Happy Valley was trying to hang on like “Sloopy” in the final seconds of its game with Johnson County. A jarring tackle by Sam Blevins on a game-tying two-point conversion try saved the day.
Keeping fans in suspense until the final play, the Warriors eeked out a 14-12 home win in junior high football action on Thursday night.
Happy Valley broke a 6-6 tie with 50 seconds remaining on a 17-yard run by Caleb Jones. Austin Peters bulled his way in for the two-point conversion, making it a 14-6 game.
While the Tribe fans started to celebrate, the Steers began to penetrate toward the end zone.
With 23 ticks remaining, Samuel Icenhour got behind the Happy Valley secondary and hauled in a 64-yard halfback pass from Cody Bailie for a touchdown.
Blevins then undercut quarterback Justin Pardue in the backfield on the conversion try, allowing the Jr. Warriors to run out the clock.
“This was probably the best all-around game we’ve played from the start to finish,” said Happy Valley head coach Caleb Moore. “The defense played great and we did well on offense what little time we had the ball. Johnson County played well and this game could have went either way. It was a outstanding effort from both teams.”
Happy Valley wasted no time getting on the board, scoring on its first possession.
Justin Morefield lofted a 24 yard touchdown pass to Josh Hammonds on a clutch fourth-down play with 4:20 remaining in the first. Devante Phillips had a clutch 23-yard run that kept the drive alive.
Johnson County was able to keep Happy Valley’s offense off the field by controlling time of possession.
The Longhorns ran 18 offensive plays in the first half to Happy Valley’s nine.
That trend continued in the second half.
Johnson County had the ball for the entire third quarter on a drive that started at its 40. A roughing-the-kicker call and a pass interference penalty on the Warriors were instrumental in keeping their march going. but the ‘Horns did they part too. They nickel and dimed their way down the field, running 16 offensive plays before a 2-yard touchdown run by Alex Roark got them on the board with 5:54 remaining in the game.
Happy Valley (4-1) caught a break on their game-winning drive when Johnson County was assessed a five-yard facemask infraction on a fourth-and-4.
Several Warriors stood out in the win.
Morefield completed a pair of passes to Hammonds that totaled 68 yards. He also had a 5-yard quarterback sneak on fourth-and-3 during the winning march.
Jones ended the night with 44 yard rushing on eight attempts, in addition to his seven solo tackles. Phillips provided 34 yards on five carries. Peters ended the night with eight tackles and the game-winning conversion.
Also, Austin Hicks led the defense with nine tackles. Skyler Hyatt contributed a fumble recovery.
“We took a timeout before Jones scored the go-ahead touchdown because we wanted to be aggressive,” added Moore. “We didn’t get him a lot of touches, but the ones he got were key ones. He made a great cutback and ran hard and Peters did a great job of getting the conversion into the end zone. Morefield and Hammonds had a good game, and so did our entire defense. I’m proud of our entire team for the way they battled all night.”