‘Hawks Blank Vikes, Lock Up 4th Seed

Andrew Plante climbs into the end zone from 1 yard out. (Photo/Ross Burton)

WHS-34, SVHS-0

BLYTHEWOOD – On Friday night, the tough and stingy Westwood defense shocked the Vikings of Spring Valley High School by stopping them cold. At the final buzzer, the Redhawks prevailed 34-0 in a win, which many thought would be a closer contest than it was.

The win did more than just rack up Westwood’s 10th win and close out the regular season with only a single loss. The win assured the Redhawks that their first playoff game in the Class 4A/Division 2 bracket would be at home at Richland District 2 Stadium. The team will take on the Colleton County Cougars, who are 5-5 this season, in this Friday’s first round action.

Before the game, Westwood head coach Rodney Summers predicted that the defense would be key to victory.

“I think our defense will be strong tonight,” Summers said before the kickoff. “If our defense can slow them, stop them enough to give our offensive plenty of chances. They are playing with a little fire. They have to get into the playoff by beating us. The game is going to mean a lot to them.”

The kickoff went to Westwood, and they managed to get the ball into Viking territory before they had to punt it away. Brandon Howard’s kick was brilliant, as the ball rolled to the Viking 1-yard line before it was downed. On the next two plays, Spring Valley nearly had a safety scored on them, but quarterback Ryan Lee was barely able to keep from being tackled behind the goal line. Lee’s pass, intended for R.J. Bacon, was intercepted by Anthony Douglas at the Viking 26-yard line. A couple of handoffs to Andrew Plante later and the Redhawks were first on the scoreboard with just over 5 minutes to go in the quarter.

Things didn’t improve for the Vikings when they went three and out on their next possession. To make matters worse, Cooper Gresham’s punt only went 9 yards and out of bounds, giving the Redhawks a first-and-10 on a very short field for the second time in the quarter. It was no more difficult to score, as Plante leapt over a series of defenders to cross the plane for a two-touchdown lead.

In the second quarter, the Redhawks scored on their first possession in their usual manner, i.e. with Plante’s rushing and Leveretter’s keeping hold of the ball and running for yardage. In the middle of the drive, Leveretter targeted Adonus Lee deep in Viking territory for a 41-yard gain to the Viking 23. Allow the Redhawk offense in or near the red zone: piece of cake. Plante later rammed it home from 10 yards out and Howard added the point after, giving the ‘Hawks a 20-0 lead with 9:26 left in the half.

The Vikings’ best scoring opportunity came near halftime. A short punt gave Spring Valley a short field on their own 48-yard line. A good run by Malik Norman and a complete pass landed the Vikings on the Westwood 9-yard line with time running out. A last-ditch desperation pass was broken up by the Redhawk secondary, however, and the clock ran out on Spring Valley with the score 20-0 Westwood.

Asked if he expected to be three touchdowns ahead at the half, Summers said at the break, “I knew we could do it but I didn’t know we would do it like we did. Our defense really came out and stopped them, gave us the short field and them the long field. Adonus Lee really stepped up and gave us a big play, setting up the second touchdown. We were really able to capitalize on their mistakes very well.”

Defense ruled the third quarter, and a long series of running plays ran the clock quickly. In the fourth, John Trapp replaced Plante to do the heavy lifting. He acquitted himself well, carrying the ball a few yards at a time, giving Leveretter the opportunity to hit Willie McConnel in the end zone from 7 yards out, extending the Westwood lead to 27-0 with 9:26 left in the game.

Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Viking quarterback Ryan Lee fumbled on a keeper. The ball was recovered by Westwood’s Malik Horton deep in Viking territory. With what seemed to be an unassailable lead, Summers allowed some of the players who don’t get regular reps into the game. The results, however, didn’t change as Jalen Smith handed off to Rudy Mitchell who ran in 24 yards for a touchdown. The kick by Jonathon Dyarmett was good for the 34-0 final.

Any chance to avoid the shutout evaporated for Spring Valley when Kevin Owens’ pass was intercepted by Mark Mickens with seconds to go in the game.

“Hey, we told them going in that we were a better team that we showed last week,” Summers said. “We wanted to prove to everybody we could do it. Our offense sputtered a bit, but our defense played outstanding. Defense wins championships, and I hope ours leads us to Williams-Brice. We need to make a run at it and we are thinking we’re the number 4 seed, home field advantage is nice.”

Kickoff for Friday’s first round game is at 7:30 p.m. The Colleton County Cougars, who finished in fourth place in Region VIII, are coming off a 14-12 win at Bluffton on Oct. 31 – their first win since a 38-7 beating of South Aiken on Oct. 3.

 

WHS: 13-7-0-14 – 34

SVHS: 0-0-0-0 – 0

 

Scoring

First Quarter

WHS – Andrew Plante 1 run (Brandon Howard kick). 5:01.

WHS – A. Plante 1 run (kick blocked).

Second Quarter

WHS – A. Plante 10 run (B. Howard kick). 9:26.

Fourth Quarter

WHS – Willie McConnel 7 pass from Nick Leveretter (B. Howard kick). 4:19.

WHS – Rudy Mitchell 24 run (Jonathan Dyarmett kick). 2:49.

 

Team Stats

                                                SV                                           WHS

First Downs                        7                                              14

Rushes/Yards                    42-133                                   42-198

Passing Yards                     24                                           58

C-A-I                                      2-11-2                                   4-7-0

Fumbles/Lost                    2-1                                          1-0

Penalties/Yards                6-60                                       4-20

 

Individual Stats

RUSHING: SV – Ryan Lee 24-31, Alec Koon 9-30, Malik Norman 4-29, Kristion Glover 1-17, Kevin Owens 3-15, Kadarius Bunch 1-6, Bryson Jones 1-5. WHS – Andrew Plante 18-100, Nick Leveretter 16-56, Rudy Mitchell 1-24, John Trapp 6-19, Jalen Smith 1-(-1).

RECEIVING: SV – Jones 1-13, Kiyon Nelson 1-11. WHS – Adonus Lee 3-51, Willie McConnel 1-7.

PASSING: SV – Lee 2-10, 24 yards, INT; Kevin Owens 0-1, INT. WHS – Nick Leveretter 4-7, 58 yards, TD.

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