The Valley Central football team’s defense kept the Vikings in the game, but the offense couldn’t muster a sustained push.
Eventually the Washingtonville Wizards’ offense wore down the Vikings, handing them a 21-7 loss on Friday night at Washingtonville High School.
“The guys worked hard in practice this week and we just didn’t perform on the field,” Valley Central coach Andrew LaVallie said. “We took our loss from last week (to Minisink Valley) and we thought we were going to bounce back from it. Washingtonville’s a tough team and they’ve got five guys up front, they come out and smack you in the face. And we couldn’t do it.”
The Wizards struck first after a long-sustained drive that chewed nearly 8 minutes off the game clock. The Wizards started on their own 28 and marched to the Vikings’ 27-yard line on 12 plays to the end of the first quarter.
Then on the first play of the second quarter, Washingtonville’s Jake Pierro ran 27 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The Vikings started their next possession on their own 26-yard line and Elijah Bellinger helped get them to the Wizards 47-yard line before a fumble turned the ball back over.
On the next play, Washingtonville quarterback Kai Bohunicky hit Jack DelGuidice for a 45-yard touchdown pass, giving the Wizards a 14-0 lead.
The Vikings answered back immediately when quarterback Bryce DeRonda threw a long touchdown of his own, connecting with Tyler Pucci for a 55-yard touchdown pass to cut the Wizards’ lead to 14-7.
The Wizards’ offense controlled the tempo in the second half, holding the ball for more than half of the third quarter until the Vikings’ stuffed the Wizards on a fourth-and-3 on the Valley Central 9-yard line.
Bellinger appeared to take a 92-yard counter the other way for a touchdown on the third play of the Vikings’ next drive, but a holding penalty nullified what could have been a game-tying touchdown.
The Vikings punted.
Then after another stop, and another Valley Central punt, the Wizards took over on their own 31 with 11:06 to go in the game.
And then they held the ball for the next nine minutes in a drive that culminated in DelGuidice’s 6-yard touchdown run to give the Wizards a two-touchdown lead.
“We know Washingtonville is going to get three or four on every single play,” LaVallie said. “We’re just trying to get a loss just to get them going backward. But once they get on a train, you’ve got to make a big stop. At the end, we just couldn’t get the stop.”
The loss narrows the Vikings chance to make the Section 9 Class A playoffs, dropping them to fourth place in Division 1 with one league remaining, unbeaten Cornwall. The top three teams from the two divisions qualify for the six-team field.
First, the Vikings will head north to Wallkill for the annual Battle of the Valley game.
The Vikings have possession of the helmet after defeating the Panthers, 22-19, in April.
“We’re looking forward to playing Wallkill in the Battle of the Valley,” LaVallie said. “We’re going to get after it Saturday morning.”