Shaler Holds on in First Round Thiller 23-21
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, November 7th, 2009
SHALER, Pa. – Boy, have the times changed for the red, white and blue; and although that statement maybe be true in speaking about our country, try www.thepittsburghchannel.com for more on that subject, in this article rather we are speaking about the red, white and blue of the Shaler Titans.
After all Titans fans have seen a change one could only compare to the economy, as far as its drastic turn around since head coach Neil Gordon was handed the keys to the football team last spring. Since being handed the keys Gordon has driven his Titans right on the highway to Heinz the past two seasons.
Coming into their WPIAL first round showdown with (5-4) Mt. Lebanon the (8-1) Titans brought with them their best record since 1998, that Titan squad won their opening round game but fell to Penn Hills Indians in the second round under….you guess it; Neil Gordon. Shaler would like to repeat at least the first part of that history with a win over the Blue Devils.
Shaler put together the first scoring drive on the first drive of the game when this week’s High School Playbook Athleate of the Week Jesse Dalla Valle took in the game first score.
Mt. Lebanon would answer that score in the second with a touchdown of their own, but the extra point was blocked, which still let the Titans keep the lead.
This back and forth battle would continued long in to the cold November night, as both the Titans and Blue Devils trade score once again, on the Devils score they were able to convert a two point conversion
Mt. Lebanon forced Shaler to attempt a field goal which went right through the pipes making it 17-14.
After the Blue Devils were able to take the lead for the first time all game, Jesse Dalla Valle (150-yard on 34 carries) once again answered the call on a two-yard dive for his third score of the game, with the missed extra point made it only a 2 point game at 23-21, and would give Mt. Lebo one last chance for some late heroics.
The heroics did come, but for the red, white and blue. As the 30-yard game winning field goal attempt was blocked by the Titans and scoped up by none other then Dalla Valle who retured it to the Devils 10-yard line, sealing the win.
Shaler will take on the defending WPIAL AAAA Champion Bethel Park next Friday night at 7:30 at a site to be determined.
Since the WPIAL started a football postseason back in the 1970s, (there had been only championship games before that time), Shaler won only three playoff games – last year, 2000, and 1998. With the Shaler win tonight, Gordon has as many playoff victories in his two year tenure, as the schools previous history. If that isn’t something for the red, white, and blue to cheer about, what is?
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