Warriors manhandle North Greene, 53-13

By Jeff Birchfield

   Piling up 455 yards of total offense, Happy Valley (5-4) manhandled North Greene (1-7) in a 53-13 Senior night win atop Warrior Hill.
   "It's a special time," said Warrior head coach Stan Ogg. "For the seniors, it's the culmination of four years. They've spent a lot of hard work. They know it's (the season) is not done yet, but it is the last regular season home game and this was a tribute to them."
   The first offensive snap provided a glimpse of what the evening would hold. HV junior defensive end Kenneth Campbell and senior end Jessee Bowers combined to sack North Greene quarterback Dustin Collins for a six-yard loss on the Huskies' first play from scrimmage.
   "We knew we had to go out and set the tone," said Campbell, nicknamed "Killer" for his ferocity on the field. "We had to come out there and play hard right off the bat. That's what we did, we set the tone right then and there.
   "It's mostly a credit to the inside people, the tackles and all doing their jobs. Everybody is just working together and we're doing good."
   Forcing the Huskies to punt, the Warriors received the ball and marched downfield on 54-yard drive, with senior fullback Stephen Thompson rushing for 47 of those yards. At 8:06 of the first quarter, Thompson started HV's offensive onslaught with a run from three yards out. Tim Whaley kicked the point after to put the Maroon and White ahead 7-0.
   North Greene's best moment of the night came two plays later, as Collins connected with split end Daniel Guinn on a 74-yard passing play to pull the Huskies within one. After the two-point conversion failed, the Warriors were only on top 7-6.
   "We came back real strong," remarked Husky coach Tim Bailey. "I was pleased with that. But, then we lost focus or something and they gained the momentum. After that, they took over physically and made us pay for it.
   "They're a real strong team. You can tell Happy Valley has been playing together a while."
   The Warriors began to reassert themselves on the next drive, ending with the first of quarterback Lamar Rollins' three touchdown passes. Rollins hooked up on a 16-yarder to senior Chris Campbell to give HV a 13-6 edge.
   On the next Happy Valley offensive series, Jason Tittle had two big plays, a 38-yard run and a 56-yard screen play for a touchdown called back due to penalties. After punting, the defense anchored by seniors John Hughes, Forrest Holt and Matt Walsh forced the Huskies to return the favor.
   Tittle refused to be denied the next time around. On the first offensive play, Tittle took a handoff 51 yards for a touchdown, thus giving the Warriors a 13-point lead.
   The margin continued to grow with Thompson's second touchdown run, a 4-yarder, before the last score of the half was a 35-yard strike from Rollins to Andy Bean.
   Ahead 33-6 at halftime, the Tribe stayed on the warpath early in the third quarter with Rollins hitting Jack Everhardt for a 19-yard touchdown pass. On the night, Rollins finished with 134 yards on 8-of-10 passing, with receivers Bean and Everhardt each catching their first touchdowns of the season.
   "It was nice, very nice, getting that first touchdown catch," said Everhardt. "We had good offensive blocking and Lamar threw a nice ball over center. We did a good job all the way around."
   Everhardt also made a key catch earlier in the game along the HV sidelines. "I caught that one right in front of my grandparents," explained No. 88. "They come up from Georgia and had a good time. I give that one to my grandparents and the one I scored the touchdown on to Daniel Back (a Warrior lineman who has missed playing his senior season due to injury)."
   Added Bean about the winning effort, "It was a great feeling. I had so much fun tonight. It was a great game. We're looking forward to next week, that's a big game. We will have to step it up against South Greene."
   The last of the senior class to get in on the scoring act was linebacker Andy Hilton, who intercepted a Collins pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown. On the night, Collins threw four picks with Jordan Fenner another 12th grader, Rollins and Ryan Toney getting the other take-aways.
   Toney, a freshman, was the last member of the Powder Branch-based tribe to hit paydirt, rambling in from 8 yards out at 2:45 of the third quarter. North Greene threatened to score, but Collins missed a 27-yard field goal and the Huskies trailed 53-6 as time was winding down.
   They did manage to put together one last drive with Thomas Ormsbee following a sweep outside for a 5-yard score. Collins booted the extra-point and the game ended at 53-13.
   Rushing leaders for the Warriors were Tittle with 77 yards on only three carries, Rollins and Thompson, each who had 64 yards, and Whaley with 55 yards. For the Huskies, Jamie Williams led the ground attack with 57 yards on 16 rushes. Guinn managed the most forward progress of any North Greene player with three catches for 78 yards and three kick returns for 42 yards.
   Happy Valley got big efforts on all fronts, including special teams, where senior Kaleb Kindle broke through with two key tackles to aid in the cause.
   North Greene will face Cosby in its own home regular season finale with a win insuring a berth in the Region 1-A playoffs. "We can match up with them," said Bailey about Cosby. "At least, we could have earlier in the year. Our team started out the season with 36 players and we're down to 21, because of injuries. It's been that type of year.
   "But, if we can get part of them back, we have a good chance to win that game. If we win that one, we will be the fourth place team out of our region in the playoffs."
   For Happy Valley, who has already secured a spot in postseason play, a trip to South Greene awaits, with a win meaning a share of the Region 1-2A title. "Next week is for the Watauga Conference championship," stated Ogg. "If we can find a way to win, it will probably mean a three-way tie with Hampton, South Greene and us. That's something we would like to have."