Vikings rally to win ‘Battle of the Valley’

By Mike Zummo
Posted 4/21/21


Randy Rosario admitted to being a little upset when Logan Sherwood was taken out as the Valley Central football team’s starting quarterback, but they made it work Friday …

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Vikings rally to win ‘Battle of the Valley’


Randy Rosario admitted to being a little upset when Logan Sherwood was taken out as the Valley Central football team’s starting quarterback, but they made it work Friday night.
Sherwood, a senior, got the start for the Vikings in the annual Battle of the Valley football game on Friday night, and he connected with Rosario for a game-winning touchdown in the Vikings’ 22-19 win over the Wallkill Panthers.
“It’s a great ending for all the seniors,” Sherwood said. “Ending on a win also feels great.”
Both teams entered the game looking for their only win in the season finale. The helmet, which has been in Valley Central’s possession for four years gave each team added incentive.

“It’s been in our school for four years now; this is the fourth,” Rosario said. “I just wanted to do it for all my dogs from last year and everybody that’s won it before.”
For a time, it looked as though the helmet might change hands as the Panthers took the lead in the fourth quarter when Mason Ondreyko, a sophomore defensive back up from JV, stepped in the way of one of Sherwood’s passes and returned it for touchdown, giving the Panthers a 19-14 lead with 10:49 to go in the game.
“I thought he made a huge play,” Wallkill coach Brian Vegliando said. “I though we took the momentum there, and we stopped them on the next drive. We felt pretty good about where we were. We gave up big plays, too.”
None bigger than on the Vikings’ final drive of the game.
The Vikings started on their own 40 with 3:53 to go and it took them over two minutes to make it as far as the Panthers’ 43-yard line.
After a timeout, Sherwood put the throw up for Rosario.
“I was getting hit as I threw it and I just saw him open,” Sherwood said. “I was hoping I could get it to him, and he made a play on it, and the rest is history.”
Rosario pulled the pass down and the remaining 20 yards down the field for the touchdown.
“I saw the ball coming up and all I could think about how it could land in my hands and I could run for a touchdown,” Rosario said. “That’s what I did, and I was very happy. It was a beautiful thrown from my quarterback and my line blocked amazing tonight.”
The Vikings were initially going to kick a single extra point, but after being whistled for a false start on the try, the Vikings went for two. Logan ran the ball 8 yards in for the conversion.
“We wanted to make a quarterback change and give our senior an opportunity in his last game because the only game he played in was the first game against Newburgh for a half,” Valley Central coach Andrew LaVallie said. “He went out there and got the team motivated to focus and I think he really led the team today and it showed through his actions on the field and the plays that he made.”
Sherwood gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead with a four-yard touchdown run, with 2:01 to go in the first quarter, but the Panthers tied the game on a 10-yard pass from Mat Shea to Ty Crowley.
Shea also connected on a touchdown pass to Jack Rauschenbach to give the Panthers a 13-7 lead.
“We have weapons everywhere,” Vegliando said. “Crowley’s an exciting playmaker with the ball in his hands. It opens things up for Jack Rauschenbach on the outside. You have Jeremy Figueroa on the other side and Mat can get the ball to all of them.”
The Vikings took back the lead with 37 seconds to go in the first half when Sherwood and Rosario hooked up for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Alex Ramos’s extra point gave the Vikings a 14-13 lead.
“It was real exciting,” LaVallie said. “It was great for the kids. They’ve worked hard all season and it’s finally nice to be able to put a W up because they earned it. They work so hard, and they’ve improved throughout the season and throughout the adversity through this entire time. It puts a stamp on the year for us.”
Beyond the pandemic, it’s been a tumultuous season for the Panthers that started with the death of senior Miguel Lugo after the first day of practice. The Panthers finished 0-4 Their game against Kingston was considered a scrimmage.
“They got a chance to compete on the field and be with each other, with their teammates, with their brothers and that’s how you go through life,” Vegliando said. “Tough things happened, but we played really hard. I know we’re disappointed, but I’m proud of the way we competed all year. I thought we got better over the course of the games that we played.”