Happy Valley flattens Doak

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   Led by Tim Whaley's four touchdowns, Happy Valley rolled to a 41-16 homecoming win over Chuckey-Doak Friday night atop Warrior Hill.
   Whaley had 14 carries for 125 yards, leading the Warriors (4-2, 2-1) to the key Watauga Conference win.
   "Our line got people out of the way," said the junior tailback. "We just hit the seams as hard as we could and they made things happen. I'm a junior, but I feel like a senior. It feels great to win. Chuckey-Doak beat us two years ago for homecoming. We had to come out and whup 'em. We had to win. It was the seniors' last homecoming and we did what we had to do."
   It was another impressive win for the Warriors, who outgained the Black Knights in total offense, 299 yards to 161.
   "We played awful hard tonight," said HV head coach Stan Ogg. "We had two interceptions, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown. We didn't have the ball all that much on offense. But, we came to play tonight.
   "We had people in that backfield. Man, there were people chasing that ball, flying. It was homecoming and I think after being on the road three weeks, they were glad to be in their own dressing room and on their own field."
   They may have been glad to be back on the field, but some players may have been wondering if they would ever get to leave it. The pace of the game was slowed down by a combined 24 penalties among the two teams for 221 yards. In the first half alone, the yellow flag flew more times than at the last Winston Cup race at Bristol.
   Scoring got on track midway through the first quarter when freshman sensation Ryan Garland returned a punt 43 yards for a touchdown. Casey Shatley converted on the extra-point and the Warriors held a 7-0 lead.
   The HV defense kept up the pressure in the second quarter as James Matherly intercepted a Black Knight pass and returned it 30 yards. Turning to offense, a 28-yard pass play from quarterback Todd Caldwell to Garland set up a one-yard TD plunge by Whaley.
   The special teams unit was not to be outdone with a bad snap by C-D sailing into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Warriors' Andrew Bowman. That gave HV a 21-0 advantage as the teams headed into the locker room.
   "We've got bodies flying around the ball all the time in all phases," said Ogg. "We had people playing well on all sides of the ball. There were unbelievable blocks on punt returns. It wasn't just the 11 on defense, we were getting great efforts in all phases."
   More special teams highlights followed as Brandon Whitehead recovered an onside kick to start the second half. After Cody Cannon ran the ball up the middle, Whaley carried the ball three straight times, the last a 4-yard TD.
   Kenneth Campbell, Josh Smith and the rest of the boys on the defensive line shined on the next series, forcing the Black Knights to go four and out. The Warrior front was a dominant force, allowing just 15 rushing yards through the first two and a half quarters of play.
   "We knew we had to come out and work as a team," said senior lineman Campbell. "We knew we had to go out from the start and take it to them and that's what we did. After we did that, we took it to them the rest of the night.
   "I've been waiting for this for four years. You never imagine when you are a freshman how it's going to feel when you get to walk out on the field in front of everybody on homecoming night. It's a real special night."
   After getting possession of the ball, HV strung together an impressive 10-play, 63-yard drive. Matherly caught two passes for 44 yards on the drive, then Whaley crossed the goal line for a third time from 2 yards out.
   Chuckey-Doak responded with A.J. Pricenor taking the ensuing kick off and returning it 75 yards for a touchdown. He added a two-point conversion run for the Knights, making the score 34-8.
   "I think people are starting to understand A.J. is a big threat for us," stated C-D head coach Ben Murphy. "We try to get him the ball any way we can. That's (returning kicks) just one more way he can touch it and do good things with it.
   "I think we started to pack it in for the night, but that touchdown sparked us. We put some young players in about the middle of the third quarter and they provided a touchdown and we should have had another one. It was something we could build on, the young boys playing hard."
   After the Knights got the ball to start the fourth quarter, they threatened to close the gap even more with three straight completions and a 13-yard run by quarterback Chris Blevins. Whaley would have no part of it, intercepting a fourth pass by Blevins and running it back 86 yards untouched to the end zone.
   "I've had about four chances to return an interception this year," said Whaley. "This time, I just got it and took off. Bowman threw a great block and I just ran as hard as I could to the end zone. I hit the sideline and took off."
   Chuckey-Doak did get the game's final score after a four-yard run by Pricenor and a two-point run from Chris Lane.
   It did little to dampen the spirits atop Warrior Hill. At halftime, Amber Irick was crowned Homecoming Queen and the senior players were honored, adding to the festivities.
   Next week, Chuckey-Doak hopes to end their winless season as they face off with the Cosby Eagles. For Happy Valley, winners of their last three games, they will try to keep the momentum rolling against the Region 2 Rockwood Tigers, who pay a visit to Warrior Hill.