LENOX — Southwest Valley spoiled Lenox’s homecoming here Friday night, as the Timberwolves ran all over the Tigers’ defense, and played hard, physical defense in a 47-16 win.
Southwest Valley held Lenox below 200 yards of total offense, and kept the Tiger rushing attack in check at just 158 yards — most of which came late in the game.
“I tell you what, our defense really bowed its neck tonight and played physical and played assignment football,” Southwest Valley head coach Kent Bass said. “We’re consistently getting better every week, and I think this was our best defensive effort we’ve had this year.”
The Timberwolves scored just 2:30 into the ballgame when Jordan Stuart found receiver Kallan Schmelzer wide open in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown score. Schmelzer made a diving catch in the end zone.
But, from that point on, it was Southwest Valley’s rushing attack that did the damage.
The Timberwolves racked up 369 rushing yards for the game, led by Tyler Bissell’s 165 yards and four touchdowns. Zach Barton added 77 yards, while Gunnar McCuen ran for 67 yards and Stuart ran for 58.
“Tyler Bissell had a huge night tonight,” Bass said. “Really, all three backs — Gunnar McCuen and Zach Barton — they run with a purpose. That’s what I love about them. They don’t shy away from contact, but they also do a great job of running to daylight and exploding through the hole.”
And that mentality of not shying away from contact was on full display Friday night, as the Southwest Valley runners trucked through Lenox defenders on multiple occasions.
Bass and Lenox head coach Allen Dukes agreed going into Friday’s game that one of the biggest keys would be the play on the lines, and which team could gain an advantage there.
“They controlled both sides of the line,” Dukes said. “That’s what we needed to do to have success.”
Lenox was also hurt by three turnovers, which Southwest Valley turned into 14 points.
“They’re a good ball team, but we killed ourselves,” Dukes said. “We turned the ball over and made a lot of stupid mistakes at crucial times. They played a hell of a ballgame, simple as that.”
For Lenox, Dustyn Rauch ran the ball 18 times for 107 yards and one touchdown with 6:57 left in the game. Quarterback Dustin Gordon picked up the other score for Lenox, on a 3-yard run with 1:31 to go.
Southwest Valley jumped out to a 22-0 lead after one quarter as Bissell scored a 27-yard touchdown just 39 seconds after Stuart had run the ball in for a score.
It looked as if the Timberwolves would take that 22-0 lead into the half, but a McCuen interception returned to the 10-yard line, set up another Bissell touchdown.
“One more score going into the half, knowing we’re going to play defense against a pretty good offense to start the second half,” Bass said. “It was huge to get that one last score and go into the locker room with as much momentum as possible.”
Bissell would add a 46-yard touchdown in the third quarter and a 30-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Defensively for the Timberwolves, Keegan Longabaugh led the way with 13 total tackles, including 10 solo tackles.
The Timberwolves, now 5-1 for the season and 4-1 in Eight-Man District 8, have a bye week this week, giving them a chance to rest up for a big non-district encounter with 5-0 Exira/EHK the following week.
Lenox drops to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the district. The Tigers host CAM (2-4 overall and 2-2 in District 8) this Friday in Lenox’s “Pink Out” game for cancer awareness.
“Our destiny is in our own hands,” Dukes said. “We can still make it into the playoffs, but we have to win one of the last two against CAM or Fremont-Mills. It’s up to these guys how bad they want to make the playoffs or not.”
Sidney and Fremont-Mills sit atop the district standings, both 3-0 in district play. The Cowboys travel to Fremont-Mills for an important district matchup on Friday.
Southwest Valley 47, Lenox 16
SWV 22 6 7 12 - 47
Lenox 0 0 0 16 - 16
SWV — Kallan Schmelzer 18 pass from Jordan Stuart (2-pt. successful), 9:30
SWV — Stuart 1 run (2-pt. failed), 1:46
SWV — Tyler Bissell 27 run (2-pt. successful), 1:07
SWV — Bissell 5 run (2-pt. failed), 2:00
SWV — Bissell 46 run (Ryan Carlson kick), 6:27
SWV — Gunnar McCuen 4 run (Kick failed), 11:55
L — Dustyn Rauch 20 run (2-pt. successful), 6:57
SWV — Bissell 30 run (Kick failed), 4:10
L — Dustin Gordon 3 run (2-pt. successful), 1:31
Rushing: SWV - Tyler Bissell 14-165, Zach Barton 10-77, Gunnar McCuen 14-67, Jordan Stuart 9-58, Jared Shires 1-1, Preston Fleharty 2-1. L - Dustyn Rauch 18-107, Frank Hoffman 9-52, Dustin Gordon 11-3.
Passing: SWV - Jordan Stuart 2-7-0 for 36 yards. L - Dustin Gordon 3-13-1 for 32 yards.
Receiving: SWV - Kallan Schmelzer 1-18, Zach Barton 1-18. L - Caleb Lange 2-26, Chase Maynes 1-6.
Tackles (solo-assists): SWV - Keegan Longabaugh (10-3), Clint Mullen (3-2), Gunnar McCuen (5-1), Kallan Schmelzer (4-1), Nick Spring (5-2), Scott Vanderhoof (7-1), Tyler Bissell (4-2), Zach Barton (5-2), Jerad Shires (2-1), Ryan Carlson (0-2). L - Frank Hoffman (6-7), Spencer Brown (6-5), Josh Mitchell (2-10), Todd Stoaks (2-6), Chase Maynes (2-6), Dustyn Rauch (2-5).
Fumble recoveries: SWV - Gunnar McCuen 1, Kallan Schmelzer 1.
Interceptions: SWV - Gunnar McCuen 1.