Happy Valley scores victory over Grace Christian

Published 11:33 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

Star Photo/Larry N. Souders The Warriors’ Austin Hicks (#40) and Sam Blevins put the hit of the night on the Rams tight end Eli Nordhorn (#26) stopping him after only a one-yard gain.

Star Photo/Larry N. Souders
The Warriors’ Austin Hicks (#40) and Sam Blevins put the hit of the night on the Rams tight end Eli Nordhorn (#26) stopping him after only a one-yard gain.

For the first time since 1997 the Happy Valley Warriors advance to the semifinals of the TSSAA football playoffs.
The Warriors (11-1) earned a trip to visit Austin-East in the third round with a 24-7 victory over Grace Christian Academy on Friday night on Warrior Hill.
Senior running back Austin Hicks rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns and was a force on defense with seven tackles as well. Senior quarterback Sage Haun passed for 96 yards on 10-of-15 completions including a 37-yard scoring toss to Dylan Street.
“Hats off to the front line,” Hicks said. “I heard they had a couple linemen committed to UT and we wanted to have some competition up front. It all goes to my line. This team gives it all up to family, I love these guys and this place.”
After a fumble by the Warriors at the 15-yard line, Grace took over at the 16 on the recovery by Jackson Daniel. The Rams (6-6 overall) drove 84 yards on 12 plays with Ryan Medders scoring from four yards out. Zeke Beeler added the point after kick for a 7-0 Grace Christian lead.
The Warriors answered with a 68-yard touchdown drive with Hicks taking the ball over the last 31 yards to pay dirt. Michael Harrah’s PAT knotted the score at 7-7 with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
The Rams next possession saw them hit with three penalties that set Grace back to it’s own seven yard line. A 29-yard punt set HV up at the Grace Christian 36 yard line. On fourth and four from the 37 yard line Haun connected with Street on a 37 yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 Warrior lead after the successful PAT from Harrah.
The Warriors forced another short Grace punt and took over at the Rams 30 yard line but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Harrah after Street was dropped for an eight-yard loss on third down and goal.
Hicks rushed for 116 of his 162 yards in the first half with Haun connecting on six of nine passes for 69 first half yards. Both teams were penalty prone with HV flagged five times for 55 yards and Grace four for 40 yards.
Street was held to just 19 yards rushing in the first half and Dustun Sams was good for just 13 yards on four tries as the Rams run defense held stout. Street finished with 86 rushing yards and 46 yards through the air.
“They did a good job containing Street,” Hicks said. “He did excellent last week. He got over 200 yards on six carries but this week they had a little more speed and they kind of contained him, but it helped to open up the middle for me. This is just the best feeling in the world right now. It’s unbelievable.”
The second half was a defensive struggle with both teams missing on scoring opportunities as HV opened the third period with possession and drove to the Rams 15 yard line where an incomplete pass saw the Warriors give the ball over on downs.
HV later tried a fake punt with Haun lined up short behind center but his pass to Dustun Sams was well defended and once again Grace took over on downs. The Warriors once again forced a punt and took possession at the 35 yard line.
Hicks finished the drive with an 18 yard run that sealed the victory at 24-7 with just 7:31 remaining in regulation.
“This team is all about our defense,” Warriors head coach Jason Jarrett said. “We have rode the coattails of our defense all year, and they have been winning football games for us all year. Offense does enough to put up enough points to get the job done. It’s a collective team effort. We forced some turnovers on defense and the pride that this bunch has is incredible. They want to win for our school, our community and for each other. There are no individuals on this team.”

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