BROOKVILLE — An impressive performance by the Brookville Raiders' dynamic offensive trio helped power them to a 48-24 victory over A-C Valley Friday night, improving to a 5-1 record.
Running backs Zach Vroman and Brodie Zacherl and quarterback Cameron Yard combined for 409 rushing yards.
"The more weapons you have the tougher you are to defend, and that's what we're evolving into," said Chris Dworek, Raider varsity coach.
Vroman rushed for 129 yards on 10 carries with a 56-yard TD run and a 70-yard punt return.
Zacherl trotted for 139 yards on 22 carries with a 2-yard TD run. Yard dashed for 141 yards on nine rushing attempts with 3 TD runs (68,45,1). Yard also ran in a two-point conversion and threw a 41-yard TD pass to Braiden Smith.
The Falcons got off to a solid start behind quarterback Kevin Kaufman, but as the game progressed, the Raider defense was able to get the best of him. Kaufman completed 15 of 37 passes with a 50-yard TD pass, two interceptions and a fumble.
A-C Valley received the opening kickoff and Kaufman quickly went to work. On the opening drive he completed 3 of 4 passes for 23 yards, which helped push the Falcons to the Brookville 12-yard line.
Running back Landon Delisio rushed the ball the remaining 12 yards to score the game's first TD 5 minutes into the contest. Damien Wolfe booted in the PAT to put A-C Valley up 7-0.
The Raiders wasted little time responding. On the third play of their opening drive, Yard faked a hand-off to Zacherl, then ran the ball down the left side of field 68 yards for the score.
Yard tried to use his arm to put the Raiders ahead by one with the two-point conversion, but his pass was incomplete. The Falcons were still on top 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons scored again on a 92-yard kickoff return TD from Josh Suto. Wolfe kicked in another PAT to push the Falcons lead to 14-6 with 5:21 remaining in the first quarter.
Brookville responded to the deficit on its ensuing drive. On first down, Yard could not connect with Nathan St. Laurent. Zacherl then carried on the next three downs, combining for 27 yards and two first downs.
With a new set of downs, Yard looked to hand the ball off to Zacherl again but faked the Falcon defense out of its cleats when he took the ball himself for a 45-yard TD trot.
Yard followed up by running in the two-point conversion as well to tie the game at 14 apiece.
A-C Valley scored again off a Wolfe field goal early in the second quarter to put the Falcons back on top, 17-14.
Jonah Sampson grabbed the ensuing kick and was able to run the ball back to the Raider 44-yard line. That proved to be close enough to the goal for Vroman, as he ran the ball 56 yards for the score on the Raiders' first play of the second quarter. Yard kicked another PAT to push Brookville's lead to 21-17.
Once the Raiders took the lead, they started to get hot on both sides of the ball. Coach Dworek was proud of his players for responding from an early point deficit.
"It is a nice feeling to know that no one is panicking, no one is shocked and no one is going to put their head down.
The guys are smart; they grew up a lot since that first game and they're continuing to learn lessons, which make them just that much more mentally tough," said Dworek.
On the first play of the Falcons next drive, the Raiders forced a fumble on Kaufman, which was grabbed by Zacherl.
Yard tried airing the ball out on the ensuing drive but came up short. He went 0-3 and the Raiders ended up with a turnover on downs.
Kaufman began to find more pressure from the Raider defensive line and cornerbacks on the next drive.
"They (cornerbacks) were breaking a lot better; you could just see them getting more confident with every pass they (AC-Valley) were throwing, they (Brookville) were able to read things better and break on the ball a lot quicker," said Dworek.
On second-and-nine, Kaufman was able to complete a pass to Delisio, who was facing double coverage. Suto tried to run on a new set of downs, but Vroman had other plans, as he tackled him in the backfield for a loss of two yards.
On second-and-12, Kaufman tried to connect with Greg Elliot, but the pass was incomplete. Kaufman tried to connect to tight end Anthony Painter, but Evan Matheny broke up the pass.
The Falcons were forced to punt the ball away, which Vroman was able to return 70 yards for the score. Yard booted another PAT and put the Raiders up 28-17.
A-C Valley was forced to punt again on its next drive thanks in part to some top-notch defensive work by Zacherl. He helped pressure the Falcon receiver core and was able to break up a pass on third-and-10.
On Brookville's ensuing drive, Vroman, Yard and Zacherl alternated carries until eight plays and 79 yards later, when the Raiders were at the 1-yard line. Brookville's O-line was able to push the Falcon defense back, enabling Yard to punch the ball in for the score. Yard's PAT attempt was no good, keeping the score at 34-17 Brookville.
The Raiders scored again on their opening drive of the first half. Zacherl absorbed most of the work load, as he ran the ball for 32 yards on 7 carries. His last carry of the drive was a two-yard TD scamper. Yard connected after on the PAT to extend Brookville's lead to 41-17.
The Raiders followed up their score with a gutsy onside kick call which ended up benefiting them.
Yard's kick was touched by a Falcon player, and Nathan Bonfardine was able to recover the ball for the Raiders at the A-C Valley 41-yard line.
On the first play, Yard was able to find an open Braiden Smith down the left side of the field for a 41-yard TD reception. Yard then kicked the PAT and pushed Brookville's lead to 48-17.
The Falcons were able to score their first points of the second half on the ensuing drive when Kaufman completed a pass to Ryan Bartley for a 50-yard TD score. Wolfe kicked another PAT to cut Brookville's lead to 48-24.
Neither team was able to find the end zone in the fourth quarter, so Brookville held onto its 48-24 lead for the final score.