Delaware Valley struggles in loss to Johnson
10/3/2017 9:42 AM

ALEXANDRIA - The Delaware Valley High School football team knew it would needto be as close to mistake-free as possible Friday night if it was going totopple a polished machine like A.L Johnson.

Unfortunately for theTerriers, costly errors made it easier for the unbeaten Crusaders to depart TapWebb Field with a 49-21 victory in a Mid-State 37 Valley Division game.

A.L. Johnson improved to 4-0both overall and in division play. Delaware Valley dropped to 2-2 and 1-2 in the division. A.L. Johnson can wrap upthe division by beating Hillside in Clark next Friday night. Delaware Valley plays at division rival Bernards.

Delaware Valley had the opportunity to make it athree-team division race, but it didn’t happen for various reasons. 

The most significant was A.LJohnson’s 428 rushing yards. That number came in large part of a quality linethat enabled halfback Joe Turek to run for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. QuarterbackMike Bruno went for 120 yards and a touchdown. He threw just twopasses and completed both, one for a 27-yard touchdown to Lorenzo De Paz in thethird quarter.

Johnson led 28-0 in the second quarter and was in commandwith its hybrid triple-option offense doing the damage. Turek and backfieldmates ran counters, misdirections, “iso” runs and sweeps.

“Every time I see Johnson they seem to fire off the ball harder and harderthan they did the last time,” said Delaware Valley coach Mike Haughey, inhis second year as head coach after being an assistant under former coach MikeColumbo. “You cannot simulate their physicality and speed in practice. Thephysicality is the hardest thing.”Week4 High School Football action

Two turnovers and a botched snap on apunt gave the Crusaders prime short fields, something the Terriers wanted toavoid.

“We had dropped balls,fumbles, an interception, a punt snap over our heads,” Haughey said. “Evenagainst New Providence ina (40-0) win last week we made mistakes, and we did not clean them up thisweek. Hurting ourselves is uncharacteristic of Del Val football. We have toclean them up going forward.”

The positives were that theTerriers didn’t quit on the night. Twice Johnson reached mercy rule territoryin the second half and both times Delaware Valley answered with touchdowns. But thatwasn’t exactly what the Terriers had in mind for their highlights on a day theunbeaten 1960 Delaware Valley club was honored.

A.L. Johnson scored on thefirst series of the game and soon was in complete control.

“Johnson is a better team,but I don’t know if they are 28 points better than us,” Haughey said.

A division title is no longera possibility for the Terriers, but a Central Group II playoff berth is. Shortmemories will need to be part of that quest. The Johnson game film was reviewedSaturday morning, but that’s where any thoughts of it should die.

“We have to put this gamebehind us,” Haughey said. “We can’t afford to let one loss compound into two.”

One of the key sequences camewith Johnson up 7-0 and just over five minutes left in the first quarter.Junior Lucas Romaine was set to punt from the Johnson 43, but the snapsailed over his head. Romaine did a lot just to beat the Crusaders to the ball,scoop it and get off a short punt. But despite his efforts, the  Crusaderswere set up at the Terrier 40.  It was soon 14-0 as Brandon Rapp sweptleft for a 13-yard touchdown.

“You can’t give a team likethat short fields. If we kick it deep and they’re pinned back and have to go 80 yards, it’s a different game,” Haughey said.

Delaware Valley got scores from Jared Pershyn on a 5-yardrun and Pershyn touchdown passes of 10 and 42 yards to senior wide Joey Beljand and juniorZach Fleming respectively. Beljan was a bright spot as he made sevencatches for 50 yards and touchdown and finished with eighttackles.


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