Penns Valley had given up just three loose balls entering Friday’s contest against Chestnut Ridge.
By the end of the game, the Rams had doubled that season total, which resulted in a 41-26 loss.
“The difference in the game was turnovers,” Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias said. “It gave Ridge great field position. We’ve had just three fumbles all year, and to have three in the first half, it totally changed the whole game.
“We do things that hurt ourselves. It’s not for the lack of effort, and it’s not for a lack of preparation. There isn’t anything Chestnut Ridge did today that we hadn’t prepared for and we hadn’t seen. They executed some things very well. They’re a very well coached team. I thought we would play better, but the turnovers impacted that. We played really well, and I’m not going to make excuses for the other things.”
After the Lions deferred on the kickoff at the start of the game, the Rams were called for holding on their first play and soon lost the ball at their own 21-yard line. The Lions wasted little time to put points on the board with Noah Dillow scoring on a five-yard run with 9:09 left to play.
The Rams fumbled the ball on the kickoff return, but managed to save it. As soon as the ball was snapped on the first play of the drive, the ball was loose with the Lions recovering it at the PV 22.
Despite being down 14-0 with six minutes left in the first quarter, the Rams started to make a comeback.
Takoda Bubb ran for 30 yards, but fell to an injury on his fourth carry of the night. Staring down a third-and-long, Andrew Tobias hit Ryan Ripka for a 22-yard pass, putting the Rams on the CR 15. Brent Fegley scored a nine-yard touchdown for the Rams with 2:30 left in the quarter, cutting the score in half.
“I was really pleased that our kids never quit,” Martin Tobias added. “We’re down 14-0 and we got the kids together and told them to hang in there. We put them (Ridge) in good field position, so let’s try and put ourselves back in this game. We can’t do it all at once, it’s one score at a time.
“We scored, we hold them, we get the ball and come down the field and there’s another turnover. They come down the field and they score.”
The third lost fumble led to points for the Lions, thus helping them to 28-7 lead at the half.
Penns Valley responded to a Chestnut Ridge touchdown in the third quarter, scoring with eight seconds left.
Tobias had three passes during the drive and Fegley and Ripka took over much of the running responsibilities, with the pairing putting the visiting Rams within scoring position.
Tobias found Jacob Duffield in the endzone making it 34-14.
Tobias found Marcus Woodford for an 11-yard touchdown pass, making it a 14-point game with 6:53 left to play. With 18 seconds left to play, Tobias passed to Ripka for a 16-yard touchdown, but it was a litte too late.
The Rams outgained the hosting Lions, but with the three lost fumbles and interception late in the game deterred them from finding momentum on the field.
“When you haven’t been successful it’s hard to be successful,” Martin Tobias added. “To learn how to be successful when you play so hard and so well early — there are no excuses.
“Blame it on me, just put it all on my feet. That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends. Just like everything else I am responsible for these kids, and preparing them. They come out and they play their hearts out and they play their guts out. You can’t do things like that and beat yourself.”
The Rams fall to 2-6 for the season and face Tyrone at home next week.