BY Jim Haynes
Times-Reporter sports writer
MIDVALE History was made Friday night as the Indian Valley Braves rallied late on a trick play to beat the Bloom-Carroll Bulldogs 25-21 in a Division IV regional quarterfinal football game at Midvale’s Kelley Field.
The Braves scored with 53 seconds left on running back Jake Davis’ 15-yard touchdown pass to Logan Ryan that gave the Indian Valley program its first-ever playoff victory.
Indian Valley will face the Philo Electrics, who beat John Glenn 30-7, next Friday night at a site to be determined.
Indian Valley head coach Matt Lancaster was ecstatic with the team’s comeback.
“It was a big win for our program,” said Lancaster. “The kids played their hearts out and we’re looking forward to Week 12.”
The game had an ominous beginning for the Braves that lingered until that final minute.
The Bulldogs returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game.
VIDEO: Bloom-Carroll-Indian Valley Highlights
Indian Valley’s ensuing drive down resulted in a 13-play, 61-yard drive score, capped by quarterback Brady Byers’ 16-yard scamper. But a botched snap on the extra point try left the Braves trailing 7-6.
The Braves went down the field in typical Indian Valley style their next drive, running the ball 14 times and taking almost nine minutes off the play clock. However, the Bulldog defense rose up and made a goal line stand that stopped the Braves on downs at the 2.
But the running of Davis and the passing of Byers put the Braves on top by halftime.
After a Bloom-Carroll punt, Byers connected on a beautiful 44-yard pass to wideout Logan Ryan. After two Davis runs, Byers found a wide open Ross Love in the end zone to give the Braves the lead 12-7, which it took into the locker room after a two-pointer failed.
The Braves survived a scare early in the third quarter. Davis made a leaping one-handed catch, but was hit hard by a Bulldog defender. The star running back laid face down for several seconds before getting up under his own power and headed to the sidelines for a few plays.
Indian Valley got another scare, this from the Bulldogs. Their first drive of the second half struck gold when quarterback Kelly Milliser found his favorite target, Tyler Sorg, for a 31-yard touchdown pass.
Their extra point was no good, leaving the Bulldogs up 13-12.
The Braves then struck back, using a patented 14-play, 46-yard drive to reach the end zone as Davis scored from the 4. The extra point try failed again, leaving the hosts up 18-13.
Aided by a fake punt, it was Bloom-Carroll’s turn to answer. Milliser found Alex Peirano from 11 yards out to give Bloom-Carroll the lead. After the two-point conversion pass was good, it led 21-18.
With 2:40 left in the game, the Braves had the ball and a chance to make history.
And that they did.
On third and four, Byers went back to pass and found a wide open Brady Cotsmire for a 40-yard gain, taking the ball down to the Bulldogs 24 yard line with just over a minute left to play. After a Byers’ run took the ball to the 15, the Braves pulled the halfback pass out of their hat in the form of Davis to stun the Bulldogs.
Bloom-Carroll had one last drive in it but Ryan intercepted Milliser’s desperation pass at the 1-yard line to preserve the win and send Kelley Field into a frenzy.
“Our defense played lights out, especially in that first half, but our defense came to play tonight,” said Lancaster.