By Kyle Lovern
SMITHERS, W.Va. – The Tug Valley Panthers kept their Class A playoff hopes alive with a 30-6 road win over Valley of Fayette Saturday afternoon at Smithers, W.Va. The game was played in the day because the Greyhounds do not have lights on their home field.
The home team jumped out to an early 6-0 lead as Adam Falbo connected with Jimmy Harper on a 32 yard touchdown (TD) pass at the 10:15 mark of the 1st quarter. The conversion run failed, but Valley led 6-0.
Tug Valley quickly tied the game at the 10:03 point of the 1st quarter as junior quarterback Jonathan Blankenship broke free for an exciting 76 yard kick return. The conversion run failed, but the Panthers tied the game at 6-6.
From that point, the offense was all Tug Valley.
Tug Valley took the lead with 7:01 left in the 2nd quarter as scored on a 2-yard run. Dawson Elia pushed in for the 2-point conversion run to give the Panthers at 14-6 lead.
Tug Valley scored right before the first half ended to take a 22-6 lead into the dressing room at the half. Elia squeezed in from one yard out and Blankenship hit Kyle Sturgell with a conversion pass with just 30 ticks left on the clock.
In the 3rd quarter, at the 7:08 mark, Chandler Pack gave Tug Valley some cushion with a 1-yard TD run. Pack also scored the 2-point conversion on a run to give the Panthers a 30-6 lead.
Neither team scored in the final quarter and Tug Valley coasted to the win.
Coach Tony Clusky’s Tug Valley squad gained 249 yards of total offense. They rushed 50 times for 225 yards for an average of 4.5 a carry and they had 24 yards via the pass.
The Panthers were flagged with eight penalties for 60 yards.
The Tug Valley defense held the Greyhounds to 117 yards, 71 on the ground and 46 in the air. Valley of Fayette was given four penalties for 35 yards.
Tug Valley was led in rushing by Elia who had 26 carries for 122 yards and one TD. Noah Lucas had nine carries for 45 yards, Blankenship -six carries for 37 yards and one TD, while Pack had four rushed for 18 yards and a score.
Lucas had two receptions for 19 yards, while Levi Davis had one catch for 10 yards
The Tug Valley defense was led by Lucas with 11 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble.
Jared Farley was next in line with nine tackles, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Parker Brewer had six tackles; Elia had four tackles, while several other players had three tackles. Blankenship had a fumble recovery and Davis had an interception for the Panther defense.
Tug Valley is now 4-3 on the season and will host Mount View at the TVHS Athletic Complex on Friday night. The following week the Panthers will host Montcalm and it will be homecoming for the school.
Score by quarters:
Tug Valley (4-3) ….. 6 16 8 0 – 30
Valley-Fayette (0-6) … 6 0 0 0 – 6
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)