Special to the Times
Can any team stop the Valwood Valiants?
The answer is still no, following Valwood’s crushing 59-7 win over the Sherwood Christian Eagles Friday night at Goddard Field.
With the win, the Valiants improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1992.
“There was nothing broke when I came here,” first-year Valwood head coach Ashley Henderson said. “What we’ve preached and what were trying to sell is finishing.
“We haven’t been 6-0 in a long time, and we are now, but that’s not our goal. That’s something to build on, we want to keep rolling.”
The Valiants did much more than just finish Friday night, taking less than two minutes to get on the scoreboard.
After the Eagles (3-4) forced the Valiants to a three-and-out on their first drive, a punt placed the Eagles inside their own 5-yard line to start their own first drive of the game.
Two plays following the punt, Valwood seniors Austin Wilkes and Aulden Bynum tackled Eagles running back Chaznic Griffin in the end zone for a safety.
The Valiants increased their lead to double digits on their second offensive drive of the game.
Running back Khary Paige recorded 20 of his 92 rushing yards on the drive before senior quarterback Tyler Williams found sophomore receiver Marik Merine on a 14-yard touchdown completion that gave Valwood a 10-0 lead minutes into the first quarter.
Following an Eagles’ three-and-out, the Valiants drove 77 yards for another touchdown.
It took little time as Paige sprinted through a gap in the defense for a 63-yard touchdown run.
The Eagles start to the 3-AA opener got even worse on their next drive following the Valwood touchdown when quarterback Dalton Todd threw his first of three interceptions. This time it was Valwood’s Anthony Folkerts who snatched the pass and returned it for the touchdown to give the Valiants a 24-0 lead.
Todd’s second interception of the game came a couple minutes later, when Paige jumped in the way of the pass and returned it for another touchdown.
Valwood found the end zone again, capping off a 62-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass connection from Williams to Alan Taylor.
Fellow senior quarterback Jake Lastinger, who shared snaps with Williams all night, tallied his only touchdown of the game on the Valiants next possession.
Lastinger found senior Rashad Mathis on a screen play that went 45 yards for the touchdown.
The score gave Valwood a commanding 45-0 lead halfway through the second quarter.
“It feels good to get another win,” said Mathis, who finished with a game-high 114 yards receiving. “It feels good to get closer to a region championship.”
Valwood increased its lead to 52-0 late in the second quarter on a Dashon Day 10-yard touchdown run. The score was set up by a 42-yard run by Merine.
The Eagles finally broke through into the end zone for a touchdown when Todd connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Tabb in the second half.
Valwood topped off their offensive explosion when backup quarterback Carter Elliot scored a touchdown on a 4-yard QB keeper in the final minutes.