Jr. Warriors ambush Cloudland on eighth-grade night, 54-6

Published 12:47 am Friday, September 23, 2016


Little did the Cloudland Jr. Highlanders know that while they were getting off the bus for their game with Happy Valley that a tribe of Warriors were laying plans for a major ambush.
The plan was executed to perfection as the Jr. Warriors celebrated their eighth-grade night with a big 54-6 win that was pretty much decided by the end of the first half.
Happy Valley scored three touchdowns in the first quarter spurred on by an 11-yard run by Gabe Nickles, a big romp by Matthew Bahn of 61 yards, and a 16-yard touchdown toss by signal caller Eli Ayers to Andrew Little.
Two-point conversions were executed to perfection by two passes from Ayers to Peyton Freeman, and an Eli Phillips conversion to give Happy Valley a 24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cloudland proved to be its own worst enemy fumbling the football away three times that led to the quick scores.
The Jr. Warriors tacked on another score before the break thanks to a 10-yard scamper by Ayers. Nickles added the two-point conversion for a 32-0 halftime lead.
It was more of the same from Happy Valley in the second half as just one play into the third quarter; Nickles broke through the Cloudland defense on his way to a 45-yard score.
Phillips added his second two-point conversion of the night to push the lead to 40-0 with 7:45 remaining in the third quarter.
After stopping the Jr. Landers at the Cloudland 17-yard line on fourth down, the Jr. Warrior offense once again was clicking as Nickles dashed into the end zone from 16 yards out to push the lead to 48-0 after Phillips two-point conversion.
The third quarter would end with the same 48-0 score.
Happy Valley closed out the scoring with 1:35 left to play as Mason Hicks crashed over the goal line from the one-yard line. The two-point conversion failed.
The Cloudland faithful came to their feet on the ensuing kickoff as Skylar Hamby took the kick at his own 30-yard line and zipped down the Cloudland sideline for a 70-yard kickoff return to get the Jr. Landers on the board.
With the conversion failing, the clock ticked away to the 54-6 victory for the Jr. Warriors.
Happy Valley Jr. Warrior coach Brandon Mottern was pleased with the way his offense performed and was especially proud of the eighth-grade players for the way they responded against a good but young Cloudland Middle team.
“This group is a very special group to me as a coach,” stated Mottern. “My very first year as a volunteer assistant coach, these guys were sixth graders. We had a pretty rough year. We took our lumps, and they have been with me the last three years.
“It’s going to be hard to see them go, but I look forward to seeing them doing bigger and better things at the high school level. I am proud of them.”
With the win, the Jr. Warriors ran their overall season record to 4-3.

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