


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