By JON HALL
For the Star Beacon
On Friday night against Ledgemont, Grand Valley was looking for its first conference crown since 1997, when the Mustangs won the ESC under Jim Henson now an assistant at Edinboro University.
Sometimes championships are won when no one but yourselves expects you to do so. There have been many great teams and individuals over the years when talking about the of history Grand Valley football.
Well, the Mustangs had the mix of the right chemistry, lofty goals and a little luck this season as GV supplanted two-time defending Northeastern Athletic Conference king pin, the Ledgemont Redskins 21-6 at Grand Valley Stadium.
The Mustangs put on a defensive clinic, holding the Redskins to negative-2 yards rushing and 137 in the air while sacking the Ledgemont quarterback eight times. The Mustangs harassed, punished, and blew by and won the battle up front and in particular junior linebacker Jason Hart and a host of his associates.
“Well it’s been since ’97 and it’s incredible,” said jubilant first-year coach John Glavickas. “They have never given up and just have been playing, playing, and playing. They all just play their roles and there is not a selfish kid on this whole team.
“We always knew that Jason Hart could be some kind of player for us. He turned it up a notch and we didn’t even have to stunt with him going in there. The defense just played great. The kids executed the game plan beautifully.”
“They played very well tonight,” Ledgemont coach Joe LaRosa said. “I knew it was going to be a dog fight. It was a dog fight all the way to halftime and the third. Hats off to them and coach. I was glad to see that they played very well. No. 35 (Stanley Sirrine) is a real stud and a very good ball player. We just
couldn’t get the ball off all night.”
“It’s awesome to be a part of this,” said Sirrine of his team’s accomplishment. “We weren’t supposed to do anything this year. Two years and we finally beat them.”
“Our defense was real solid all night and it has been all year,” Kyle Orgovan said. “(Defensive) coach (Clint) Nims has done a great job of putting it together. We had that one break down that they scored on but other than we stopped them all night. There is nothing that explains that offensive line. They did a great job coming in this year and getting ready for the season.
“They showed up and blocked for us. My efforts come from them and I thank them for what they did for us. I just ran hard behind them.”
The Mustangs did all their damage on the ground, rushing for 243 yards on 52 attempts led by Stanley Sirrine with a game-high 148 yards on 20 carries (6-yard touchdown run in the third), signal-caller Kyle Orgovan (6-yard touchdown run to open the scoring for GV) worked his magic behind center with 41 yards on 14 attempts and an assist to backup quarterback Jake Vormelker who helped pitch the ball to Sirrine on third and 6and after a 13-play, 70-yard drive to make 14-6.
The Mustangs took over the ball after a Ledgemont lost it on downs at the GV 30. The GV drive was flawless as they started with the ball on their first possession of the third quarter with 9:12 to go and used ball control. With 1:19 left in the third after Orgovan who cramped up, Vormelker came in and threw a pitch out to Sirrine making 14-6 heading to the fourth quarter.
“He had practice snaps and in a pressure situation — he got it off and he has been practicing that just in case he has to go in there,” Glavickas said. “The offense line has been our strength this year.”
The Mustangs went on top first with just a seven-play, 27-yard drive after 17 yard punt. On fourth and goal at the 6, Orgovan got stood up at the line of scrimmage and rolled off the back of the pile to the end zone with Josh Kovats adding the extra point.
The Redskins only score came on a big pass play on a third-and-11 at their own 29, Degener found a wide open Anthony Jennings over the middle and he dashed untouched to pay dirt with 7:38 left before intermission. The extra point try by Kingston Ross to knot the game was blocked by GV linebacker Glenn Zaller.
Ledgemont had two opportunities in the fourth quarter to tie the game but THE GV defense stymied the Redskins WITH back-to-back sacks of 12 and 14 yards.
The real clincher that put the boisterous, home-chilled crowd in a frenzy came with 3:37 to play in the game.
Sirrine broke off a 58-yard gain from his own 38. On the next play Tyler Drenski (16 carries, 58 yards) ran in from the 4 to claim the outright championship.
“The (GV) community has been just incredible,” Glavickas said. “Their whole support and the text and emails I get on a daily basis is all about rooting on the kids. It sure was big time atmosphere here tonight.”
Hall is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.
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