By: Mitchell Aukamp

Reading Eagle Correspondent

Down by one point with two and a half minutes left, Pequea Valley converted a two-point conversion to beat Kutztown 21-20 in a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 5 game Friday in Kutztown.

That score came on a 5-yard run by senior Orlando Stoltzfus. Quarterback Peyton Temple then completed a two-point pass to Donte Petershiem to give Pequea Valley (2-5, 2-9) the lead.

Kutztown (2-5, 3-7) scored early in the fourth quarter to take a 20-13 lead. The drive was set up by a Braves turnover that gave the Cougars the ball at the Pequea Valley 48.

Quarterback Jacob Lafferty had a 30-yard rush. Branden Ackley then scored a 1-yarder a few plays later to put the Cougars ahead.

Despite the tough loss, Kutztown coach Larry Chester said he is excited about the future of the program.

“It seems different in the community now,” he said. “Starting young and going all the way up, the numbers are growing, and people want to be a part of that culture.”

Kutztown is only losing two seniors, so the Cougars could have a lot to look forward to.

One of those seniors is linebacker Ryan Cardinale, who continued the Cougars’ tradition of giving linebackers an offensive punch in his final game. Cardinale made the most of that opportunity, running up the middle for a 3-yard score with three minutes left in the second quarter. After the blocked extra point, the score gave Kutztown a 13-0 lead.

“This is something that this kid will remember for the rest of his life,” Chester said.

Kutztown scored its first touchdown late in the first quarter when Ackley broke free on the second play of the Cougars’ second drive for a 52-yarder. Ackley finished with 122 yards on 15 carries.

Pequea Valley scored the first goal late in the first half.

Darrell Beiler ran 31 yards to the Kutztown 11. Temple capped the drive with a 5-yard pass to J.T. Hoops with 15 seconds left in the half to make it 13-7.

The Braves tied the score early in the second half, going 65 yards in three minutes. Stoltzfus (78 yards on 17 carries) finished the drive with a 4-yard TD run. Kutztown blocked the extra point, setting the stage for the game-winning two-point conversion.

Kutztown won three games in a season for the first time since going 4-6 in 2016 and snapped a league-leading 70-game losing streak in the process. The Cougars had not won a league game since 2011 before defeating Northern Lebanon on Oct. 7

“We haven’t won three games in a very long time,” Chester said. “The success of this program is going in the right direction, so I can’t be anything but proud of our guys and our families.”