CLAYSBURG - Moshannon Valley came within inches of giving Claysburg-Kimmel a chance to tie the game up late on a two-point conversion try.
A controversial call with 1:08 left in the Inter-County Conference Silver Division matchup had the Black Knights on the winning side of the scoreboard as C-K's Logan Johnson hauled in a pass from wide receiver Carter Cerully but was called out of bounds on fourth-and-goal from the 19.
Mo Valley dodged a bullet and the defense dug deep for their final play as it was able to hold off a late methodical 17-play, eight-minute drive from the Bulldogs in a 28-20 victory on Homecoming at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night.
"Hats off to them [Claysburg]. They ran the ball right at us all night," Moshannon Valley coach Mike Keith said. "But our defense made some plays. We made enough plays to win the game. Our offense, we're finally getting the ball in the end zone now."
"He's [Johnson] one of our most brutally honest guys, and if he wasn't in [the end zone], he would have said 'Coach, I wasn't in,'" Claysburg-Kimmel coach Gabe Walter said. "He without a doubt says he was in, and everyone else [on our side] says he was in but it didn't go our way."
With the score 22-13 in favor of Moshannon Valley after three quarters of play, Claysburg-Kimmel pulled to within two points (22-20) when Johnson bulled his way in from seven yards out. Sophomore Austin Hunter added the point after.
The Knights wasted little time in responding as sophomore quarterback Eric Sherkel found a mismatch on Justin Kitko and exploited it for a 73-yard TD strike to the senior down the right sideline with 9:08 remaining. Sherkel's two-point conversion pass was batted down - keeping the contest at a one possession game.
"We got the coverage we wanted," Sherkel said. "He's a fast kid [Kitko]. I threw it up to him and he ran underneath it."
"That's a huge play," Keith said. "If we don't score those points there, it's a different game. We made the plays when we had to."
On its ensuing possession, C-K executed its plan as it chipped away and trudged all the way down to the MV 7 before three penalties totaling 22 yards pushed them back to the 29.
"When you're relying on a short yardage gain, you're going to chug down the field like a tank," Walter said. "But if you penalize yourself you need too many yards to make up with that short yardage approach. We had to go out of it a few times. You can't hurt yourself with penalties."
On the fourth down play from the 19, Cerully took a toss from QB Conner Brown as he was moving to his right. Cerully stopped and threw to the right front corner of the end zone where Johnson hauled it in and tried to reach for the pylon at the same time. However, he was called out of bounds on the catch - turning the ball back over to Mo Valley on downs.
Sherkel kneeled on the ball twice to end the game and improve the Black Knights to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the ICC Silver. The Bulldogs fell to 2-4 and 1-2.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Moshannon Valley6 16 0 6 - 28
Claysburg-Kimmel13 0 0 7 - 20
CK-Brown 1 run (run failed), 8:17.
MV-Sherkel 23 run (kick failed), 6:00.
CK-Johnson 40 run (Hunter kick), 3:20.
MV-Frailey 9 run (Demko pass from Sherkel), 10:15.
MV-Sherkel 7 run (Kitko pass from Sherkel), 2:32.
CK-Johnson 7 run (Hunter kick), 10:19.
MV-Kitko 73 pass from Sherkel (pass failed), 9:08.
RUSHING: Moshannon Valley-Sherkel 14-120, Stewart 1-5, Elder 7-56, Thomas 1-0, Frailey 2-16, TEAM 3-(-4). Claysburg-Kimmel-Brown 24-122, Fickes 8-46, Johnson 23-122, Imgrund 1-0, Cerully 1-4.
PASSING: Moshannon Valley-Sherkel 9-17-0-206. Claysburg-Kimmel-Brown 3-4-0-15, Cerully 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Moshannon Valley-Stewart 5-87, Kitko 2-87, Demko 1-15, Ky. O'Donnell 1-17. Claysburg-Kimmel-Cerully 1-3, Johnson 2-12.
INTERCEPTIONS: Moshannon Valley-None. Claysburg-Kimmel-None.