ANDOVER — It didn’t take long for the Pymatuning Valley football team to jump ahead of Chalker.
After the Wildcats went three-and-out, Dillion Knowles blocked a punt by Cobe Cernuto. Jonah Wilkerson caught the ball and returned it 27 yards for the Lakers’ first score.
PV didn’t let up and won 54-0 on Friday at PV High School. It was the Lakers seventh straight win going back to last season.
PV (3-0, 3-0 Northeastern Athletic Conference) has relied on its defense in the first three games of the season. Friday also marked the Lakers’ fourth consecutive shutout dating back to their season finale against Windham in 2019.
The Lakers’ defensive front blew up play after play while the Wildcats (0-3, 0-3 NAC). Chalker didn’t record a first down and was held to 13 yards of offense on 24 plays.
Chalker quarterback Chayse Harris was held to 0-of-2 passing and ran for 7 yards on 11 carries. Cernuto ran for a team-high 13 yards on four carries.
“Even if we mess up just a little bit, we’re the first guys in charge,” PV lineman Victor Verba said. “We control the play in the first four or five seconds, whether the QB has to roll out because of something we did or they just have to go right up the field because we knocked three guys down.”
While the defense was doing its job, the offense scored at will. PV quarterback Tyler Bean, who usually runs all over defenses, was nearly perfect through the air. The senior finished 5 of 6 for 145 yards passing and three touchdowns. Bean’s only blemish was an intermediate route to Mason Inman, who couldn’t get a second hand on the pass.
“We worked on a whole lot [tonight] to see what we could do for next week because next week is going to be a little bit harder game, plus we got playoffs coming up. Gotta be able to throw the ball,” Bean said.
Bean also added a 66-yard touchdown run on the Lakers’ first possession. He finished with three carries for 65 yards on the ground.
Running back Dillion Knowles finished with a pair of touchdowns. He ran for 46 yards on two carries, including a 36-yard score in the Lakers’ 30-point first quarter. He added a 1-yard touchdown reception from Wilkerson in the third quarter to end the scoring.
The success in the running game this season has been a product of the offensive line, which has opened holes for Knowles and Bean. Verba said the early success was due to the work the group put in during the offseason.
“Last year was realization,” Verba said. “This year, we’re the senior group now. The five of us seniors just want to give it [our] all out there and lead a path for the juniors too.”
The Lakers will have the toughest test of the season next week when they travel to Fairport Harding. The Skippers are 3-0 after coming off a 30-0 win over Windham on Friday.
“We’re taking this one game at a time,” PV head coach Neal Croston said. “You just don’t know what’s gonna happen. Take advantage of every game and practice we get right now. Right now, the kids are playing well and we just gotta keep the train rolling.”