PDT Sports Writer
LUCASVILLE — The pressure that comes as the No. 1 seed cannot be taken lightly when the playoffs begin.
But for Valley, any stress that could come as the top-seeded team in the region disappeared early as the host Indians handled No. 8 Fort Frye 52-13 in a Division VI, Region 21 Quarterfinal. Darren Crabtree’s bunch was led by a 132-yard rushing performance from Nate Arnett that was complimented by 156 yards of rushing combined by Brice Jordan and Alex Loop.
“It was nice offensively to have a balance and mixture of some run and pass,” Crabtree said. “Obviously Nate had some big plays for us but I thought Alex Loop and Brice Jordan both ran the ball extremely well tonight.”
The Indians racked up 455 yards of total offense with five rushing and two passing scores. In all, they scored on their first eight possessions of the contest.
“Any time you score on every possession for the first eight times that you have the ball, you’re doing something right,” Crabtree said. “It’s nice to come out and do those kind of things so we didn’t have to struggle and worry about playing our guys late in the second half.”
Jordan started the Valley scoring barrage on the third play from scrimmage with a 23-yard run. The Cadets made one of their biggest pushes in its first response but quarterback Chandler Lang was stopped at the Indian 12.
Valley made Fort Frye pay on its next possession, marching 88 yards on 10 plays in a drive that was capped on an 8-yard pass from Bryan Rolfe to Ethan Clark-Holbrook. Crabtree agreed that the defensive stand that led to the score was the turning point in the contest.
“It took out any momentum that they gained and at that point, our kids just took over and played extremely well tonight,” Crabtree said.
After forcing a three-and-out, Arnett scored early in the second quarter on a 1-yd dive to push it to a 21-0 lead. The Indians ended the half with a 35-yard pass from Rolfe to Chris Flowers, a 14-yard run by Arnett and a 32-yard field by Bryce Romanello at the gun.
The Cadets made another push in its first possession of the second but were prevented from moving beyond the Valley 13. Jordan made a repeat performance by scoring the first points of the second half, this time from 12 yards.
Loop’s 10-yard run late in the third was on the first drive in which Crabtree started to give many of his second-string players some playoff action. Crabtree felt the distribution of scoring makes scouting by opponents a very difficult task.
“It allows us to give teams some different looks,” Crabtree said. “There’s a lot of different people who can do some different things for us and hopefully it bodes well for us in the future.”
Fort Frye ended the shutout bid early in the fourth when Lang punched it in from 3 yards. Terren Huck punched a tally from a yard out to end the night’s scoring.
Not only was Arnett the team’s leading rusher, he was also the top tackler as he had 11 tackles from his linebacker position, 10 of them were solo. Hayden Dunn had eight solo tackles that included a sack, six of Ryan Brown’s eight tackles were by himself and Paul Brogdon had 10 tackles in the fourth quarter, nine of them by himself.
The Indians move on to next Friday’s regional semifinals as No. 4 Newark Catholic serves as the opponent at a yet-to-be determined site. The Green Wave, who are in the playoffs for the 33rd time in school history, defeated No. 5 Bellaire 29-0 in another regional quarterfinal.
“It’s going to be a tough test for us,” Crabtree said. “Any time you make it to the second round of the playoffs, you’re going to play a quality opponent and obviously Newark Catholic brings a lot to the table in experience and in history. We’re trying to make history ourselves so it’s going to be a good ball game.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
FF 0 0 0 13 — 13
V 14 24 14 0 — 52
V — Jordan 23 run (Romanello kick) 11:04
V — Clark-Holbrook 8 pass from Rolfe (Romanello kick) 3:36
V — Arnett 1 run (Romanello kick) 10:05
V — Flowers 35 pass from Rolfe (Romanello kick) 6:45
V — Arnett 14 run (Romanello kick) 2:55
V — Romanello 32 FG 0:00
V — Jordan 12 run (Romanello kick) 6:33
V — Loop 10 run (Romanello kick) 2:33
FF — Lang 3 run (Lang kick) 10:04
FF — T. Huck 1 run (rush failed) 5:01
First Downs 16 17
Rush Att-Yds. 34-109 36-335
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 28-16-0 8-7-0
Pass Yds. 164 120
Total Yds. 273 455
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Turnovers 0 0
Penalties-Yds. 5-30 2-20
Punts-Avg. 4-27.8 1-33
RUSHING: FF — Lang 16-66, Shuster 7-20, Carpenter 5-13, Lochary 1-5, T. Huck 1-1, Layton 1-0, Stewart 2-0, TEAM 1-4; V — Arnett 13-132, Loop 6-93, Jordan 4-63, B. Howard 2-33, Shope 1-6, Rolfe 2-4, Bowling 1-3, Basham 4-1, D. Howard 2-0.
PASSING: FF — Lang 15-27-0 155, T. Huck 1-1-0 9; V — Rolfe 7-8-0 120.
RECEIVING: FF — Shuster 8-77, Carpenter 3-35, C. Huck 1-7, T. Huck 2-7, Layton 1-9, TEAM 1-35; V — Arnett 1-36, Flowers 1-35, Clark-Holbrook 2-25, Dunn 1-13, Loop 1-8, Shope 1-3.
Records — Fort Frye 8-3; Valley 11-0.