Season ender… Happy Valley takes tough loss on road to Rockwood, 36-7

Published 5:32 pm Monday, November 9, 2020

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The Happy Valley Warriors’ gridiron season came to an end Friday night after a 36-7 road loss to the Rockwood Tigers in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.

Although Happy Valley was unable to find the end zone in the first half, defensively the Warriors were able to keep things together.

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At halftime, Rockwood led 13-0. Despite the point deficit, Happy Valley was still very much in the game.

The Warriors, behind the rushing of senior running back Matthew Bahn and the passing of Eli Ayers, had moved the ball well against a stalwart Tiger defense.

It appeared as if all it would take was some halftime adjustments in Happy Valley’s favor.

Momentum can prove to be fickle.

The needed swing for the Warriors never materialized as drives in the third quarter ended quickly. A fumble by Happy Valley recovered by the Rockwood defensive line ended the Warriors’ second drive of the third.

Never good to turn the ball over, the fumble was most inopportune as Happy Valley was attempting to respond to a Tiger touchdown just one possession earlier that made it 20-0.

The Warriors’ defense held, making sure Rockwood wouldn’t benefit from the turnover. The Tiger drive fizzled out and they had to punt the ball away.

The kick from the Happy Valley 40-yard line went deep with the Warriors fielding it on their own 13.

The problems persisted on this possession.

Ayers lost three yards on a quarterback keeper and overthrew a receiver to bring up third and 10. The quarterback took the snap and was instantly swarmed by a jailbreak of Rockwood defenders in the backfield.

The Warrior quarterback was able to avoid the rush. Already in the end zone, he threw the ball away.

Normally a smart move, but he wasn’t far enough out of the pocket and was called for intentional grounding.

The intentional grounding call resulted in a safety for Rockwood to make the score, 22-0.

Happy Valley attempted to regroup on the Tiger’s next drive.

An interception from Logan Groom on the Warrior 23-yard line was returned 77 yards to the Rockwood two-yard line. As had been the case for the evening, nothing proved to be simple.

The Tiger defense stuffed the short-yardage attempt to cross the goal line.

A short pass attempted to catch Rockwood off guard, but cornerback Dillon Garrett cut on the ball and swiped it out of the air.

Garrett raced down the field and 97 yards later, he had returned the interception for a touchdown to make it 29-0.

Although Rockwood tacked on another touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 36-0 and start a rolling clock, Happy Valley continued to fight.

It finally paid off for the Warriors when Bahn plunged forward from one yard out to make it 26-6.

After the Cameron Cochran point-after kick, the score was 36-7.

Happy Valley finishes the season with a 5-5 overall record and a 2-2 Region record.