Happy Valley stuns South Greene in overtime thriller

Published 8:09 am Monday, October 9, 2023

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GREENEVILLE — Happy Valley Warriors left their mark in an exciting showdown with the South Greene Rebels on Friday night, claiming an extraordinary 26-20 overtime victory that stunned the previously undefeated Rebels.

In a game filled with anticipation, the Warriors showcased their resurgent form, securing their fourth straight win after a challenging start to the season. Their current 2-1 record in Region 1-2A positions them as strong contenders for hosting a playoff game.

South Greene’s season took a turn as they faced their first loss, now standing at 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the league. With two league games remaining, including a tough matchup with potent Hampton, they aim to bounce back.

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The standout player of the game was Happy Valley’s bruising back, Joseph Sowards, who carried the Warriors to victory by scoring all four of their touchdowns, including the thrilling game-winner in overtime. South Greene’s defense struggled to contain Sowards, who repeatedly broke tackles and plowed through with the support of his robust offensive line.

Penalty flags played a role in the outcome, with South Greene facing seven second-half penalties, while Happy Valley only had one in the final two periods.

Despite their mistakes, South Greene managed to gain a 20-14 lead. However, the Warriors orchestrated a determined drive, successfully converting a fourth and 20 with a fake punt and ultimately tied the score.

The game headed into overtime, and Happy Valley’s resilient defense held South Greene at bay during their scoring attempt. Taking over at the 10-yard line, the Warriors completed the storybook ending as Sowards powered his way to the end zone, securing a 26-20 victory.

The game’s opening kickoff set the tone, with Happy Valley embarking on a 12-play, 64-yard drive, with Sowards delivering the final yard for a touchdown. The conversion attempt failed, leaving HV with a 6-0 lead.

South Greene swiftly responded, and a remarkable catch by TJ Buckner set the stage for their first touchdown. Quarterback Jacob Susong found Connor Race across the middle to take an 8-6 lead after the conversion.

In the second quarter, the Rebels extended their lead, culminating in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Susong to Trey Gentry.

The Warriors countered with a drive led by Sowards, who scored the tying touchdown, making it 14-14 at halftime.

South Greene took control in the third quarter, regaining the lead, but the final period belonged to Sowards and the Warriors, sealing their thrilling victory.

Statistics favored the Rebels in terms of yardage, recording 262 yards compared to the Warriors’ 206. South Greene had 112 rushing yards, while Susong completed 11-of-21 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Happy Valley, however, dominated on the ground, amassing 189 rushing yards, with Sowards contributing 127 on 26 carries, including the crucial game-winner in overtime.