ILION, N.Y. — Central Valley Academy controlled the football for most of Friday’s game. That didn’t stop Vernon-Verona-Sherrill from winning it.
Junior place kicker Zack Durant’s school-record 37-yard field goal with 6:48 left to play gave Vernon-Verona-Sherrill its first lead and the Red Devils held on for a 21-20 victory over the Thunder in a Class B East game at Diss Memorial Field.
Senior Mykel Farley rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries for Central Valley Academy (2-3, 1-3 B East), running mate Tyler Brown added 92 tough yards on 18 carries, and quarterback Matt Klosner threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Sponburgh.
The Red Devils (4-1, 4-1 B East), however, used big plays from tailback Chris Beavo and receiver Austin Mitchell to stay close and Durant finally gave them the lead with his game-winning boot.
“I really wasn’t nervous about it,” Durant said of his school-record kick, two yards longer than the mark shared by Garrett Jones and Ben Atwood. “I knew it was good as soon as I kicked it. It felt good coming off my foot.”
Beavo rushed for 106 yards on 21 carries, including a 55-yard touchdown, Ryan Oliver also had a touchdown run, and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill quarterback Christian Tiffin was 9 of 16 passing for 194 yards, including a 73-yard bomb to Mitchell that cut Central Valley Academy’s lead to 20-18 with 4:14 left in the third period.
Central Valley Academy’s double-wing offense couldn’t do much after that. The Thunder did reach the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill 41 in the final three minutes, but Simon Breckenridge made a third-down stop for a loss of one yard and Klosner’s fourth-and-six pass fell incomplete with 2:32 remaining.
Central Valley Academy had opened the game with a 17-play, 99-yard drive — all on the ground — that lasted more than seven minutes, featured five different ball carriers and ended with Farley’s five-yard touchdown. Travis Mead’s conversion run made it 8-0.
Vernon-Verona-Sherrill responded three plays and 24 seconds later when Beavo sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown, his 12th of the season, to cut the deficit to 8-6.
Farley left the game briefly with a leg injury on the next Central Valley Academy series, but his replacement, Sponburgh, scored on a 32-yard pass from Klosner on the Thunder’s first throw of the game and the lead was 14-6.
Vernon-Verona-Sherrill converted a Thunder fumble at the Central Valley Academy 35 into a four-yard touchdown run by Oliver with 2:35 left in the first half. Tiffin was sacked on the conversion try, so Central Valley Academy still led 14-12, but the Thunder muffed the ensuing kickoff at its own 21.
The Red Devils had a first-and-goal from the 8, but a holding penalty after Tiffin had scrambled to the 3 and a sack by Mark Brough left Vernon-Verona-Sherrill with a fourth-and-goal from the 44 and Central Valley Academy took over on downs with 12.2 seconds left before halftime.
Page 2 of 2 - Other than Farley’s 38-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the Thunder offense couldn’t get much going in the second half, however.
“When you give up a 99-yard drive, sometimes your defense goes right in the toilet,” said Gary Oliver. “But we finally stopped them — we really couldn’t afford not to. There were some (defensive) stops that we just had to have.”
The Thunder’s next game is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Oneida. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports.
VERNON-VERONA-SHERRILL 21, CENTRAL VALLEY ACADEMY 20
Vernon-Verona-Sherrill 6 6 0 9 — 21
Central Valley Academy 14 0 6 0 — 20
CVA — Mykel Farley 5 run (Travis Mead run).
VVS — Chris Beavo 55 run (pass failed).
CVA — Ryan Sponburgh 32 pass from Matt Klosner (run failed).
CVA — Farley 38 run (run failed).
VVS — Austin Mitchell 73 pass from Christian Tiffin (run failed).
VVS — Zack Durant 37 field goal.
Records — Vernon-Verona-Sherrill 4-1, 4-1 B East; Central Valley Academy 2-3, 1-3 B East.