Valenti, Northeastern set tone early, dominate York Catholic
All the talk of the close games between Northeastern and York Catholic really didn't resonate with Bobcats quarterback Shannon Valenti.
The junior, who transferred in from Central York, wasn't a part of the previous battles between the two teams.
But during Friday's season opener at York Catholic, Valenti did everything in his power to make sure that history did not repeat itself.
In his first start for Northeastern, Valenti went 8-for-11 with a touchdown pass, and ran for two more scores to help the Bobcats dominate the Irish, 40-7.
"I just know last year was tight," Valenti said. "It came together from the start. Before the game even started, everyone was ready to go. All week we were hyped up. That transferred on to the field."
One play after a short York Catholic punt, Valenti hit Dezmend Wigginton on a 53-yard touchdown pass, putting Northeastern up 14-0 less than four minutes into the second quarter.
Although neither team scored before the end of the half, all of the momentum belonged to the visitors when the teams went to the intermission.
"We had to set the tone early," said junior running back Chris Whack, who ran for 92 yards on only eight carries. "It was unbelievable. I had the line blocking right. What can I say?"
With first downs on the first three plays of the second half, the Irish finally got some things going their way. However, that drive stalled when Bobcats senior Fernando Flores sacked Irish quarterback Daniel Yokemick.
On the first play after the ensuing punt, Whack ran 50 yards for a first down. Four plays later, David Ankney took a pitch out and scampered 9 yards for a touchdown that made it 20-0.
Exactly 50 seconds later, Kody Reeser picked off Yokemick and sprinted in from 24 yards out.
"We have a veteran group of guys. We are a little bit older this year, and some of these guys were on the team the first game we played against them," Bobcats coach Jon Scepanski said.
"It's been a tradition where it comes down to the last minute. Our goal was to not let that happen. They were dedicated to not letting that happen, and they all did a great job with that."
Another three-and-out was followed by a three-play Northeastern drive that started with a Whack 30-yard run and was capped by Valenti's first rushing score, from 14 yards out.
"I am proud of him. He came in, earned a spot and did what he had to do," Whack said of Valenti.
"It was one of those things, scrimmages are scrimmages, tonight was real, and you didn't know how he was going to handle certain things," Scepanski added. "He kept his poise, and I told him to relax and just play football. He did a great job."
Yokemick caught a rhythm later and finished a drive by hitting Jakkar Kinard on a 22-yard scoring strike, but Valenti answered for the final score of the game.
Northeastern totaled 406 yards of offense, 273 on the ground. Anu Johnson ran for 65 yards, including the first score of the game late in the opening quarter.
Ne — Anu Johnson 2-rush (Cameron Artman kick), 0:58.
Ne — Dezmend Wigginton 53-pass from Shannon Valenti (Artman kick), 8:18.
Ne — David Ankney 9-rush (kick blocked), 6:54.
Ne — Kody Reeser 24-interception return (Artman kick), 6:04.
Ne — Valenti 14-rush (Artman kick), 3:58.
YC — Jakkar Kinard 22-pass from Daniel Yokemick (Luke Brennan kick), 9:50.
Ne — Valenti 4-rush (run failed), 4:20.
NeYCFirst downs2010Rushes-yards48-27332-131Passing8-11-16-15-2Passing yards13371Total yards406202Punts2-28.57-27.3Fumbles-lost1-01-0Penalties-yards10-934-33
Rushing — Ne, Whack 7-83, Johnson 12-65, Reeser 10-53, Valenti 8-38, Michael Cooper 2-13, David Ankney 3-17, Wyatt Hughes 3-6, Blake Einsig 2-(-2). YC, Kinard 14-95, Sean Lamont 2-14, Andrew Polson 8-11, Yokemick 8-11.
Passing — Ne, Valenti 8-11-133-1. YC, Yokemick 6-15-71-2.
Receiving — Ne, Jordan Zirkle 2-21, Taemar Willis 2-18, Wigginton 1-53, Jonathen Butler 1-23, Whack 1-11, Ankney 1-7. YC, Joseph Bauhof 2-30, Brandon Creisher 2-11, Kinard 1-22, Brennan 1-8.