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Grand Valley rallies for first win of year, beats Chalker

October 5, 2013
By RICH KELLY - Special to Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

ORWELL - It was a long time coming, and the first two plays of the game made it seem like it would be even longer.

The Grand Valley Mustangs, behind stellar play from their front seven on both sides of the ball, overcame a problem that has plagued them all season to snare their first win, a sound 39-20 win over the Chalker Wildcats to begin defense of the Northeastern Athletic Conference championship.

In dropping their first five games, the Mustangs had gotten into the habit of shooting themselves in the foot.

The Wildcats punched the Mustangs right in the nose on the first play with an onside kick.

The Grand Valley defense stepped up after the onside kick and held on downs at its own 24 yard line. After Jake Vormelker gained 4 yards, he handed the ball off to Jason Hart. He broke to the outside and raced 60 yards, setting up Vormelker's 12-yard scoring run on the next play.

Using 5 and a half minutes in going 55 yards, though, got Chalker (3-3, 0-1 in NAC) right back into the game after Austin Casper took the ball in from a yard out.

That is when the Mustang front seven took over the game, led by Glenn Zaller and Jason Takacs.

"They had some success running the ball outside early in the game," Glavickas said. "Coach (Clint) Sims made an adjustment by moving Glenn (Zaller) further outside at linebacker to contain the ends more, and everybody did a nice job shutting down the inside as well."

In holding Chalker (1-5, 1-0 NAC) to only 151 yards in the game, that front seven played squash with an undermanned Wildcat line, including five sacks on the night. Three of those were from Luke Baldwin, as the Wildcats attempted to open things up more in the second half.

Rolling to his left much of the time, Austin Casper did not see Baldwin coming faster than a blue bullet train, and it wasn't until late in the game, after several big plays from Grand Valley broke the game open, that Southington used miscues from Mustang reserves to tally two late touchdowns.

"We are shorthanded, quite a bit," Southington coach Ryan Slone said.

"We are missing one of our top three backs, and we had some linemen get banged up, so we've moved some kids around. We don't have much depth to start with, so making changes really hurt us at times tonight."

Dillon Nezbeth had the early success for the Wildcats, and ended up with 75 yards on 20 carries. Casper gained yardage early on, but being constantly chased in the second half saw his rushing yardage disappear in a hurry. The Wildcats passing game was greatly lacking, accounting for only 38 yards on 6 of 16 passes.

In scoring 20 points in the second period, though, Grand Valley made big plays that gave it a big lead, and they made big plays again in the second half to maintain control.