The Valdosta Daily Times
After a week off, the Valwood Valiants returned to their winning ways with a remarkable 30-3 victory over the Cavaliers of Mount De Sales Academy (Macon, Ga.).
Valwood (4-0) came into the contest after a bye week and the extra days of practice served the Valiants well.
“The extra days of practice were huge,” Valiant Head Coach Ashley Henderson said. “I have to say that our offense has never looked sharper and more together than they did tonight. This was the best offensive game by far.”
After an early field goal by Valiant senior Carter Elliott gave Valwood a 3-0 lead, the defending champions wasted no time adding to their lead.
Valiant junior Zane Edmondson provided an offensive spark and led the way to an early 10-0 Valwood lead after a 25-yard touchdown run. He finished with 55 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“I just wanted to make sure I did everything I could,” Edmondson said. “I had a great game, but at the same time I have to give credit to the offensive line for leading the way for me.”
Valiant senior Seth Carlo put on an amazing performance, passing for 174 yards. He also connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Ryan White as well as a 31-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Anthony Folkerts in what Coach Henderson considers Carlo’s best game of the season.
Carlo credits the Valiants’ previous matchup for their increased effort and focus against the Cavaliers.
“Last game (against Memorial Day Academy) definitely taught us that we can’t take it easy at any time,” Carlo said. “We have to make sure that we stay focused to avoid careless mental errors.”
As expected, the Valiants’ defense put on a clinic once more. Senior linebacker Reggie Robinson was a tremendous asset, sophomore defensive back Terry Carter accounted for two fumble recoveries and junior linebacker Eli Carlo added a second-quarter interception to his accomplishments. Senior defensive lineman Daniel Costello also made his presence felt with a big second-quarter tackle for loss on third and goal with the Cavaliers in scoring position.
The big difference in the score did more than just give the Valiants another win. It also gave them a chance to input some of their younger players for some invaluable experience.
The younger players kept the Valiants’ passion alive, highlighted by a red zone fumble recovery in the fourth quarter by Valiant sophomore defensive back and running back Jack Helms.
“I can’t say enough about (Helms),” Coach Henderson said. “He gives 110 percent in everything that he does. He definitely has a bright future in football ahead of him.”
Coach Henderson believes that the Valiants are beginning to find their identity as a team. While he remains impressed by their desire and grit, he still knows that no win is guaranteed.
“(Mount De Sales) made some runs in the second half,” Coach Henderson said. “I want my players to use this as an example that we can’t ever let up. We came out the gates with a killer instinct and we have to make sure we maintain that for the entire game.”
Valiant junior Marik Merine had five receptions for 63 yards. He also added 38 yards on seven rushing attempts and forced a fumble on defense.
The Valiants will see their next action in their first regional game of the season against the Eagles of Sherwood Christian Academy (Albany, Ga.) at Goddard Field on Oct. 4.