Making a Statement: Warriors start season with 45-0 shutout over Cloudland

Published 11:25 pm Friday, August 26, 2016


Coming into the season with something to prove, the Happy Valley Warriors made some noise Friday night at Orr Field as they shutout the Cloudland Highlanders 45-0.

“Anytime you can beat a Cloudland football team, especially a Mike Lunsford football team, you have done something,” said Happy Valley head coach Jason Jarrett. “Our kids have been itching at the bit all off season long. With how that playoff game went, we felt like it got ripped out of our hands. These guys just have been itching to get back on the football field.”

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The Warriors would amass roughly 300 yards of offense with 182 yards coming from the ground and 129 yards coming from QB Sage Haun’s passing performance. Haun went 5-of-6 with one interception.

Leading the ground assault was Warriors’ Dustun Sams, who had 92 yards on five touches and two touchdowns. Happy Valley fullback Austin Hicks accounted for 52 yards rushing on nine carries, while Dylan Street finished with 43 yards on six carries. Street also had  31 yards receiving, which all came from a receiving touchdown. Warriors Brayden Sams had 37 yards receiving on two catches, while Skylar Hyatt had a 53-yard receiving touchdown.

The Warriors defense held the Highlanders to less than 150 yards. After Friday night’s game, Jarrett was quick to recognize his coaching staff for getting the Warriors ready for their season opener.

“Our assistant coaches have done an absolutley phenomenal job,” Jarrett said. “How would expect shutting them out after what they did last week to Northview. Thay credit goes to Greg Hyder. He has work so hard with that defense as a coordinator. Just all of our coaches and all of our players, I am so excited for those guys, because they deserve. And tonight was just he first step.”

After forcing Happy Valley to punt on its first drive, the Highlanders had some early-game momentum. But that momentum would quickly come to a hault as Cloudland fumbled a punt attempt, allowing the Warriors to set up shop on the Highlanders’ 12-yard line. In two plays, the Warriors found paydirt with Happy Valley QB Sage Haun sneeking in from one yard out. And with Warriors Michael Harrah booting in the PAT, the Warriors took a 7-0 lead with 7:40 left in the first.

Harrah would finish the night going 5-of-5 on extra points kicks.

The Warriors would find the board two more time in the first quarter with Haun finding Hyatt on a 53-yard touchdown pass, before forcing Cloudland into a saftey to give Happy Valley a 16-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

A 7-yard TD run by Sams and a 31-yard touchdown reception by Street would allow the Warriors to head into the locker rooms with a 31-0 lead.

Happy Valley had two touchdowns in the second half with Sams rushing in a 68-yard touchdown in the third and Street busting through on a 3-yard TD run.

For Cloudland, QB Preston Benfield had 64 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Through out the night, the Highlanders had problems with missed snaps and fumbles, which hampered any momentum.

“We broke down discipline,” Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford said. “We blocked a kid in the back. No sense in that. Then we had two bad punt snaps. We had been doing a really good job on that. . . But we just have to be able to handle the moment. Right now, our kids just don’t seem to be able to do it. We just have to get back to work. We just got beat by a better football team.”

Next week both teams will begin conference play as Happy Valley heads to Sullivan North and Cloudland host Oakdale.