Del-Val Charter struggled out of the gate, fell behind Conwell-Egan by two touchdowns, and was on its way to ending its season in lackluster fashion.
"Yeah, it didn't look good at that point," senior two-way lineman Kyree Wade said. "But we pulled together as brothers."
The Warriors came to life near the end of the second quarter, surprisingly scored four unanswered touchdowns, and topped the Eagles, 26-14, in a PIAA Class 3A state playoff opener Saturday at balmy Benjamin Johnston Stadium.
"The kids were relentless," said Del-Val coach Troy Gore, whose squad overcame 16 penalties for a total loss of 125 yards. "They battled back, refused to quit when things got rough."
Del-Val gained payback for the 14-12 loss it suffered against C-E two weeks ago in the District 12 3A final at the same site. The Eagles won the first matchup with their top two rushers, Patrick Garwo and Kyree Bronson, out of action.
"We knew we had to step up our game with the two of them back," Gore said. "They're both great players."
The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Wade and company held Garwo (20 carries for 72 yards) and Bronson (13 for 22) to a combined 94 yards.
"We studied a lot of film on them during the week," junior outside linebacker Azyear Sutton-Walker said. "We wanted to make sure they didn't bounce plays to the outside."
Del-Val (8-4) will take on Notre Dame-Green Pond (11-2) in a quarterfinal at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Bethlehem Liberty.
Down by 14-0 late in the first half, the Warriors turned a fumble recovery at the C-E 30 into quarterback Charles Britt's 4-yard touchdown run.
Winston Downing's long kickoff return to the C-E 22 opened the second half and was immediately followed by Britt's TD strike to wideout Shaheed Ross.
Del-Val went in front, 18-14, with 71/2 minutes remaining on Britt's 1-yard sneak. It was set up by Sutton-Walker's 55-yard, left-side jaunt on the previous play.
"I had to find a cutback hole," said Sutton-Walker, who carried 11 times for 118 yards. "Once I saw the hole, I hit it."
Zamir Davis produced the clinching tally on the Warriors' next possession with a 53-yard dash. Overall, the hosts netted 218 rushing yards on 29 attempts.
Conwell-Egan 7 7 0 0 - 14
Del-Val Charter 0 6 6 14 - 26
CE: Patrick Garwo 5 run (Jack Barreras kick)
CE: Kyree Bronson 24 pass from Kendall Jones (Barreras kick)
DV: Charles Britt 4 run (run failed)
DV: Shaheed Ross 22 pass from Britt (pass failed)
DV: Britt 1 run (kick blocked)
DV: Zamir Davis 53 run (Azyear Sutton-Walker run)