Happy Valley’s proved to be just a little more solid on Friday night when the Warriors fought back the Falcons 20-12.
Happy Valley running back Phillip Garland made his way through the Volunteer defense for 208 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on runs of 51 and 40 yards.
“It has been a rough couple weeks preparing for Volunteer because they do so many things on offense,” said Warriors coach Larry Shively. “We made a lot of typical mistakes that you make in Week 1, but I couldn’t be prouder of our coaches and kids.”
Happy Valley opened the contest with a surprise: an onside kick, quickly recovered by the Warriors. It went for naught, however. They fumbled on the second play from scrimmage.
Volunteer’s Alec Bolton pounced on the loose ball, the first of his two recoveries on the evening.
Six plays later, Casey Price dived in from the 2-yard line and, following the failed point-after attempt, the Falcons led 6-0.
Price carried the load for Volunteer, scrapping for 93 yards on 18 carries.
Garland put Happy Valley in the lead minutes later with his 51-yard scamper and the addition of a William Luster extra point.
The Warriors’ second score came just before the half. Garland fumbled entering the end zone on a 10-yard run, but teammate Austin Hicks recovered for the score and a 13-6 Happy Valley lead after two quarters.
After a 35-yard kickoff return to open the second half, Garland added his 40-yard score on the first play of the third quarter.
“We have two good running backs. We came over here to run the ball and play good defense,” Shively said. “Last year we threw too much, and we made a commitment in the offseason to get back to our roots.”
Hicks, just a freshman, tallied 45 rushing yards on nine carries.
The Falcons mounted their final drive with just over two minutes to play and, behind the moves of quarterback Matt Reed, made it into the end zone.
Reed gained 53 yards on the final drive, including a 14-yard run on which he fumbled as he entered the end zone. Falcons running back Tanner Dixon jumped on the loose ball for the final score.
A weakness in the passing game showed for the Falcons, who were 0-for-11 on attempts in the second half.
“We got the fumble early and took it down and punched it in and had the momentum,” said Volunteer coach Scott Rider. “We had the chance to put them in a hole and let them off the hook.
“But I couldn’t be prouder of our kids. They fought hard.”
Volunteer hosts Sullivan North next Friday.