*GAME OF THE WEEK: Valley View (PA) 19, Lakeland (PA) 14
When the Northeast Pennsylvania towns of Jessup, Peckville and Archbald merged together in 1969 to form Valley View High School, a powerhouse high school football program was born. The Cougars have 13 division titles, five Eastern Conference championships, one District 2 Class AA crown, a PIAA Class AA title and undefeated seasons in 1971 and 1992.
Neighboring Lakeland was formed when Scott Township, Jermyn and Mayfield were joined together in 1961. The mighty Chiefs have 19 division championships, five District 2 Class AA titles, four Eastern Conference Class B crowns, one Eastern Conference Class A title with two undefeated seasons in 1977 and 1987.
Enrollment classifications separated the side-by-side jointures for years. But the border war in football-crazy Lackawanna County has always rated as one of the fiercest rivalries in the Keystone State. They met again Friday night in Jermyn.
Cougar tailback Tyler Phillips is regarded as a can't miss D-1 prospect. But the senior's night ended on the first play of the second quarter with an ankle injury (8 carries/94 yards). Backup running back Brandon Ossont and fullback Rob Castellani more than picked up the slack for their fallen teammate. The pair combined for 168 yards on 23 carries.
Castellani caught one touchdown pass and ran for the eventual game winner and Ossont intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:16 remaining to seal the victory as the fifth-ranked Cougars held off No. 10 Lakeland, 19-14, in Friday's hard-hitting Lackawanna Football Conference crossover contest.
"I've known going through the season that I could be one play away from playing and when Tyler went down, I knew it was time for me to step up and lead this team the way I'm supposed to," said Ossont, who carried 13 times for 76 yards.
A see-saw affair saw the Chiefs with the ball on the Cougar 15-yard line with time ticking down in regulation. Lakeland quarterback Kyle Kiehart looked like he would be the hero with a late touchdown pass, but he was penalized for crossing the line of scrimmage. The Cougar's Osmont would step in front to the next Kiehart offering for a contest-sealing interception.
"I promised coach that I wouldn't let them get into the end zone," Ossont said. "Coach (Joe) Zabielski told us all week to watch out for the tight end coming out on the outside. Basically, I just dropped back, made sure no one got behind me and came up when I needed to."
The Cougar win gives Valley View a 20-12 edge in the series with Lakeland.
*PLAYER OF THE WEEK: SO QB Travis Garrett, Pilot Point High School (TX)
When a cold front stormed through Lindsay, Texas on Friday night knocking out the light standard on one side of the field, the visiting Bobcats from 2-A Pilot Point's hopes for rebounding from a 10-point halftime deficit looked as bleak as the weather. Then four-sport star Travis Garrett took over. The 6'1", 180 pound sophomore signal-caller took over the game. Garrett orchestrated a pair of 80-yard drives and the Pilot Point defense pitched a shut out in a 33-24 come from behind win. He finished with a game-high 213 rushing yards on 20 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
*PHOTO OF THE WEEK: "The Trojan's Horse"
The pic of the week comes from McDowell High School's 48-14 victory at General McLain High School in Erie, Pennsylvania. Pitt commit James Conner, a ferocious 6'3", 235-pound physical specimen, lead the Trojans with 165 rushing yards/3 touchdowns on just 9 carries, but it was striking this pose after a vicious hit after flattening a Lancer offensive player that captures top photo honors.
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