The Valley Indians played maybe their most complete game of the season on both sides of the ball which led them to a big 42-14 home victory over Minford on the Indians senior night in Lucasville.
“We knew coming in this was our playoff game, and our kids responded” said Valley head coach Darren Crabtree, “We played well last week in our loss to Wheelersburg, we continued again tonight, making plays defensively. We gave up a few yards but didn’t give up too many scores. Offensively, I thought we moved the ball well through the air and on the ground. Anytime you beat your rival in week ten and you can send your seniors out with a win it’s a very special night.”
It was apparent early on that lady luck was on the Indians side as on the opening kickoff they were able to recover a squib kick that was mishandled by a Falcon which led to Valley’s recovery of the ball on Minford’s side of the field. Just three plays later, quarterback Andrew Shope found Tanner Spradlin for a 42 yard touchdown pass with 10:49 left in the first quarter.
Valley would get a big stop on Minford’s ensuing possession that resulted in a missed Falcons field goal. Crabtree’s Indians would march down the field and put the ball in the endzone after their eight play drive resulted in Shope finding the goal line on a QB sneak to put Valley ahead 14-0 with :40 left in the quarter.
Minford’s first touchdown of the game came off the legs of senior quarterback Kelton Kelley. When facing a 4th and nine on Valley’s 31 yard line, Kelley scrambled to the left and up his own sideline towards the endzone for a 31 yard touchdown rush with 8:52 remaining in the first half.
Sophomore playmaker Andrew Andronis would have the Indians next score at the 2:50 mark of the second quarter when he took the ball straight up the middle and used an excellent spin move to find pay dirt and extend his team’s lead to 21-7.
Junior running back Ty Wiget, who for the game had 24 carries for 141 yards, found his way into the endzone from three yards out with just :38 seconds remaining in the first half to cut Valley’s lead to 21-14 heading into the halftime break. Wiget’s touchdown would be the last points the Falcons would have on the night.
After a few non scoring drives, junior running back for the Indians, Kayden Mollette, would punch the ball in from 2 yards out to give Valley the 28-14 lead over Minford with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
After the Indians forced a punt, Tanner Spradlin had maybe the play of the year in Scioto County on the ensuing punt return. Spradlin let the ball nearly die on the two yard line before picking it up and running with it in one of the biggest, “No no no no.. YES!” plays you will ever see as he was able to out run the Minford punt coverage for the 98 yard punt return for a touchdown to give Valley the 35-14 lead with :21 seconds left in the third quarter.
Not even two minutes later, senior running back Gabe Streeter would seal the deal for the Indians with a 3 yard touchdown rush to cap off an exciting senior night victory for Indians fans, defeating county and SOC II rival Minford 42-14.
“Football is such a difficult sport” said Crabtree following his team’s victory Friday night, “Out of all the sports you play, there’s so much emotion. The season we’ve had has been kind of a roller coaster ride for us. To see them put forth this effort tonight and come away with a win that most of our seniors have played their last high school football game, it’s a special feeling to send them out with a win.”
As for Minford’s playoff chances, there is a lot in doubt after Portsmouth West fell to Wheelersburg and Portsmouth was able to upset Ironton. A win certainly would have helped the Falcons chances remain inside the top eight but following the loss it is too early to say what fate lies ahead of Minford. Stay tuned for updates on playoff seedings and pairings when those are officially announced on Sunday.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT