Special to the Times
On Friday night, the Valwood Valiants fought through the pouring rain, pounding the Warriors of Southwest Georgia Academy (Damascus, Ga.) by a final score of 40-7 and setting themselves up for a run in the 2013 GISA Class AA State Playoffs.
The win did a great deal for the home team. It extends their win streak to 23 games and completes a second consecutive undefeated regular season for the Valiants.
Most importantly, however, Friday’s game gave the rest of the Valiant football team, as well as the faithful Goddard Field fans that stayed in attendance through the rainfall, a chance to show their appreciation to the seniors that have left their mark on the Valwood gridiron over the last four seasons.
Prior to kickoff, a special Senior Night ceremony was held, honoring each of the 17 seniors of Valwood’s football team. Each senior was escorted onto the field by their loved ones and announced to a standing ovation from the fans in the stands.
Also, in a heartwarming
moment during the coin toss, all of the Valiant senior football players marched to midfield as honorary captains.
“It was our goal all week to make sure we sent (the seniors) away with a victory,” Head Coach Ashley Henderson said. “A bunch of guys stepped up. It was an awesome performance by everyone and I can’t say enough about the total team effort.”
The contest removed any doubt as to how the rest of the Valiants would be able to carry on next season. An offensive onslaught, led by junior running back Zane Edmondson, pushed Valwood out to an early lead.
After the Warriors were unable to make anything of their first possession, Edmondson took the first snap of the game for the Valiants and turned it into an 80-yard touchdown run on a right sweep.
Edmondson added to his terrific night on his very next possession. On Valwood’s following possession, he once again turned one handoff into a touchdown, this time on a 47-yard scamper straight through the Warriors’ defensive line.
“(Zane) definitely came to play and I commend his toughness,” Coach Henderson said. “He had easily the best game of his career. He did a great job tonight.”
After a third touchdown for Edmondson padded the Valiants’ lead in the second quarter, a 22-yard field goal by senior Carter Elliott sent Valwood into the half with a 24-0 advantage.
It turned out to be quite a memorable night for Edmondson. He finished the game with 228 rushing yards (including 165 yards in the first half) and four touchdowns on sixteen attempts. He also added 44 yards on four receptions.
“It felt really good to have a performance like this on Senior Night,” Edmondson said. “I love (the seniors) and I’m glad that I was able to play such a big role tonight.”
The game proved to be a statement for both of the Edmondson brothers. Zane’s twin brother Zach accounted for the Valiants’ only other touchdown of the night on a 35-yard blast down the left sideline. He finished the game with five carries for 70 yards.
Senior quarterback Seth Carlo played well, completing 12 of 19 passing attempts for 130 yards.
“I’m just glad to have the opportunity to perform here (at Valwood),” Carlo said. “We’ve got some work to do, but overall I think we’re ready for this playoff run.”
By virtue of another undefeated season, as well as another Region 3-AA title, the Valiants will have home-field advantage throughout the 2013 playoffs.
“We look forward to wearing our ‘home field’ blue jerseys for the next few weeks,” Coach Henderson said. “I feel this team is well-prepared for the postseason.”
Valwood will open the 2013 GISA Class AA State Playoffs on Nov. 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Goddard Field.