LUCASVILLE— Playing as the visitor on their home turf, the Valley Indians (4-0) were able to beat out the “host” Chesapeake Panthers (1-3), 46-13, in large part thanks to an impressive performance from senior quarterback, Will Howard.
The Panthers received the home bid due to their field being repaired. That however did not stop Howard, who finished the game completing 7-of-10 passes for 105 yards and three touchdowns as well as 11 carries for 90 yards and two rushing scores.
“He has really played well for us, tonight he was able to step up for us and make some plays in the air and hopefully he can continue with the success,” Coach Darren Crabtree said.
The Indians wasted no time in route to their 14th straight regular season victory. After a 44-yard return, junior running back, Nate Arnett found an opening in the line and ran for a 22-yard touchdown with eight minutes left in the quarter.
“Our special teams played well, we did a nice job on our kick returns and gave us short field possessions,” Crabtree said.
After both teams’ defenses forced turnovers-on-downs, the Panthers air attack got the best of the Indians secondary. Caleb Lindsey connected with Brandon Clagg on a third-and-six for 10-yards, tying the game at 7-7 with 9:38 remaining in the half.
With the score tied, Howard then took over. On the ensuing drive, Howard rushed for 38 yards and capped off a seven-play drive connecting with Arnett for a 45-yard strike.
“The biggest thing was to go out and get some big plays through the air tonight which we haven’t had all year,” Crabtree said.
It was Arnett’s second score of the game and gave Valley a 14-7 lead with 6:15 left in the second quarter.
After the defense forced a three-and-out it was Howard attacking the Panthers once again. Entering the final minute before intermission, Howard led the Indians 54-yards down the field.
With 51 seconds left on the clock, Howard faked a handoff and kept it himself, breaking several tackles and scoring on an 11-yard run. The score gave Valley a 20-7 lead after a missed extra point attempt.
The defense also did their part in the half, allowing only 131 total net yards and allowed only 2.4 yards per rush.
“Defensively we did a great job of shutting down of what they wanted to do,” Crabtree said.
The Indians lead the Panthers at intermission 20-7.
After another strong kickoff return that put Valley on the 50 yard line, Howard remained hot. Eight plays and 2:06 into the second half, Howard broke free again. This time for 27-yards, his second rushing touchdown of the game and extended the Indians lead to 26-7.
On the next drive for the Panthers, the Valley defense once again stepped up and forced another three-and-out. It quickly allowed the Indians seemingly unstoppable offense to be back on the field.
“I thought defensively we eliminated some big plays and we did a much better job on that tonight,” Crabtree said.
Howard, who already accounted for two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown, was not finished. Leading 26-7 midway through the third quarter, Howard found a wide-open Jordan West for a 17-yard touchdown pass.
The score gave the Indians a commanding 33-7 lead with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
With the defense and special teams playing great, Valley just kept looking for Howard to carry them offensively. After another defensive stop Howard capped off his brilliant performance with one last drive.
“We shut them down defensively and especially in the second half and took away what they wanted to do,” Crabtree said.
After seven plays and 78 yards Howard connected with wide out Hayden Dunn for his third touchdown toss of the evening. The score gave the Indians a 40-7 lead with 8:57 left in the game.
For the Panthers, a game of offensive struggles finally came to an end. After not scoring since the early part of the second quarter, Chesapeake’s Javon Thompson punched the ball in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown run with 4:10 remaining, cutting the lead to 40-13.
However, the game was out-of-reach for the Panthers as Valley scored once again late in the fourth quarter to come out 46-13 winners. Winning on the road on their home turf may have been something the Indians will never forget.
Chesapeake 0 7 0 6 13
Valley 7 13 13 6 46
8:00 V- Arnett 22 run (Holbrook kick) 7-0
9:38 C- Clagg 10 pass from Lindsey (Stephens kick) 7-7
6:15 V- Arnett 45 pass from Howard (Holbrook kick) 14-7
:51 V- Howard 11 run (Kick fail) 20-7
8:54 V- Howard 27 run (run fail) 26-7
4:37 V- West 17 pass from Howard (Holbrook kick) 33-7
8:57 V- Dunn 8 pass from Howard (Holbrook kick) 40-7
4:10 C- Thompson 8 run (Kick blocked) 40-13
1:19 V- Basham 31 run (Run fail) 46-13
First Downs 13 14
Total Net Yards 235 428
Rushes-yards 37-145 35-323
Passing 90 105
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-0 7-10-0
Punts-yards 3-27.0 0-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-10 5-25