Union – A-C Valley Start Season 2-0
Carter Terwint , #59, had a monster game on defense racking up 9 tackles.
Caden Rainey halls in a pass. Photos by Heather Nulph
Story By Bud Merwin
Union – A-C Valley continued its road tour this past Friday night as they visited the Keystone Panthers in Knox. The Falcon Knights after an impressive road win against Brockway in the opener looked to gauge themselves against a determined Keystone Panther squad which blew out Shefflied in the opener 89-0.
The Panthers wasted no time as they made the most of their first possession by airing out the ball as Panther quarterback, Brett Wingard went 6 for 7 on the drive and found running back Nick Weaver for 6 yard scoring strike. The extra point put the Panthers up 7-0 as they looked poised to score at will on the Falcon defense. But, it would be the last time they would find the endzone as the bend but don’t break Falcon-Knight defense would find a way to stop the Panthers with timely turnovers.
Union – A-C Valley sputtered on their first possession going three and out.
The Panthers mixed up their offense on the next possession with a combination of runs and through the air. Right before the end of the 1st quarter, Keystone quarterback, Brett Wingard found Caleb Nellis on a nice pass play which took the ball inside Union – A-C Valley territory.
#22 Tylar Altman of the Panthers started the 2nd quarter off with a 4 yard pick up. Keystone would end up driving to the Falcon 20 yard line and was threatening to score. A-C Valley’s Tanner Merwin broke up a play down the middle to force a 4th down and 3. In a key defensive play of the game, Keystone decided to go for the first down. Union – A-C Valley’s Kylar Culbertson stepped in front of a Brett Wingard pass as he took the interception to the house for an 80 yard touchdown which knotted the contest 7-7 after the extra point by Colton Murray.
The Falcon-Knights would hold the Panthers at bay in the first half on several drives which they threatened to score. On a 3rd and 8, defensive coach, Chris McNany sent in the blitz package on Wingard and it paid off as the ball was tipped and intercepted by Union – A-C Valley’s Caden Rainey which thwarted one of the Panther drives.
Just before half Keystone’s Wingard would hit Nick Weaver for a long gain. Logan Sell of Keystone picked up 15 to advance to the Falcon-Knight 25 yard line. The Falcon-Knight defense led by 6-2” Jr. linebacker Carter Terwint who had a monster game (9 tackles) forced Keystone to a 3rd and 15. On the ensuing play Union – A-C Valley’s Bailey Crissman broke up a Wingard pass on 3rd and 15. Also big on defensive stops on the series were sophomore Mikey Card who recorded a 5 yard sack.
For the Falcon-Knights the start of the 3rd quarter featured the Caden Rainey show on offense. The Falcon-Knights faced with a 3rd and 16 drew up the inside screen to Rainey who picked up the first down on some hard running up the middle after the catch. Union – A-C Valley’s Kylar Culbertson picked up a nice gain on the ensuing play and Rainey again on a 2nd and 7 took the ball to about the Keystone 10 yard line. On a sweep left, Rainey found the end-zone as the Falcon-Knights would get the lead they would never relinquish. Murray’s extra point gave the Falcon-Knights a 14-7 lead.
The Falcon-Knights wasted little time in going back to the run in the 3rd quarter. Eli Penny got the ground game going with a combination of runs by Rainey, and Gaven Bowser. Merwin then got outside for a large gain which set up the Falcon-Knights 1st and 10 on the Panther 19 yard line. Merwin then found Karter Vogle at the 5 yard line on a pass play which set the Falcon-Knights up for 1st and goal with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Eli Penny was stopped for a loss on second down and Merwin was intercepted to thwart the scoring drive.
The Panthers started the 4th quarter on the move as Wingard moved the chains on 1st down and a Tylar Altman the same with a nice run. Keystone seemed to hurt themselves on the drive as they would be called for a delay of game and false start which erased a touch down which could of tied the game.
The Panther defense held strong as the Falcon-Knights traveled deep within Keystone territory with just under eight minutes left in the game. The Falcon-Knights Sr., running back Eli Penny picked up 5 yards and 3 yard respectively to set up a 3rd and 2. However, Merwin miscued the snap and Union - A-C was forced to punt.
Keystone took over possession on their own 48 yard line but the series was halted by the Falcon-Knight defense as they would stop a fake punt with a big play by Bailey Crissman and Karter Vogle.
The Falcon-Knights got the ball back with 4:18 left in the contest and was able to knock some valuable seconds off the clock with runs by Kylar Culbertson and Eli Penny. A bad snap forced the Falcon-Knights to give it back once again to the Panthers but the Union – A-C Valley defense was once again able to come thru to end the game and notchUnion – A-C Valley’s 2nd win as many tries.
Assistant coach Ray Fox commented on the game. “Offensively, we played a bit sloppy at times, especially in the first half, but we corrected some mistakes at halftime and played better in the second half. Our veteran leaders showed maturity keeping their composure, which allowed them to overcome the mistakes and hold on for the win. Our defense continued to play pretty well again this week. We're very fortunate to have a group of hardworking kids who have been committed to learning the defense, which allows them to play fast and physical while minimizing mental mistakes. Keystone has a very solid team from top to bottom, so we're happy to come away with a win, despite a slow offensive start.”
On the night the Falcon-Knights were out-gained in total yardage as the Panthers posted 237 total yards (150 passing and 87 rushing yards) to Union – A-C Valley’s 158.
For Union – A-C Valley Kylar Culbertson carried 6 times for 34 yards, Caden Rainey 7-31 and a TD and Eli Penny 8 carries for 21 yards.
The Panthers were led by Nick Weaver on the ground with 12 carries for 33 yards and receiving 6 catches for 72 yards and Brett Wingard through the air with 16-29 passing and 152 yards.
Defensively a solid performance was turned in by Carter Terwint with 9 tackles, Caden Rainey with 7 tackles and an interception and Kylar Culbertson with a pick six for the Falcon-Knights.
Although the Falcon-Knights were out-gained, they found a way to win and the defense lead the way.
Union – A-C Valley will get its first home game this Friday night at Union as they will take on Curwensville for a 7 PM kickoff.