Special to The Times
The Valwood Valiants (7-0, 3-0) defeated the Westwood Wildcats (5-2-1, 2-1) 28-7, Friday night, using an overpowering running game and timely big plays in the passing game to end Westwood's five-game winning streak.
Valwood took an early lead on a Seth Carlo 53-yard touchdown pass to senior Char Merine and never looked back en route to one of the Valiants' most-impressive wins of the 2013 campaign.
After junior running back Marik Merine scored on a three-yard plunge to put the Valiants up 14-0, Westwood momentarily showed signs of life when kick returner Dylan Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
The kick return, however, would turn out to be Westwood's only points of the game. Valwood added scores from Marik Merine and Zane Edmondson to take sole possession of first place in GISA region 3-AA.
"This was a big win. Any time you come to Westwood and beat these guys, it's a big win," Valwood head coach Ashley Henderson commented. "I can't say enough about the performance of this group of guys and the coaching staff tonight."
At first glance, the Valwood victory simply looks like a convincing win. However, when the statistics are revealed, the truth comes out: Valwood pummeled Westwood. The Valiants outgained the Wildcats 484 to 116, including an incredible 284-67 advantage on the ground.
"The offensive line put this team on their shoulders and really took over the game," added Henderson. "Our preparation was excellent."
Valwood doesn't have much time to celebrate, however, as the Valiants annual showdown with rival Brookwood awaits next week. The Warriors, fresh off a 42-35 win over Terrell Academy, would love nothing more than to knock off Valwood in Valdosta and ruin the Valiants' perfect season.
The Warriors will attempt to do just that, in addition to ending their losing skid in the series, next Friday night.