Warriors best West Greene

By Wes Holtsclaw

   MOSHEIM--It was an old fashioned 'slobberknocker.' Well, I'm sure that's how both teams felt Saturday morning after the Happy Valley Warriors and the West Greene Buffaloes took each other to the woodshed Friday night.
   However, it was a sense of unity for the Warriors, as the tribe clicked on all cylinders with a 28-21 comeback win in the plains of Greene County to climb up in the conference standings.
   "We had to just run tonight," said Warrior coach Stan Ogg. "We still went right at them, we got people to block and we played hard.
   "West Greene did some nice things and exploited us with the opening kickoff, we've gotta be better than that. It's no good to start the game off like that, but I'm proud of this team."
   Happy Valley pulled out some impressive defensive stops when they were needed in the second half. In other words, nobody looked better on the maroon front than a loose Cody Cannon.
   "It was a hard game," said Cody Cannon. "We've been down these past two weeks and I thought that was the way we were heading tonight. But we got in the locker room and then took it over. We played like we can in the second half."
   Cannon spearheaded a defensive attack on West Greene quarterback Josh Dearinger with a 12-tackle and three-sack performance. But you can't have good defense without some stunning offense.
   Despite going down twice in the contest with some severe cramps, Tim Whaley splashed big with 225 yards on 20 carries with a score for the Warriors, while Cannon contributed 19 for 120 yards with two scores of his own.
   "We knew what we had to do," said Tim Whaley. "We didn't do well in the first half, but we got pumped up and laid it to them. The line did awesome. If they block we will win."
   West Greene opened the game on fire with a 95-yard kickoff return for a score by Jake Schuck.
   Happy Valley struck back hard. Whaley, Cannon, and Lamar Rollins took turns running it downfield with some good spreads, before Cannon plunged up the middle with a 7-yard touchdown run. A Casey Shatley PAT gave the Warriors their first lead of the night at 7-6.
   The name of the game was defense in West Greene's first offensive set. The Warriors took advantage of some big penalties with some big hits, including the first sack from Cannon.
   After a Buffalo punt, Todd Caldwell aired a short pass to Andrew Bowman.
   Then the games began as Tim Whaley sprinted across the interstate into Bulls Gap with a 58-yard touchdown run. The PAT made it 14-6 Warriors.
   Wes Greene bounced back with some short runs from Bryan Sauceman. But it was the passing game that elevated the boys on this drive, as Josh Dearinger found Mike Franklin with a nice 14-yard touchdown throw.
   A two point conversion from Dearinger tied the contest at 14-all.
   The Buffaloes stalled the Warrior offense in the second quarter, but found a way to get past Happy Valley early. After some nice throws and rushing, Josh Dearinger scampered five yards with a score, a Justin Wheeler PAT gave West Greene the 21-14 lead going into the locker room.
   But once the second half hit, the game had Happy Valley written all over it. The Warriors came out on fire, and Tim Whaley took two good locks with 18 and 32-yard runs leading to a quick one yard keeper from Lamar Rollins to tie the contest.
   The defense responded with two straight decisive holds on the West Greene front, while the Happy Valley offense blasted it downfield again, leading to a Cannon 3-yard shot to reclaim the lead.
   Dearinger and West Greene made a valiant effort with three minutes remaining in the game, passing the ball downfield on the Warriors. But three straight incompletions, courtesy of the Valley secondary, gave the Warriors the 28-21 victory.
   It was an amazing performance by the Warriors' defensive and offensive line, with some serious backing from the secondary.
   Said lineman Jordy Harrison: "They were giving us good looks. Andrew (Bowman) and I were calling it out and we got them. We needed a win like that to get us rolling again, and I've got to give credit to the boys on the line: Cane Cannon, Josh Smith, Austin Shell, and Daniel Dover."
   "The backs ran hard, and the line blocked hard," said Andrew Bowman. "The linebackers just covered for us, and we hit as hard as we could in the second half."
   The Warriors respond next week with a big game against Johnson County, which is looking to avenge a loss from last season.
   If the Warriors perform like they did Friday night, it will take a lot to control them in the future.