BROCKWAY — Brockway struggled to get anything going offensively as it suffered a 37-7 defeat at the hands of visiting Union/A-C Valley at Frank Varischetti Field Friday night.
The game was the first under head coach Jake Heigel, as the Rovers’ lone score in the loss came on an 80-yard kick return from Tanner Morelli in the fourth quarter.
Brockway finished the game with just 70 yards of total offense, as it carried the ball 25 times for a combined minus-35 yards.
The Falcon Knights started the game with the ball, as the home side’s defense came up with a big three-and-out.
Instead of the Rovers starting their first drive of the game, a muffed punt near midfield recovered by Union/A-C Valley brought its offense back onto the field.
Five plays later, quarterback Tanner Merwin called his own number on a read-option play, taking it up the middle for an 11-yard score.
A two-point conversion pass from Merwin to Gaven Bowser gave the visitors an 8-0 lead just 4:37 into the game.
Brockway looked to respond right away, as it marched down the field on a 13-play drive, highlighted by a 35-yard passing connection from Conner Ford to Tanner Morelli.
The Rovers eventually found themselves with a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line, but their next four plays netted minus-10 yards as they turned the ball over on downs late in the opening quarter.
On the home side’s second drive of the game, it looked as if they had gotten on the board, as Loren Way took a pitch and got around the edge, bursting down the far sideline for what appeared to be a 33-yard touchdown.
Instead, the play was called back for a holding penalty, as Brockway’s drive would eventually stall.
Penalties doomed the Rovers all night, as they were flagged 10 times for 98 yards.
After the defensive stop, Union/A-C Valley went 52 yards on nine plays, as a 19-yard passing score from Merwin to Karter Vogle capped the drive.
Another two-point conversion gave the Falcon Knights a 16-0 lead with 4:52 left in the first half.
Brockway then went three-and-out, before Merwin burned the defense on yet another read-option keeper, this time hurdling a defender before outrunning the defense to the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown.
The score gave the away side a 23-0 advantage with 1:27 left in the second quarter, as Union/A-C Valley would take that 23-point lead into the half.
The Rovers looked to battle back in the second half, as they took the opening drive into the red zone before Conner Ford had his pass picked off in the end zone by Vogle.
Union/A-C Valley would take its 23-0 lead into the final quarter of play, and after the team’s traded interceptions on the Rovers’ side of the field, the visitors delivered the knockout punch.
Ford looked to find a receiver in the flat, but Eli Penny read the play, jumping in front of the intended target for the interception which he returned 13 yards for a score with 9:14 left in the game.
A 2-yard rushing score by Bailey Crissman resulted in the Falcon Knights’ final points of the game and made it 37-0 with 3:07 to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Morelli tracked down a low kick, scooping the ball up on his own 20-yard line before breaking free down the far sideline for an 80-yard touchdown score to breakup the shutout.
Lewis Painter added the extra-point to bring the score to its eventual final of 37-7 with 2:49 left to play.
Brockway is back in action Friday as it visits Redbank Valley.
UNION/A-C VALLEY 37
Score by Quarters
U—Tanner Merwin 11 run (Gaven Bowser pass from Tanner Merwin), 7:23
U—Karter Vogle 18 pss from Tanner Merwin (Caden Rainey pass from Tanner Merwin), 4:52
U—Tanner Merwin 59 run (Colton Murray kick), 1:27
U—Eli Penny 13 interception return (Colton Murray kick), 9:14
U—Bailey Crissman 2 run (Colton Murray kick), 3:07
B—Tanner Morelli 80 kick return (Lewis Painter kick), 2:49
Union/A-C Valley—Eli Penny 7-8, Kylar Culbertson 5-27, Tanner Merwin 7-75, Caden Rainey 3-30, Bailey Crissman 3-15, Gaven Bowser 4-29, Team: 2-(-4).
Brockway—Conner Ryckman 6-11, Conner Ford 8-(-17), Seth Stewart 1-2, Loren Way 3-(-13), Ezra Swanson 2-4, Ben Glasl 1-(-6), Peyton Maurer 1-(-10), Team: 2-(-6).
Union/A-C Valley—Tanner Merwin 5-of-12, 59 yds., 1 TD, 1 Int.
Brockway—Conner Ford 10-of-17, 105 yds., 3 Int.
Union/A-C Valley—Caden Rainey 2-30, Bailey Crissman 1-4, Karter Vogle 1-19, Gaven Bowser 1-6.
Brockway—Tanner Morelli 2-45, Austin Schmader 3-35, Ben Glasl 2-22, Jalen Kosko 1-2, Ezra Swanson 1-10, Loren Way 1-(-9).
Union/A-C Valley—Karter Vogle, Eli Penny, Bailey Crissman.