Valley Stuns Tyler Knights
After losing to Frontier, Valley coach Shane Highley told his team the final three games of the regular season were going to be playoff games, with a loss meaning elimination.
Just two games into that do-or-die scenario the Lumberjacks (6-3) are still alive and kicking after an improbable, come-from-behind victory against a stunned Tyler Consolidated squad Friday night.
Held scoreless for almost 46 minutes, senior quarterback Trey Streets’ 33-yard touchdown pass to Tucker Cain on a fourth-down play with a little more than two minutes play, followed by Cain’s PAT, lifted Valley to a 7-6 victory against the Silver Knights in front of a large crowd at Tom West Field.
Highley’s crew kept its playoff hopes alive with a trip to arch-rival Paden City slated for next Friday night’s season finale.
Meanwhile, Ryan Walton’s hard-luck, injury- plagued squad falls to 4-5 and watched its slim playoff hopes fade away.
“We are 2-0 in the playoffs now,” a drenched Highley said. “To get where we want to be we are going to have to go through seven of these games, not four like most teams. But I am so happy for these seniors right now. This was a great team win and our first win over Tyler in 39 years.”
Trailing 6-0, the Jacks took over at their 28 with the five-play drive highlighted by a pair of huge plays – the first and the last ones of the march. On first down Streets found a streaking Cain over the middle for a 32-yard gain, but the ball came out with Joey Preat falling on it to keep the game-winning drive alive.
The final play came on a fourth-and-3 call with Streets taking the snap, rolling out to the left and lofting a pass deep to the end zone with Cain running under it with 2:03 showing on the clock. Cain calmly drilled the PAT for a 7-6 lead.
Tyler Consolidated had one final opportunity and moved the ball into Valley territory where senior Kale Lloyd sacked freshman quarterback Griffin Phillips on the Knights’ final offensive play of the night.
“Perseverance has been the key for these kids,” Highley added. “Ever since the Frontier loss they have been fighting and playing with real grit. This is an undersized group that plays with so much heart and it feels so good to finally beat them.
“We were able to make a couple of adjustments when we had to, and Kale Lloyd may not be very big, but that kid just goes out and keeps playing and keeps hitting the entire game.”
While neither team was able to get much going in the first half, each had scoring opportunities with Valley driving to the Tyler Consolidated 10 midway through the second quarter only to turn the ball over on downs at the 27.
The Silver Knights recovered a fumble in Lumberjacks territory later in the second and moved to the 23 only to have senior Federico Perez’s 40-yard field-goal attempt come up well short and off to the right with less than a minute to play in the half.
Overall, Tyler Consolidated finished the half with 109 total yards and five first downs while Valley totaled 101 yards and also charted five firsts.
The Knights finally got it going to begin the second half, putting the ball into Hogan Wells’ hands and letting him move them down field. Wells carried eight times for 70 yards and a 2-yard touchdown on the nine-play, 76-yard march that ended at 8:04 of the third. The point-after was wide right and it was 6-0.
After threatening a few times the Jacks finally found what they were looking. Valley needed five plays to move 72 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning score.
Already missing four-year starting quarterback Jordan Baker due to an injury, Tyler Consolidated also lost two players during the game due to personal-foul penalties, including the team’s leading rusher.
Streets finished with 114 yards on the ground and 99 more through the air. Wells was a force, especially in the second half when he was responsible for most of the Silver Knights’ plays. Wells finished with 200 yards rushing on 35 totes.