By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Slate Hill – Valley Central coach Ron Introini told his kicker, Kevin Roberts, as he walked on the field in double overtime that this kick was just like any other extra point.
Actually, it wasn’t. Albeit a chip shot, this was perhaps the biggest kick of Roberts’ career.
And he nailed it.
Roberts’ extra point gave Valley Central a thrilling 27-26 win over Minisink Valley in a Section 9 Class AA Division II game on Friday night.
He also connected on field goals of 22 and 45 yards during regulation. Roberts, a senior, had one field goal all of last season.
“Kevin has been kicking for us for two years and I had 100 percent confidence that he would drill it,” Introini said. “Everyone did their job and Kevin did his part. We won with our kicker. We have a weapon.”
Added Roberts: “There were some nerves, but it felt great to make that kick.”
As per overtime rules, each team was given a chance to score, starting its series at its opponents’ 20-yard line. Neither Valley Central (2-2, 1-0 Class AA) or Minisink Valley scored in the first overtime session. Minisink Valley had the first possession in the second overtime and went up 26-20 on a 12-yard run by quarterback Ryan Johanson. The Warriors went for the two-point conversion, but Johanson was stopped short of the goal line on a run.
Minisink Valley, which does not have a kicker, went 1-for-4 on two-point conversions during the game.
“We are working on a kicker,” Minisink Valley coach Kevin Gallagher said. “I would say we will have one next week. Ryan Johanson can kick and he can make a lot of them, but his thigh is bothering him a little. Our goal is to get better every week and we got better. It’s weird. We are 1-3, but we could have won every game.”
Valley Central tied the game 26-26 on a 9-yard pass from Chandler Toth to Frank Torres, setting the stage for Roberts’ extra point. The Vikings opened the scoring in the game when Toth hit Torres for a 46-yard score.
“I’ve never been more excited in my life,” Toth said. “That was probably the most excited win I’ve had up to this date. We needed this and it’s a confidence boost for us. It gives us a lot of juiced headed into our next game.”
Minisink Valley trailed 17-6 at halftime and 20-12 entering the fourth quarter, but Johanson hit Austin Jedziniak on a 10-yard touchdown pass 1:22 into the final period to cut Valley Central’s lead to 20-18. The pair connected on a two-point conversion to tie the game at 20 apiece.
Johanson hit Jedziniak on another 10-yard touchdown earlier in the game and Vinny Vetrano returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown for the Warriors.
“I can’t say enough about our guys,” Introini said. “They never quit and I’m proud of them. Some teams would have crumbled, but these guys fought back. This is a different team.”