The white-and-blue jersey of Shane Corson was tinged with green and caked with dirt. Still, the powerful fullback and central figure in the Conemaugh Valley offense couldn’t contain one wide postgame smile.
Considering Corson’s workload Saturday afternoon at Rockwood Athletic Field, he deserved a moment to savor the Blue Jays’ accomplishments as much as he needed an ice bath and a day off today following Conemaugh Valley’s 25-0 victory over the Rockets.
“That was a rough one,” Corson said. “But it was a great team effort. Our line came out blocking hard.”
Of Corson’s 32 carries, he was met at or behind the line of scrimmage on more than half of them, yet the powerful 5-foot-9, 220-pound senior never went down on first contact. If Rockwood’s defense line got to Corson five yards behind the line of scrimmage, Corson worked hard to minimize the damage. Sometimes Corson even managed to muscle his way to positive yardage.
If the Rockets failed to get to Corson before he hit the line of scrimmage, it meant the workmanlike Blue Jays moved the chains.
“It’s because he’s spent so much time in the weight room,” Conemaugh Valley coach Winston Redman said. “He benches 370 pounds and can box squat 675. His legs are real strong. When you run a power-I, sometimes you get nothing right away. With our conditioning, you can wear them down.”
And wear down a game Rockwood defense is exactly what Corson and surging Conemaugh Valley did.
Corson finished with 160 yards and had an 80-yard touchdown run called back on a penalty.
It was all part of a basic, ball-control offense that ran the football 61 times for 274 yards and got rushing touchdowns from quarterback Xavier Butts and tailback Brandon Galasso, who finished with 77 yards on 16 carries.
“Fundamentally, we had a tough time tackling,” Rockwood coach Jerry Kaizen said. “We knew (Corson) was strong and athletic. We worked all week on getting down on his legs. We had a nice defensive scheme and nice pentration, but when you spend three-quarters of the game on defense, you know the story. Pretty soon bend but don’t break breaks.”
It’s exactly the type of effort Redman wanted from Conemaugh Valley (3-4), which moved to 3-3 in the WestPAC and won a second consecutive game for the first time since 2008 when the Blue Jays started the season 3-0.
Hence the reason for Corson’s smile.
“Coach (Redman) is putting us in position to win,” Corson said. “It’s definitely a good feeling.”
Conemaugh Valley is feeling good about its defense, too.
The Blue Jays have allowed eight points the past two games and did a solid job against Berlin in Week 4. Against Rockwood (1-6, 0-6), Nick Roberts led the defensive charge.
A senior linebacker, Roberts finished with three tackles for loss, including one quarterback sack, and he trailed Luke Brancato – Rockwood’s multi-purpose running back – all over the field. Brancato was held without a reception and to two yards rushing.
“Everyone came together. We had a good week at practice,” Roberts said. “Rockwood is known to pass, so we worked on it all week. I just followed him and stuck close.”
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