Both Conemaugh Valley and Ferndale were looking for a season-opening win when the Blue Jays hosted the Yellow Jackets on Saturday afternoon, but neither squad will be able to officially savor that victory for two more weeks as a weather-related delay forced the contest to be suspended with 7:35 left in the third quarter and the Jays ahead 40-18.
Following an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ferndale’s Chad Eisenhuth, visible lightning and audible thunder on the horizon prompted the officials to clear the field just as the Yellow Jackets lined up to kick off to the Jays. After a nearly two-hour delay during which the storm did not actually hit the area of Thomas Yewcic Stadium but the ominous skies refused to clear, the decision was made by game officials, coaches and administrative personnel to suspend the contest until Tuesday, September 18 at 5:30 PM. The teams will then return to Conemaugh Valley to complete the remainder of the game, weather permitting.
A monster effort by Conemaugh Valley senior fullback Shane Corson helped the Blue Jays rebound from an early deficit and build their commanding lead. Corson rushed for 242 yards and five touchdowns on 14 carries in the first half.
“Our line was blocking hard,” said Corson, whose performance was reminiscent of his older brother Steve Ling four years ago against the Yellow Jackets in which Ling rushed for a school-record 401 yards and five scores. “We have a lot of good backs who can step up and play, so we don’t have to always depend on just one guy.”
“Our young linemen did a good job,” said Blue Jay head coach Winston Redman. “We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores that gave a good effort in their first varsity game. We have some things to work on, but we’re a little more advanced than I thought we would be at this stage.”
Ferndale’s Eisenhuth staked the Yellow Jackets to a quick lead when he found running room around the left side and sprinted 80 yards for a score on the game’s initial snap to make it 6-0 just 20 seconds in. Conemaugh Valley answered with a 15-play drive that consumed nearly seven minutes, but Ferndale’s defense eventually stopped the Jays on downs at the Jacket 22.
After a Ferndale three-and-out, Corson then put Valley on the board with a 52-yard touchdown bolt. Swedish exchange student Johannes Hammarling then hit his first career extra point try to put the Jays up 7-6.
“After they scored, our kids gathered themselves up and fought back,” Redman said. “In the past, we might have folded our tents.”
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