CORNING — Top-seeded Southwest Valley found themselves on the wrong end of momentum-building plays throughout the second half, falling to Boyer Valley 44-25 in Eight-Man playoff action Wednesday night.
“I felt we did a lot of good things early,” said SWV head coach Kent Bass. “We had some breakdowns up front and didn’t make the right adjustments to start the second half.”
Boyer Valley’s Nathan Rudd took the first play from scrimmage in the second half all the way to cut into the Timberwolves’ halftime lead, 25-22.
“We have been a second-half team all season,” said Boyer Valley head coach Jay Petersen. “I wasn’t sure if that was going to work against a good team like Southwest Valley.”
Tyler Bissell forced a fumble and SWV recovered near midfield with 6:00 remaining in the third quarter. The Timberwolves drove down to the 5 yard line, but Boyer Valley’s Calvan Wood ended the scoring threat with an interception in the endzone.
Going into the fourth quarter, SWV held its 3-point lead and tried to drain time off the clock. On a run to the outside, senior quarterback Jordan Stuart took a hard hit from the Boyer Valley defense and was forced to leave the game.
“We didn’t really have a backup quarterback,” Bass said. “We could still run our base stuff, but it limited what we could do offensively.”
After forcing a SWV punt, Rudd stepped up for the Bulldogs with his third rushing touchdown to give Boyer Valley the lead, 28-25.
“Our yards are about 50/50 for running and passing,” Petersen said. “Sometimes we have to use the run to get the passing going, other times we use the passing to open up the run.”
Stuart came back in for the Timberwolves, but the Boyer Valley defense forced a quick three-and-out with only about 6:00 remaining.
Boyer Valley lost control of the football on an option play and Southwest Valley recovered, but the momentum was short lived as the Timberwolves returned the favor on the next play with a lost fumble of their own.
Bulldog quarterback Cody Thoreson connected with Reed Block on a third-and-long and after breaking a tackle, Block added some cushion to the Bulldog’s lead, 36-25.
With 2:36 remaining, SWV faced a fourth-and-9 and an 11-point deficit. Trying to keep the play alive, Stuart fumbled and Boyer Valley recovered and carried it in for another fourth quarter touchdown, 44-25.
The Timberwolves struck first on a run up the middle by Bissell, but failed to complete the 2-point conversion, 6-0.
Boyer Valley responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Thoreson to Block to move ahead 8-6.
“We had our hands full trying to figure out their run scheme,” said Petersen. “It was more about matching up with certain players and certain formations.”
Then it was SWV’s turn to utilize their offensive weapons in the passing game. Stuart targeted Nick Spring and Hunter Pontius for a total of three passing touchdowns late in the second quarter.
Pontius’ second touchdown grab came with just :07 remaining in the half to build the Timberwolve’s halftime lead, 25-14.
In their first year as a combined program, Corning and Villisca built a squad that finished 7-3 and earned the top seed in Eight-Man District 8.
Next season Bass and SWV will make the transition to 11-man football, but Bass said the mentality set by the first group of seniors will allow the program to continue to grow.
“They set the bar high,” Bass said. “I have to thank my seniors. In high school, we don’t have the luxury of recruiting, we have to find a scheme that fits the athletes we have. I am confident our coaching staff can do that.”