The old, and not always entirely correct, adage in sports is that the team with the best player, more often than not, wins the game. With a player like Robert Foster, who has captured the attention of Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and most major Division I coaches across the country, it's fair to like Central Valley's chances heading into most of its games.
With the Warriors in an early hole Friday night against West Allegheny, Foster made sure that idiom held true, at least for another night this season.
While one of his potential suitors, Pitt coach Paul Chryst, watched from the sideline, Foster broke loose for 187 yards of total offense, helping Central Valley score 28 unanswered points en route to a decisive 28-14 victory for the Warriors (4-1) in a crucial Parkway Conference matchup.
Indeed, it was a tale of two games for Central Valley.
Beginning with Chayse Dillon's opening kickoff return to the Warriors 37-yard line, all of the early momentum was with the No. 4 Indians (4-1). Running back Armonde Dellovade capped off an efficient five play scoring drive with a7-yard touchdown run to put West Allegheny up, 7-0.
A fumble by Central Valley on its 17-yard line on the next possession set up the Indians' next touchdown, as two plays later, Dillon ran for a 14-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 14-0 in the first quarter.
Then, just when it looked as if the Warriors were about to kick the ball away down two scores, everything changed in an instant.
Lined up to punt, the Warriors' John George took the snap and ran with it, optioning it to Foster, who raced down the sideline and utilized his breakaway speed to pull away from two West Allegheny defenders for a score that overhauled the complexion of the game.
"It was a big change," Foster said of the play.
"Coach said I can get the ball and make plays, so I did it for my team and my team did it for me."
Foster struck again with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, hauling in a pass from Nate Climo for a 15-yard touchdown that evened the score at halftime.
For an offense that used a quick-strike attack predicated on its most lethal target, Central Valley did the opposite to open the second half, using a methodical drive that ate up about eight minutes. After a rushing touchdown from JaQuan Pennington, the host Warriors took their first lead of the night.
"Most teams get down 14-0 and those teams don't know how to respond," Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. "We came back, made some minor adjustments, we threw a shutout in the second half and we put up the points we needed to."
Jordan Whitehead added the final touchdown of the night with a3-yard rush that doubled the lead with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"They're a good football team," West Allegheny head coach Bob Palko said. "It's not like we practice and they don't. You just tip your hat. When they needed to execute, they did, and at that certain point, they just outathleted us."
Foster -- who plays offense, defense and punts -- finished with 56 percent of Central Valley's offensive yards and also recorded an interception. And in the end, with the bright lights squarely on him, it was Foster who delivered for the Warriors.
In a game that looked very uncertain for his team, Lyons couldn't be happier with the end result.
"We learned to tighten our chinstraps a little bit and tighten our belts," Lyons said. "We talk to our guys about how to get up and off the canvas. Our guys responded. I couldn't have been more proud of our guys."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter: @craig_a_meyer.