Indians blank Panthers


Michael Hamilton

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LUCASVILLE, Ohio – The Valley Indians defeated the Chesapeake Panthers 23-0 on Saturday night at Valley High School, in an Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Football Playoffs quarterfinal game. As a result of the Indians shutout, Valley (9-1) advances to the regional semifinal round next Saturday, and ended Chesapeake’s (8-3) season.

“Defensively, you get a shutout in the playoffs you know your defense was playing really well,” said Valley Head Football Coach Darren Crabtree. “I thought tonight that we were very disciplined and executed our defensive gameplan very well.”

The Indians nearly lost their shutout bid during Chesapeake’s first offensive drive, but were able to block a Panther field goal attempt on fourth down.

“After the first drive, our kids seemed to settle down on defense and to stop them,” said Crabtree.

The Valley offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, allowing for several key runs and passes for the Indians.

Even with the shutout, Crabtree said some things will need to be corrected for their regional semifinal game next Saturday.

“We took a couple points off the board with some penalties,” said Crabtree. “Things like that, we need to clean up, but the name of the game is to win and advance, and we were able to do that tonight, and we’ll be ready to go next week.”

The Indians hoped to start the game off strong after receiving the opening kickoff. Two runs gained seven yards for the Indians and left them three yards shy of the first down on their own 44 yard line.

Blake Howard broke loose on third down, blazing his way down the field, until he fumbled the ball after getting hit by several Panthers. With the ball loose on the field, Chesapeake recovered on their 21 yard line, negating a 35-yard run.

The Panthers then began a grueling 14 play, 68-yard drive which featured runs by Casey McComas, and Will Scott. The long drive didn’t break the heart of the Indian defense though, as Valley forced a fourth down situation for Chesapeake on the 11 yard line.

Chesapeake lined up for a field goal attempt, which was blocked by the Indians, preventing the score, and firing up the crowd.

Valley took over on their own 20 yard line after the blocked field goal, After a series of runs by Rolfe, Blake Howard, and Sam Basham ended the first quarter, the Indians threatened to enter Panthers territory.

Continuing the drive, the Indians continued to advance the ball into the red zone. Lined up on the 19 yard line, Blake Howard broke free from Chesapeake defenders and found a way to score, giving the Indians a 6-0 lead after a fail point after attempt.

The Indian defense stepped up and forced the Panthers to go three and out, only giving up a single yard during the drive.

After an 18-yard punt return by Rolfe, the Indians lined up for a first down on the Panthers’ 43 yard line. On the drive’s first play, Rolfe dropped back and found Blake Howard open who then found a way to dodge defenders the entire 43 yards into the end zone. However, the play would be called back due to offensive holding, and ultimately killed the drive after leaving the Indians in a first and 27 situation. Valley was unable to pick up the necessary yardage, and punted the ball away to Chesapeake.

The Indian defense stepped up on the next drive and forced a turnover by the Panthers by way of a fumble on their own 30 yard line.

With less than three minutes remaining in the half, the Indian offense stalled and found itself on fourth down and on the Chesapeake five yard line. Crabtree elected to attempt a 22-yard field goal, which Rolfe sent right between the uprights giving the Indians a 9-0 lead with only 20 seconds remaining in the half.

In the third quarter, the Indians would score two more times to take a commanding lead over the Panthers.

With 8:37 remaining in the third, and on the Panther 9 yard line, Basham ran right through a huge hole in the Chesapeake line and found the end zone completely untouched. After a successful point after attempt, Valley led Chesapeake 16-0.

The Indians would score again with 4:04 remaining in the quarter. This time, on a fourth and goal situation on Chesapeake’s 3 yard line, Rolfe scrambled out of the pocket and found an open Levi Whitt in the end zone giving Valley a 23-0 lead after another successful point after attempt.

Valley would hold on to the lead and the shutout, as it ate away most of the fourth quarter clock on a long drive which ended on a failed 36-yard field goal attempt.

“Overall, defensively we got the performance we wanted,” said Crabtree. “Offensively, we’ve got to clean a few things up and we’ll be ready to play next week.”

Valley will advance to play Grandview Heights out of Columbus next Saturday. Grandview (10-1) defeated River (Hannibal, OH) Saturday night by a final score of 56-15.

The neutral site of the regional semi final game between Valley and Grandview Heights has yet to be determined by the OHSAA.

Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82

Box Score

1 2 3 4 Final

Valley 0 9 14 0 23

Chesapeake 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring Summary

2nd Quarter

Valley – B. Howard 19-yd run (PAT no good) (8:29)

Valley – B. Rolfe 22-yd field goal (0:20)

3rd Quarter

Valley – S. Basham 9-yd run (PAT good) (8:37)

Valley – B. Rolfe 3-yard pass to L. Whitt (PAT good0 (4:04)

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Photo courtesy of Patrick Phillips The Valley Indians beat the Chesapeake Panthers 23-0 Friday in the first round of the Division VI playoffs. courtesy of Patrick Phillips The Valley Indians beat the Chesapeake Panthers 23-0 Friday in the first round of the Division VI playoffs.

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