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Warriors fall in late-game thriller to Rebels, 35-28

BY NIC MILLER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
HAPPY VALLEY – Stakes were high on Friday on Warrior Hill as it was a game with serious playoff implications with the Happy Valley Warriors hosting the undefeated South Greene Rebels.

A win on senior night would not only cap off a great regular season for the Warriors, but it would also shuffle things up in postseason standings, as a win against the Rebels could result in a three way tie for first place in the division between these two teams and the Hampton Bulldogs.

With tensions rising, things were underway with the visiting Rebels receiving possession to start the contest. And things were off to a quick start for South Greene when quarterback Luke Myers would spark an offensive surge first by calling his own number from midfield for a gain of 45 yards and capping it off inside the five with a two-yard carry for the score, making it 7-0 in the first.

And just when it seemed as if the Warriors would respond right back, a magnificent lob and catch from Eli Ayers to Andrew Little would be ruled just out of bounds leaving Happy Valley empty handed.

But after a Rebel fumble to start the second quarter and unneeded penalties on the defensive side from the same team, the Warriors’ Matthew Bahn would cut around the corner from four yards out and a failed PAT attempt would bring them within one, 7-6. with seven minutes till halftime.

However, it didn’t take long for the Rebel offense to get back into action as Myers scampered in once again, this time from 21 yards away, followed by a Jay Higgins extra point to increase South Greene’s lead to 14-6 a few minutes before the end of the quarter and keeping that lead going into the halftime intermission.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Warriors got the ball rolling to start the final half when Bahn muscled his way from the 10-yard line to cut it within two points, where he would do the same thing on the two-point conversion to knot things up, 14-14.

And while the Rebels next drive resulted in a three-and-out, a Warrior fumble would give the ball back to South Greene inside the red zone where Myers would find his target Clint Lamb for an 18-yard touchdown.

Along with the extra point, the Rebels lead would increase to a 21-14 advantage.

Myers would continue his dominant performance as the third quarter came to a close with a two-yard rushing touchdown followed by the PAT to increase the visitors advantage to 28-14.

But the Warriors were ready for a fight as they started the final quarter with a double pass that went from Ayers to Little and eventually downfield to Bahn for 70 yards and a score. The conversion would be no good, as Happy Valley decreased the deficit to eight points, 28-20.

However, Myers wasn’t finished as he called his own number yet again pushing the pile from ten yards out. After the PAT, the score was now 35-20 in favor of the Rebels with 10 minutes to go in the fourth.

Happy Valley scored one more time late in the game by way of an eight-yard pass from Ayers to Little and a two-point conversion to make the score 35-28 in favor of the Rebels, but that would be all she wrote as South Greene would run out the clock in this late-game thriller.

After losing a heartbreaker, the Warriors will be looking to put the regular season behind them as they work to go deep in this year’s TSSAA playoffs.