MIDVALE --Despite not having leading rusher Jake Davis due to a knee injury, the Indian Valley Braves kicked off the 2012 season with a 32-20 home win over Sandy Valley on Friday night.
"I was proud of how our kids responded and battled back after getting down early," said Indian Valley coach Matt Lancaster.
The Cardinals took a 7-0 first period lead when Eric Skropits fell on an Indian Valley fumble in their end zone.
The Braves responded with second period TDs from Trevor Garbrandt and Brady Byers to forge a 13-13 deadlock at the half as Sandy Valley's Jacob Wagner booted a pair of field goals in the second. His first put the guests up 10-0 and the second knotted the game right before the half.
A 51-yard Byers-to-Logan Ryan scoring aerial in the third put the Braves up, 19-13.
When Byers tallied again from one yard out early in the final period, it appeared the Braves might have a little breathing room as they surged into a 25-13 lead.
Sandy Valley had other ideas, however, and answered quickly with a scoring drive as Skropits bulled in from one yard out. A successful PAT pulled the Cardinals within 25-20.
Only a late Byers 49-yard scoring run allowed the Braves to finally secure the win and account for the final score when Betz connected on his second successful extra-point of the game.
Indian Valley (1-0) amassed 253 rushing yards while holding Sandy Valley (0-1) to just 71 on the ground. The Cardinals did manage 147 yards through the air, but netted just eight first downs. The Braves finished with 95 passing yards.
Byers had a hand in four of the Indian Valley TDs and finished with 17 carries for 135 yards.
"Sandy Valley really battled," Lancaster said, "but our defense kept us in the game, especially in the second period. I thought our offense pretty much wore them down in the second half."
NEXT -- Indian Valley is on the road Friday at Claymont, with game time at 7 p.m.