DOLGEVILLE, N.Y. — The West Canada Valley Indians completed their season-long climb back to the top of Class D East with a 26-7 win Saturday over previously-unbeaten Dolgeville.
“The first week of the season we lost that heartbreaker to Herkimer,” said senior quarterback Ryan Moody who ran for three touchdowns. “Then we went up to Lowville and lost there. We got ourselves in a hole we had to claw out of. We’ve come together as a team and we’ve scratched and clawed our way out of that hole and got ourselves into better playoff position.”
The win puts defending champion West Canada Valley in a three-way tie for first place with Dolgeville’s Blue Devils and Herkimer’s Magicians with one week left in the regular season. Herkimer holds the tie-breaker — head-to-head point differential — for the top playoff seed with Dolgeville second and West Canada Valley third if all three teams win Friday. West Canada Valley finishes the regular season under temporary lights at home against Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton; Dolgeville plays at Waterville/Madison; and Herkimer hosts Sauquoit Valley.
“We’ve got kids beat up and injured, playing hurt,” West Canada Valley coach Mike Moody said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an effort like this out of a group of kids.”
The defenses dominated Saturday’s game and West Canada Valley (4-2, 4-1 D East) did its best to control field position. The Indians went without a first down in the opening period and got their first two on the drive that ended with Ryan Moody’s first touchdown run, a 36-yarder. The Indians took possession at their own 37 following an incomplete Dolgeville pass on fourth down and picked up a first down for the first time on Treyten Borden’s five-yard run. Moody ran 11 yards for another first down on the next play and scored on a run along the visitors’ sideline two plays later.
The score remained 6-0 at halftime with West Canada Valley missing on two scoring chances. The Indians turned the ball over on downs after Jordan Yaworski intercepted a pass at the Dolgeville 32 in the first quarter and did the same in the second after Austin Stewart recovered a fumble on the kickoff following Moody’s run.
Trailing at halftime was not an unfamiliar position for Dolgeville which was down 8-6 last week against Frankfort-Schuyler and rallied from a 14-0 deficit to lead 21-20 at the break in Sauquoit Valley the week before.
“We’ve been in that situation,” Dolgeville coach Dan Zilkowski said, “and when we’ve been down we’ve been able to respond. Having the ball coming out in the second half helps.”
Saturday, West Canada Valley had the ball first in the second half.
“A lot of us came (to Dolgeville) last week when Frankfort-Schuyler was up 8-6 at halftime,” Ryan Moody said. “Dolgeville came out and wasn’t having any of it. We knew that’s what was waiting for us, we knew we had to come out with triple the effort.”
Page 2 of 2 - Moody bulled his way across the goal line from one yard out midway through the third quarter. A 34-yard Ryan Grogan option run was the big gain on a 58-yard scoring drive. The Indians got the ball back late in the third quarter and Moody scored again on the fourth play of the fourth.
Dolgeville’s third turnover put West Canada Valley right back in scoring position but the Indians were unable to move the ball after Mike Louis intercepted a pass at the Blue Devils’ 35.
Aided by a pair of penalties, Dolgeville (5-1, 4-1 D East) drove for a Jason Nastovski touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter. A pass interference call negated an interception by Moody and a personal foul on the next play — a 16-yard run by quarterback Reid Johnson — set up Nastovski’s 14-yard touchdown run.
Borden capped the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run in the final minute. Starting in the varsity backfield for the first time, the senior ran for 91 yards on 17 carries.
“We’ve been toying with the tailback spot all year, trying different people,” Mike Moody said. “We were going to go with Grogan this week but Treyten said this week. ‘I want to run the ball.’ We gave him a shot and he responded.”
Moody added 99 yards on his 17 carries and Grogan had 103 on nine carries.
The West Canada Valley defense held Dolgeville to 147 total yards and 85 on the ground on 26 rushing attempts. Nastovski’s 50 yards led the Blue Devils.
“Things happen,” Zilkowski said. “We’ll regroup and play for a league title and our sectional seeding Friday night.”
Prior to the game, a quiet moment was held for 11-year-old Sophia Johnson, a West Canada Valley sixth-grader and the daughter of two Dolgeville graduates. Johnson, the Dolgeville quarterback’s cousin, is battling brain cancer and both teams wore gray ribbons on their helmets during a game dedicated to her.
“That was for Sophia,” Mike Moody said.
WEST CANADA VALLEY 26, DOLGEVILLE 7
West Canada Valley 0 6 7 13 — 26
Dolgeville 0 0 0 7 — 7
WCV — Ryan Moody 36 run (kick blocked), 5:41.
WCV — Moody 1 run (Zach Woods kick), 4:50.
WCV — Moody 3 run (kick failed), 10:11.
DOL — Jason Nastovski 14 run (Greg Pelan kick), 5:17.
WCV — Treyten Borden 5 run (Woods kick), :52.
Records — West Canada Valley 4-2, 4-1 D East; Dolgeville 5-1, 4-1 D East.