HVMS falls to late Avery rally

Published 6:00 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

One crucial mistake turned the tide against Happy Valley Middle School on Tuesday as the Junior Warriors saw a potential scoring drive end with an Avery County interception.
The result was a touchdown drive for the Vikings that gave the Junior Vikings a 26-20 win on Warrior Hill.
“That was 100 percent my call,” Warriors head coach Kevin Kendall said. “I saw something and thought it would be a touchdown. He was open for a second but it closed in a hurry, credit their defense.
“It was something we tried early in the game and they stuffed it then, but I thought it was going to be there but they picked it off.”
The Warriors (0-1) scored first on a four-yard scoring pass from quarterback A.J. Campbell to receiver Tucker Shoun. The two-point run failed and HVMS settled for a 6-0 lead.
The scoring pass capped a 14-play 64-yard drive in which the Warriors overcame a fourth and 12 situation where Campbell connected with Shoun on a 14-yard pass play.
Avery struck back with a nifty drive of their own marching 53 yards on only four plays with quarterback Will Stanford tossing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Weston Woody to tie the game and Stafford ran in the two-pointer for an 8-6 Vikings lead.
The lead was short-lived as Waylon McKeehan took the kickoff 64 yards for a touchdown right down the middle of the field, splitting the defense and going into the end zone untouched.
Once again the deuce failed for HVMS but they went into the half with a 12-8 advantage.
“The running game was not great in the first half and I challenged them at halftime saying, “Boys we have got to be able to run the football”,” Kendall said.
“We threw the ball very well in the first half and we really turned it on in the run game in the second half. We did a lot of good things in the second half but that one call was on me.
“I told the guys that it would be a touchdown but it went the other way.”
The Warriors stopped Avery’s opening drive of the second half and proceeded to march 51 yards on six plays with McKeehan capping the drive with a five-yard scoring run.
Campbell connected with Jesse Everett for the two-point play and HV led 20-8.
Vikings return man Woody then took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to paydirt to get Avery back into the ball game at 20-14 after the two-point try failed.
The Warriors fumbled the next kickoff and the Vikings recovered in prime field position and they didn’t waste it going 43 yards in six plays with Stanford running in from the four-yard line to knot the score at 20-20 with 1:27 left in the third period.
HV drove to the Avery 19 when it happened – the interception that changed the complexion of the game for HV as Stanford cut in front of Shoun who looked wide open and he returned the pilfered pigskin 31 yards to the 42-yard line.
Stanford capped the scoring drive with a seven-yard scamper for the first lead of the game for Avery at 26-20.
That lead would hold up as a fourth and 16 pass to Shoun fell incomplete and the Vikings were able to run the clock out.
For HV, McKeehan was the leading ground gainer with 79 yards on nine carries while Campbell completed 6-of-11 passes for 69 yards but had that one interception.
Wayne Stines led the Vikings with 54 yards on nine tries with Stanford rushing for 38 yards and completing 5-of-10 passes for an additional 86 yards.
Avery County, 26-20
Avery Co.  0   8 12 6 – 26
HVMS        0 12   6 0 – 20
Scoring Summary
Second Quarter
H – Shoun 4 pass from Campbell (run failed) 1:22
A – Woody 19 pass from Stafford (Stafford run) 4.4
H – McKeehan 64 kickoff return (pass failed) 0.0
Third Quarter
H – McKeehan 5 run (Campbell pass to Everett) 3:16
A – Woody 70 kickoff return (run failed) 2:09
A – Stafford 4 run (pass failed) 1:27
Fourth Quarter
A – Stafford 7 run (run failed) 5:20

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