LUCASVILLE — The gloves were off in Lucasville but after the last haymaker found its mark, the Valley Indians were left standing, celebrating a 28-22 victory over the Raceland Rams.
Trailing 22-21 midway through the fourth quarter, Valley (4-0) put together its most important drive of the season. Senior quarterback Brian Rolfe took command of a 6-play, 65-yard drive. Rolfe completed three passes, the first went for 13 while the second one chewed up another 40 yards.
However, the third pass — a 6-yard slant to Derek Burk — kept the perfect season in tact for the Indians. Rolfe’s game-winning strike was his third touchdown pass of the night, his first two went to senior wide receiver Bryce Romanello who left the game in the second half with a strained calf.
“You expect those guys (Rolfe and Romanello) to make plays and they were making plays all night long,” Crabtree said. “It was unfortunate Bryce had an injury and missed most of the second half but Howard made some big catches for us. And those guys play every snap on defense. They came up big tonight. You kind of expect them to play that way and they didn’t disappoint us.”
Despite pulling out the victory, there were more than a few anxious moments for Valley fans. After taking an early 7-0 lead, the Indians were shell shocked by 16 unanswered points by the Rams, both of which came on Nathaniel Davidson touchdown runs.
The first score came from 20-yards out, which appeared to tie up the game but after an encroachment penalty on Valley, Raceland (3-2) elected to go for two. Davison found Kane Snyder on a roll-out pass for the conversion.
Then, after a successful onside kickoff, the Rams embarked on a 10-play, 44-yard drive, which resulted in a Davidson 1-yard score. Raceland elected to kick the extra point this time, however, after muffing the snap, Austin Howard out ran the Indian defense to the end zone to convert the two points.
“We jumped out early 7-0 and then we let them take that lead,” Crabtree said. “We were concerned at that point … Like I told our kids at half, that’s the first time we’ve been down all year.
“When you play good football teams, like tonight, you’ll learn things from it. We’ll learn things from this. Obviously we feel a little better because we were able to win but you judge a team by the way it overcomes adversity.”
Davidson finished the night with 17 rushes for 105 yards and three touchdowns.
“They out formationed us a little bit,” Crabtree said. “They did some things that allowed him to run the football. We knew coming in that he had that ability. We felt right before halftime, we stopped that a little bit. Then they came out in the second half and made some other adjustments, and they were able to use his athletic ability and size to run the football.”
Valley Injury Notes
Jacob Spradlin left early in the first quarter with a knee injury. Romanello suffered a strained calf in the second half. J.D. Dejarnette left with a strained groin. Drew Wolford suffered a shoulder injury.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.
Valley — Romanello 25 yd pass from Rolfe (Rolfe kick), 8:10
Raceland — Davidson 20 yd run (Davidson to Snyder conversion), 5:08
Raceland — Davidson 1 yd run (Howard conversion), 11:54
Valley — Romanello 35 yd pass from Romanello (kick good), 5:36
Valley — Wolford 7 yd run (Rolfe kick), :31
Raceland — Davidson 3 yd run (conversion failed), 9:32
Valley — Burke 6 yd pass from Rolfe (Rolfe kick ), 1:25
Rushing — Raceland: Davidson 17-105, Snyder 12-85, Christian 9-14, Walker 5-13, Black 1-(-6); Valley: Rolfe 12-72, Howard 11-59, Wolford 5-18, Basham 2-3.
Passing — Raceland: Davidson 9-21-113; Valley: Rolfe 11-18-197.
Receiving — Raceland: Jamison 3-54, Webb 3-35, Snyder 2-13, Christian 1-11; Valley: Romanello 5-109, Howard 4-69, Burk 2-19.
Raceland 3-2, Valley 4-0.