By Nathan Mayberg
GRAHAMSVILLE October 26, 2004 The Tri-Valley Bears recorded a 40-21 victory over visiting John S. Burke Catholic High School in Saturdays non-league football game.
The win was on the last home game of the year for the Bears.
T-V, a Class C team, was led by the undaunted rushing performances of senior back Josh Smith, who totaled 200 yards on the ground, and junior Daniel Knox, who added 198 yards. Senior quarterback Joe Garigliano ran for 78 yards in the win over Burke, a Class B school.
Josh Smith was also one of T-Vs strongest defensive players, sacking Burke QB Mike Sullivan once in the first half.
T-V (4-3) took control of the game early, and never looked back. The Bears three-headed running combo of Garigliano, Knox and Smith was overwhelming for their opponents.
The Bears used a long drive in the middle of the first quarter, which included large gains by all three of those aforementioned players, as well as an 8-yard pass from Garigliano to senior Casey Grey, to score the games first touchdown. Knox completed the drive, with a 29-yard run into the end zone.
The Bears used the first of five on-side kicks during the game to sustain their momentum. Smith recovered the first on-side kick to establish field position at Burkes 38 yard line.
Garigliano hurt the Burke defense by running for 21 yards soon after. Six plays later, Smith ran in for his first touchdown of the game.
The Eagles were in the midst of responding with a drive of their own, when T-Vs Alan Coombe turned the tables with a fumble recovery.
Burke (4-3) did not quit and displayed a tough defense, which unleashed crushing hits on the Bears. Joe Begendorf was one of their better defensive players. Along with his strong tackling, he broke up a passing play, which could have resulted in a second quarter touchdown.
However, T-V was a determined group on this day. The Bears used several large gains by Knox to push into the red zone of their Orange County opponent once again. Garigliano handed the ball to Smith for two small gains, which propelled the team to a 21-0 lead with 8:47 left in the second quarter.
But Burke rose to the occasion. Sullivan connected with standout offensive star Andrew Jackson on a 19-yard passing play. That was followed up by a 28-yard run by their best rusher, senior David Racine who picked up 150 yards on the day. Racine took the ball to the 1-yard line on the next play. Jackson sealed the deal with a 1-yard touchdown run to get Burke back in the game.
T-Vs Kevin Smith returned the subsequent kickoff 20 yards to set up another long drive. Smith was adept at returning kickoffs, as he also ran for 27 yards on a second half return.
Josh Smith was a total workhorse, carrying the ball upfield, carry by carry. He was knocked particularly hard on a hit by Eagle defender Eric Arseneault. But Smith appeared unphased as he was only warming up to his rushing duties. Garigliano ran 12 yards for a first down on that Bear drive following the Burkes first TD.
Burke stepped up its defensive pressure with solid team tackling all around. However, they could not prevent the Bears team effort on offense. Knox ran the ball in for his second touchdown of the afternoon to give T-V a 28-7 lead.
Sullivan signaled steadfast composure as he threw for two large passing plays on the ensuing Burke drive, including a 24-yard reception by Jason Green. Racine scored the Eagles second touchdown to close the gap to 28-14.
Josh Smith was also one of T-Vs strongest defensive players, sacking Sullivan once in the first half.
Burke was able to regain the ball and use an effective ground and air play to tighten the game up.
Arseneault caught a 24-yard pass and James Toledo ran for 23 yards to move deep into the T-V zone. Racine scored his second touchdown of the game with a 2-yard run to close the Bears lead to 28-21.
The Bears then turned to Knox and Josh Smith to help pull away from Burke. Smith appeared unscathed from his previous blows, and withstood several more, as he broke through several tackles, and gained major yardage into Burkes half of the field. Despite Burkes fierce tackling, Garigliano located a hole in their line and ran right through it, picking up 29 yards down to the 2 yard-line. Two plays later, he sneaked the ball into the end zone to give the Bears a 34-21 advantage.
Burke failed to respond as the T-V defense took over. Bear seniors Ryan Barkley and Coombe were a presence in the Burke backfield, as they both made tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Coombe had a key sack late in the third quarter, which led to Burke turning the ball over on downs. In addition, T-Vs Danny Walter broke up a touchdown pass in the second half.
Bear seniors Chris Poley and Owen Williams combine for another sack in the fourth quarter and Walter scored on a 5-yard interception return.
Knox ended the scoring with a 48- yard TD run with 14 seconds left in the game.
T-V Coach Dave Viglione said he was very proud of our kids and very happy for our seniors.
This was their last game at home, I told them to make it a good one, he said.
We played a very good team today, added Viglione, who said that he thought one of the keys to the win was stopping Burke early in the game.
He compared Garigliano to a field general and described the quarterbacks play as unselfish.
Viglione also showered praise on Coombe for volunteering to play offensive guard, instead of his normal halfback and fullback position.
Burke Coach Dwight Smith called it a real good game, a real tough game.
Both teams came to play hard, he said.