Tailback duo leads HV over North Greene


star staff


  Like a left jab, right cross combo, Michael Hollifield and Ryan Garland provided Happy Valley with the perfect 1-2 punch Friday night.
  Hollifield carried the ball nine times for 140 yards and a touchdown, while Garland had five rushes for 134 yards and two touchdowns leading the Warriors to a 53-19 win over North Greene Friday night.
  "Michael had an amazing game, he set the momentum early on," said Garland. "Cane (Cannon), Jordy (Harrison) and the boys on the line did a great job opening holes up. I was really wanting this game since my season was cut short last year with a broken arm.
  "The one-two combo is working great for us. He is getting the tough yards and I'm getting the speed yards. Todd (Caldwell) did a good job with the passing offense. Everything is going great, but we have a lot of work to do. We can't go out of here with big heads."
  After a Brian Black interception gave Happy Valley early possession in North Greene territory, Hollifield gained 25 yards on the team's first offensive play to set the game's tempo.
  "I think that really stepped the team up," said Hollifield. "I'm not pleased though. I think we can play even better."
  Just four plays later, Happy Valley scored its first touchdown of the night, when Caldwell scrambled out of trouble and hooked up with Chris Rutledge on a 26-yard touchdown strike.
  A second Warrior touchdown came on the next possession. A 21-yard run by Garland preceded a 19-yard run by Hollifield to make the score 13-0.
  The lead was up to 20-0 after Garland's speed was showcased on a 50-yard run to the outside. A 14-yard scoring pass from Caldwell to Drew Davis pushed the lead to 27-0 at the half.
  HV's Caldwell scored next on the opening possession of the third quarter. His quarterback keeper from three yards out capped off a 73-yard scoring drive that was highlighted by a Hollifield 45-yard run.
  North Greene gamely came back with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Dusty Neal to Cory Cutshall. However, all remaining hope of a winning debut for new Husky coach James Rosenbalm was crushed only a few ticks of the clock later. Davis took a quick horizontal pass from Caldwell and turned it upfield for a 66-yard score.
  Both Caldwell and Davis had stellar performances. Caldwell passed for 116 yards and three touchdowns. Davis had an interception on defense off a pass deflected by Black to go along with his two offensive touchdowns and 80 receiving yards.
  Toward the end of three quarters, another explosive breakaway sprint by Garland, this one for 42 yards, made the score 47-6.
  After Matthew Ormsbee ran in from two yards out for the Huskies to open the final quarter, Jesse Richardson became the fourth HV back to cross the goal line with a six-yard touchdown charge. He and Francisco Borquez alternated on 10 carries for a sixty-five yard drive.
  The game's final points came courtesy of Ormsbee on a second two-yard td run.
  All total, the Warrior offense racked up a total of 475 yards including 359 yards on the ground.
  "From a standpoint of us moving the football and running hard, it was a big thing," said Warrior head coach Stan Ogg about the season opening win and his 50th overall at Happy Valley. "Our running backs ran well tonight. Offensively we looked pretty good.
  "Our intensity on defense was really good. We had a good night other than a few little things, but it's early in the season. The main thing is to just get better."
  While the Warriors kept pressure on Husky quarterback Neal all game, they weren't able to sack him. The nimble signal caller shook loose from the defense enough to complete seven passes for 179 yards. The receiver of choice was Cutshall, who had 102 yards on four catches.
  "He was able to throw the ball even though he got hurt early," said Rosenbalm about Neal. "We have to get better blocking, but we have sophomores and juniors who have never played there. Once the boys mature a little bit and we get some better blocking out of them, maybe we can win six or seven of these.
  "The positive side is Dusty Neal can carry this team. Dusty is an amazing athlete, maybe the best I've ever coached. He can play any position on the team. He doesn't look that strong, but when he shakes your hand, it's like a vise-grip. He can manhandle about any tight end or linebacker out there."
  Frequently used on the quarterback keeper, Neal wound up as North Greene's leading rusher with 19 carries for 91 yards.
  "If we just have some more blocking, we could do a lot better," said Neal. "Hopefully things will go a little more our way in the future. If I can get enough time to throw and get my receivers open, I can get the ball to them. I want to see what we do next Thursday against Chuckey-Doak."
  Happy Valley, which averaged 11.2 yards per rush, returns to action next Friday night in Erwin. They will oppose a rival Unicoi County squad coached by former Warrior assistant Drew Pettit.