PDT Sports Writer
WAVERLY — If there was one thing Valley proved Friday night in its SOC II opener at Waverly, it’s the fact that the two-time conference champions will be difficult to unseat.
The Indians held the Tigers to 30 yards of total offense on two second half possessions and cruised to a 41-0 win at Raidiger Field, bumping their regular season winning streak to 26 games overall and 11 in the conference.
However, Valley coach Darren Crabtree did feel there was room for improvement.
“We were our own worst enemy,” Crabtree said. “A lot of mental mistakes, false start penalties, a couple of blocks in the back and all of a sudden, you’ve got a 4th-and-40.
“We just stayed patient and our kids, they understand that they have got to play hard all of the time even though at times tonight, we didn’t again. But, I thought defensively, that’s what set the tone for us tonight.”
A 60-yard punt return by Zach Shope on the heels of Waverly’s first three-and-out set up the first score of the contest. Nate Arnett capped off the drive with a 10-yard run.
The Indians broke the game open in the second quarter thanks to a 42-yard dash by Arnett, a 33-yard pass from Bryan Rolfe to Ethan Clark-Holbrook and a 5-yard connection from Rolfe to Shope but a missed point-after by Bryce Romanello on the third score of the frame made it a 27-0 ballgame, which would stand to the half. The final score was set up on a Bryan Cydrus fumble on the kickoff that followed the second touchdown of the quarter. Matt Hodge fell on the ball for Valley.
In the sixth game of the year Tigers coach Chris Crabtree was hoping mental mistakes such as fumbles would not be an issue. However, a plethora of injuries have been the theme for the season and forced underclassmen to fill spots. The latest example of injuries came when running back Amin Gilbert was limited after a lower-body injury he sustained during the game’s opening kickoff.
“I’d like to think that if Amin didn’t get hurt things would’ve been a little bit different,” Chris Crabtree said. “We could’ve easily got out of that first half down 14-0. I think we were moving the ball a little bit and we could’ve punched one in possibly.”
The Indians were methodical in their first possession of the second half. A 15-play (12 rushes), 69-yard drive that chewed up 8:13 was capped off by Arnett’s third score of the evening, this time a 4-yard plunge.
“In the second half, we did a great job of ball control offense,” Darren Crabtree said. “We weren’t concerned really about putting more points up as much as limiting the number of plays they had. We did a great job of converting on some third downs on that long drive.”
Valley recovered its second kickoff fumble on the ensuing boot by Romanello, but the Indians were unable to capitalize with points. However, Sam Basham closed out the scoring with 3:43 to go when he knifed through Waverly’s defense for an 8-yard tally.
The 30-second half yards gained by the Tigers came on the game’s final possession. Their offense crossed midfield twice throughout the entire contest and were not able to go beyond the Indian 48.
Valley was balanced on offense, finishing with 463 yards of total offense (354 rushing). Arnett led the charge with 88 yards on 12 carries while Rolfe was 8-of-13 passing for 109 yards.
“We’re a running football team,” Darren Crabtree said. “We throw the ball well enough to where we can throw the ball whenever we want to… Bryan is starting to come along and picking up some things throwing the football.”
The Indians return to Lucasville next Friday for the first of their final two home games as they entertain West. The Senators will come in with a three-game winning streak after upsetting previously-unbeaten Minford 35-28.
The road for Waverly does not get easier as a trip to Wheelersburg is next on the docket. The Pirates improved to 6-0 with a 56-0 win at Northwest.
“They’re going to be very athletic, maybe not as physical as some of the teams we’ve faced,” Chris Crabtree said. “Maybe if we can get some people healthy, we can run the football a little bit and try to control the clock.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
Valley 7 20 7 7 — 41
Waverly 0 0 0 0 — 0
V — Arnett 10 run (Romanello kick) 9:00
V — Arnett 42 run (Romanello kick) 6:34
V — Clark-Holbrook 33 pass from Rolfe (Romanello kick) 2:06
V — Shope 5 pass from Rolfe (kick failed) :31.1
V — Arnett 4 run (Romanello kick) 3:21
V — Basham 8 run (Romanello kick) 3:43
First Downs 18 4
Rush Att.-Yds. 4-354 26-60
Pass Att.-Comp.-INT 13-8-0 7-2-0
Pass Yds. 109 15
Total Yds. 463 75
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 3-2
Turnovers 0 2
Penalties-Yds. 8-60 2-6.5
Punts-Avg. 2-34 6-44
RUSHING: V — Arnett 12-88, Jordan 9-85, Loop 6-58, Howard 6-38, Rolfe 6-30, Basham 3-27; W – Cydrus 7-17, Dray 6-11, Chenoweth 1-9, Gilbert 1-9, Addy 2-9, Rigsby 2-9, Kelley 2-5, Perkins 4-(-7).
PASSING: V — Rolfe 8-13-0 109; W – Perkins 2-6-0 15, Minshall 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING: V — Clark-Holbrook 3-56, West 1-28, Shope 3-21, Arnett 1-4; W – Gilbert 1-9, Jo. Henderson 1-6.
Records — Valley 6-0 (1-0); Waverly 2-4 (0-1).