Special to the Times
On Friday, the Valwood Valiants continued on their road to a championship repeat with a 39-14 victory over the Terrell Academy Eagles of Dawson, Ga..
Mental errors played a major role in the game for the Valiants, who were hit with over a dozen penalties throughout the night.
“(The penalties) were sloppy,” said Valwood Head Coach Ashley Henderson. “There aren’t any excuses. My guys play as good as I coach them. Eventually our running game got going through Zane (Edmondson) and Marik (Merine) and we were able to get the job done.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Valwood (6-0, 2-0 in region play) opened up its scoring with a two-yard touchdown by junior running back Marik Merine.
Shortly after, an interception by Valiant quarterback Seth Carlo was fumbled by Eagles’ junior Charlie Maxwell. The fumble was recovered by Valwood in the Eagles’ end zone, giving Valwood a 14-0 lead heading into the half.
A key to victory over Sherwood Christian Academy last week was the depth of Valwood’s talent. Continuing to boast a deep and widely-talented roster, the Goddard Field faithful were treated to more of the same on Friday night.
After a third quarter Valwood fumble gave possession to Terrell Academy, the very next play saw junior defensive back Alex Jackson intercept a pass from Eagles’ quarterback Dalton Todd.
Jackson’s subsequent 65-yard return was called back because of a holding penalty, but by that point the uproar of the Valiant fans could not be extinguished.
“(The interception) felt good,” Jackson said. “We practice hard, we play hard, and we were able to turn it on in the end.”
A fourth-quarter handoff from Merine led to a three-yard touchdown run by senior running back Reggie Robinson. Later in the quarter, an eight-yard touchdown on a keeper by Carlo put the final stamp on the win for Valwood.
“In the end, a win is a win,” Coach Henderson said. “We can learn from this game but I have no doubt that the guys will use this as motivation for the next one.”
Merine contributed 75 rushing yards and one touchdown on 11 carries while also connecting on one pass attempt to senior defensive lineman Thomas McTier for a six-yard touchdown. Senior wide receiver Ryan White finished with six receptions for 52 yards.
Junior running back Zane Edmondson finished with 63 yards on 11 carries.
“It always feels good to get the win,” Edmondson said. I was able to capitalize on a few runs and my teammates were great as always.”
During the halftime show, the annual celebration saw Maggie Scruggs crowned Homecoming Queen over a host of contestants.
“I’m so honored to be the student to represent Valwood this year,” Scruggs said. “I love my school, and I am grateful to go to a school like Valwood.”
Valwood will see its next regional contest in Camilla, Ga. as the Valiants take to the road to face the Wildcats of Westwood High School on Oct. 20.