Warriors hold back Huskies

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   Happy Valley held back pass-happy North Greene to take a 40-18 non-conference win Thursday night atop Warrior Hill.
   The Warriors were led by the dynamic running back duo of Tim Whaley and Cody Cannon, with Whaley picking up 126 yards on 19 carries, while Cannon rushed 13 times for 109 yards.
   The game potentially could have been closer than the final margin as the Huskies failed to convert on one series from the one yard line and the Warriors made quick work right before the half, taking the ball downfield 62-yards in only 54 seconds.
   "That was the two-minute drill without throwing it," said HV head coach Stan Ogg. "But that was what we had to do. We had about three big runs. A lot of it was extra-effort runs. I know one run Cody should have only had about a one-yard gain and he got an 18-yard gain out of it. That was big to get us up two scores instead of one.
   "The kids did a good job managing the clock. We don't practice it a lot. Running it inside is not what you normally do in a two-minute offense. You usually have to throw it, but we had our quarterback Todd Caldwell out for observation at that point."
   Things looked easy for the Warriors on their first offensive possession, putting together a 7-play, 59-yard drive ending with a 16-yard run by James Matherly. Casey Shatley kicked the extra-point and Happy Valley had a 7-0 lead.
   It remained that way until the first play of the second quarter, when Whaley when in from five yards out to increase the margin to 13-0. North Greene hung tough and came back within a touchdown on a 70-yard drive that saw quarterback Dustin Collins complete five of seven passes.
   The last throw was an 18-yard scoring strike to receiver Allen Guinn.
   With only 1:02 left before the half, the Warriors then put together the aforementioned drive that culminated with a three-yard pass from tailback Whaley back to quarterback Lamar Rollins.
   For Rollins, whose senior season has been beset with injuries, it was a moment he could cherish. "It was good to be out there," said Rollins. "I'm tired of being on the sidelines in my street clothes. I liked getting out there with my teammates.
   "That play really wasn't designed for me. Whaley was either supposed to throw it to James (Matherly) or throw it out of bounds, but he threw over to me. I thought their defender was going to tip it, but he came up short a little bit."
   With the score 20-6 in the second half, North Greene marched downfield before their drive stalled at the Warrior 23. Going for a fake punt on fourth down, the Huskies were burned when Cannon intercepted a pass from NG's Blair Platt and raced 62 yards for a touchdown.
   Another turnover on the next possession enabled the Warriors to have the ball back in Husky territory. They took advantage of the gift with Whaley sprinting on a 30-yard run to paydirt and a 33-6 Warrior lead.
   North Greene never did give up as Collins threw another TD before the third quarter ended. The final quarter saw the Huskies fail to close the margin after mishandling a snap on the Warrior one-yard line.
   After Happy Valley put a final touchdown on the board courtesy of freshman Ryan Garland from one yard out, Collins matched it with North Greene's final score.
   Overall, Collins had a big night, connecting on 14 of 26 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
   "Happy Valley is just a lot deeper than us," said Husky coach Tim Bailey. "Eventually trying to tackle those big old backs in the third and fourth quarter takes a toll on you. But, our guys put together a good effort being outmanned.
   "Collins is starting to come on here right near the end of the season. We knew they were going to key on our tailback so we spread it out with a little shotgun and it made the running easier later on. You have to give our offensive line credit. They hung in there and fought, despite being outmanned. When they gave Dustin time to throw it, he hit his targets. We just have to get together Monday and put this loss behind us."
   Besides Collins zipping the ball downfield, it was a big night for Husky tailback Thomas Ormsbee, who rushed for 110 yards on 16 carries. With that effort, he became the first North Greene back since 1978 to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
   The overall offensive production from both teams was quite impressive. The Huskies used a balanced attack to chalk up 280 yards, while the Warriors relied on a heavily run-laden counterattack that put up 303 overall yards.
   One player, who did manage to slow down the offensive barrage, was HV junior linebacker Chris Dove. Dove registered a couple of spectacular hits, one a big momentum play on the special teams unit.
   "It was all just teamwork," stated Dove. "Everybody was getting down and I had to step up. Somebody had to do the hitting. Everybody has been getting hurt here lately. They didn't expect a second stringer to come in and do the job. I missed a blocking assignment on that special teams play, but then I hit him. It was pretty nice. I loved it.
   "I've did alright before, but tonight I felt like I had to step up. My buddy Bobo (Andrew Bowman) got hurt and I thought I had to take up for him."
   Said coach Ogg about Dove's breakout performance, "I heard the special teams pop and I saw the defensive play where he came into the backfield. Chris has got a lot of potential and a lot of talent. He just has to understand what the coaches are telling him. He's built for this game."
   Both teams have big regional games coming up. The Huskies will host Cosby next Friday night with a win assuring them first back-to-back playoff appearances in school history. The Warriors, already in post season play, can secure home field advantage in the first round with a win over South Greene.