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Grand Valley rolls past Mathews

October 20, 2012
By BOB ETTINGER - Special to Tribune Chronicle (sports@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

ORWELL - Three touchdowns in the span of four and a half minutes without running a single offensive play is enough to beat a good number of teams.

The Grand Valley football team pulled off the feat and used it to run away from Mathews, 45-21, Friday night at Grand Valley Stadium.

With the win, Grand Valley (6-3, 3-0 in Northeastern Athletic Conference) will host Ledgemont next Friday with a chance to win its first league championship since 1997.

Mathews (1-8, 0-3) took a 14-7 advantage with 46 seconds to play in the first quarter after a Grand Valley fumble. Alex Bagaglia scored from the 5. That would be the high-water mark for the Mustangs.

Jason Hart returned the ensuing kick 87 yards, knotting the score, 14-14.

"That was very big," GV coach John Glavickas said. "It couldn't have happened at a better time to a better person. Jason had just fumbled and was down in the dumps. The kids blocked it well and he took it all the way back.

"That sparked the whole team. That was the momentum swing for tonight's game."

Less than a minute into the second quarter and just three plays after the kick return, Jake Vormelker picked off a pass and raced 60 yards to the end zone. The kick was blocked and GV led, 20-14.

Six plays and three minutes later, Vormelker struck again. This time he intercepted a pass at the 32 and zig-zagged his way to another score.

The kick failed and the Mustangs held a 26-14 advantage with 8:02 to play in the half.

"Jake is a tremendous athlete," Glavickas said. "It was just a matter of time before he started doing things like that, especially the second one. He went to the sideline, then cut it back across the field.

"The best offense is a defense running the ball back."

The interceptions changed the entire complexion of the game for Mathews.

"The turnovers we had were for points," Mathews coach Mike Palumbo said. "We can't have that. It was 26-24 at the half and they had a special teams TD and two defensive TDs.

"You can't win football games like that."

Mathews scored on the opening possession of the game on a 42-yard scamper by Austin Arnal after Grand Valley Had roughed the kicker on a punt attempt to take a 7-0 lead a little more than 3 minutes in.

Sirrine knotted the score, 7-7, with a 6-yard plunge off tackle with 5:18 to play in the quarter.

Bagaglia then put Mathews up, 14-7, with his 5-yard run.

Arnal led Mathews with 88 yards on 13 attempts and Bryan Leipply had 71 yards on 18 carries.

Ettinger is a freelance writer for the Ashtabula Star Beacon