BY DAVE LAURIHA
Montrose fell 52-14 on Friday as Mid Valley recovered four fumbles and turned all of them into touchdowns in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division III game at Spartan Stadium.
Mid Valley (3-7, 2-3 LFC III) held a 22-8 lead entering the second quarter, but Montrose (0-10, 0-5) had made two first downs on a drive starting from its own 7-yard line, generating hope it could stay in the game.
But on a third-and-5 play, any momentum was stripped away by the Spartans.
The touchdown gave the Spartans a 30-8 lead with 9:10 left in the first half, and made sure that Mid Valley would finish on a winning note.
“It took the air out of them,” Mid Valley’s Dave Urso said. “When you get points from the defense, the offense wants to score even more.”
That’s exactly what the Spartans did, converting two more fumble recoveries into touchdowns before halftime for a 44-8 lead.
Despite losing its 18th straight game, Montrose continued to play hard behind junior Nathan Clark, who ran for 177 yards and a touchdown in 31 carries.
“You can’t beat turnovers,” Meteors coach Jack Keihl said. “We were on our fourth quarterback this year, but (injuries) are the game, and when you have just 23, 24 kids, that’s when it comes back to bite you.”
Montrose had 100 yards in the first quarter before the turnover bug bit the Meteors. Mid Valley was glad to accept the help.
“The kids played well,” Mid Valley coach Frank Pazzaglia said. “Montrose helped us the way we’ve helped some teams this year. It’s nice to finish on a good note, to take some momentum into next year.”
The offense was spectacular in the first half, generating 291 yards on only 16 plays, getting scoring runs of 45 and 78 yards, a touchdown catch of 47 yards, and six other plays of between 12 and 21 yards.
“We hit some big plays, plays that we could have hit all year,” Pazzaglia said.
All told, the Spartans had the ball for 5 minutes, 56 seconds in the first half, and ran just 16 plays, yet held a 36-point lead to put the mercy rule in effect for the second half, which lasted just 30 plays.
Montrose 8 0 0 6 – 14
Mid Valley 22 22 8 0 – 52
First Downs 12 12
Rushing-Yards 48-201 21-245
Comp-Att-Int 0-1-0 4-5-0
Passing Yards 0 89
Total Yards 201 334
Fumbles-Lost 7-5 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-37 2-10
Rushing: MON – N. Clark 31-177, 1 TD; E. Jones 9-16, 1 TD; B. Johnson 5-8; D. Heeman 1-0; Team 2-0.
Passing: MON – B. Johnson 0-1-0, 0.