Bengals get past Spring Valley, ready for 5A playoffs

BLYTHEWOOD – With the Region 3-5A championship already in its hands, the Blythewood football team faced an injured but testy Spring Valley team in the regular season finale Friday night.

Thanks to some mistakes that the Vikings capitalized on, the Bengals relied on placekicker Ryan Hart’s 35-yard field goal and the defense’s shutout effort in the second half close out a 16-13 victory at District Two Stadium.

“I’m kind of happy this happened,” head coach Jason Seidel said about the miscues. “Things didn’t go our way tonight but that’s how playoff games are going to be. We told the guys all week that this was going to be a close game.”

Blythewood (8-2, 5-0), which clinched the region title last week with a win at Rock Hill, plays host to Boiling Springs Friday. The Bulldogs are 2-8 and 0-4 in a tough Region 5 that includes defending 5A champion Gaffney as well as Spartanburg, Dorman, and Byrnes.

“That’s a good team. I told the kids they’re going to have a real tough one Friday,” Seidel said. “The upstate teams are pretty brutal. You’ve got to have your best game. Tonight we didn’t play great and we know that, but it’s nice to come away with a win and be undefeated at home. Now it’s a new season.”

Friday’s game opened with a bang, as Spring Valley’s Aden Jones tossed a lateral pass to Evan Javis on the fourth play from scrimmage. Javis went the rest of the way down the right sideline to complete a 70-yard touchdown pass play. Placekicker Garrick Edouard missed the point-after attempt.

Blythewood made it 7-6 after Drayden Young picked off a Jones pass and Harrison Collins closed out the ensuing drive with an 8-yard TD pass to Deon Tyler.

The Bengals took a 13-6 lead on Deandre Williams’ 5-yard score at the 3:53 mark of the second.

Spring Valley tied the game at 13 following a Blythewood special team’s gaffe.

The Bengals set up to punt, and the snap soared over Hart. Hart recovered the ball and with Spring Valley defenders in hot pursuit, he kicked it to the back of his end zone for a supposed safety.

Instead of awarding the two points, the officials flagged Hart for an illegal kick and placed the ball at the 1-yard line.
From there Javis and his offensive line pushed through for the score. Edouard’s point after tied the game.

The teams exchanged turnovers in the final seconds—Spring Valley’s Jordan Chestnut’s pick and Blythewood’s Edward Robinson’s fumble recovery—and the teams went to the locker room with the stalemate.

Once Hart made good on his field goal that proved to be the game-winner, the Blythewood defense settled in and forced three punts and a turnover on downs. The Bengals held the Vikings to 159 yards of total offense, including Spring Valley’s 70-yard touchdown pass play on the fifth play of the game.

Two mistakes undercut Blythewood’s momentum on both sides of the football.

On offense, Blythewood had driven consistently using the second-half running of Zahir Jones. Jones had 89 yards on 10 carries in the second half, but his 15-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter was called back because of a hold.

That score would have put the Bengals up by two possessions, but instead the Spring Valley defense forced them to turn the ball over on downs at the Spring Valley 9.

That led to the Bengals’ defensive error.

Blythewood shut down Spring Valley on that possession and forced the Vikings to punt at their own 7-yard line.

Edouard stood deep in his end zone and called for the snap, which was low. The crafty Edouard scooped the ball and delivered a quick low-altitude kick that buzzed passed the line of scrimmage. The ball touched a Blythewood player who was unaware the ball was near.

Spring Valley players knew where the ball was, and pounced on it to set up a first-and-10 at the Vikings’ 23.

The Vikings moved the ball as far as the Blythewood 20-yard line and threatened a go-ahead touchdown.

There, the Bengals defense redeemed themselves, with Tykese Ashford sacking Jones on third-and-17, and Jones throwing an incomplete pass on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs.

“We missed on some opportunities too. We had some dropped passes on that last drive,” Spring Valley head coach Robin Bacon said. “If we complete those passes, we’ve got a chance to at least kick a field goal or score a touchdown.”

With 2:49 left in the game by the time Blythewood got the ball back, the Bengals’ offense took the field once last time and ran out the clock.

Spring Valley, which finished fourth in the region, plays Region 1’s J.L. Mann. The Patriots (6-4, 2-2) are coming off a 41-21 loss to Hillcrest.

The Vikings (4-6, 2-4) had clinched a playoff spot before the Blythewood game, and Bacon said he’s looking forward to seeing some players return after illness and injury.

“We have a lot of guys who were out with the flu and we had a couple of injuries that obviously hurt us,” Bacon said. “But I’m real proud of them. We start a lot of freshmen and sophomores, which I’ve never done before, but it’s good for the future. I feel good about next week though. We should be back to full health, something we haven’t been in the last five weeks.”

Spring Valley  – 6-7-0-0 — 13  

Blythewood – 7-6-3-0 — 16 

First Quarter  

S – Evan Javis 70 pass from Aden Jones (kick failed) 10:37

B – Deon Tyler 8 pass from Harrison Collins (Ryan Hart kick) :23 

Second Quarter  

B –  Deandre Williams 5 run (kick failed)

S –  Javis 1 run (Garrick Edouard kick) :44

Third Quarter  

B –  Hart 35 field goal 7:33

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