Warriors have little trouble with 'Dogs


Photo by Dave Boyd
Happy Valley receiver Greg Swafford makes a 17-yard touchdown catch as HamptonÕs Mitchell Morton closes in.

By Jamie Combs
SPORTS EDITOR
jcombs@starhq.com
Happy Valley was more fired up than a preacher in an old-fashioned tent revival. Hampton was more low key than a group of female senior citizens in a quilting bee. The final score reflected the difference in demeanors.
Turning what was supposed to be a Watauga Conference thriller into a one-sided affair, the Warriors defeated the Bulldogs 35-8 on Friday night at J.C. Campbell Stadium and spoiled Hampton's homecoming in the process.
"Simply put, we played awfully well," said Warrior coach Stan Ogg after his team snapped a three-game losing streak to Hampton and set itself up for a probable first-round home playoff game. "We stepped up when we had to."
Improving to 3-1 in the conference and 7-1 overall, the second-place Warriors got big plays early from Drew Davis, 101 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries from Tim Whaley, and a three-TD performance from quarterback Todd Caldwell (two passing, one rushing).
Moreover, Happy Valley held the 'Dogs, now 1-2 and 3-4, to 118 yards of offense.
"That was just a good, old-fashioned butt kicking from the word go," said Hampton coach J.C. Campbell.
"The team wasn't ready to play. You can't play homecoming on a night you've got a competitive game for these boys. They had a lack of concentration or effort or something -- I don't know. It seems like they were in the twilight zone."
Davis pointed the Warriors in the right direction, blocking a punt, catching a touchdown pass and grabbing his league-leading seventh interception in the first quarter.
"It was just flowing," said Davis of his big-play act. "I was just trying to make things happen, keep our intensity level up and keep it flowing."
Davis' blocked punt -- his second in two weeks -- came at the end of Hampton's first possession, and Whaley scampered for a 19-yard touchdown on the next play. Casey Shatley's first of five extra-point kicks gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
"That's definitely a big play," Ogg said of Davis' block. "That set things up for us right there. When you can turn the field over with field position there, it's a big plus."
Campbell said the failed punt only hastened Hampton's demise.
"It didn't make a difference," he said. "We didn't block anybody, and we weren't going to. That just made it quicker."
Davis hauled in a 36-yard scoring toss from Caldwell the next time the Warriors got the ball, then picked off Hampton quarterback Mitchell Morton, who hadn't thrown an interception all season.
Able to put together a couple of good defensive series, Hampton looked as if it might keep Happy Valley off the scoreboard the rest of the half. The 'Dogs came close, but saw their efforts unravel on a 17-yard Caldwell-to-Greg Swafford scoring toss with 44 seconds to go in the second quarter.
"Offensively, I thought our coaches did a nice job of spreading them out and either throwing it or running it," Ogg said. "That's a credit to our offensive coaches."
The 'Dogs nearly answered the touchdown with one of their own before the half ended. Zack Crabtree, who let a probable TD reception slip from his hands in the first quarter, bounced back to snare a 41-yard throw from Morton, moving Hampton to the Happy Valley 21.
Two plays later, Morton found Cody Walsh in the end zone on a 10-yard completion, only to have the play wiped out by a penalty. Hampton had one more play from there, but a strong pass rush forced Morton to prematurely unload the ball, and Brian Black intercepted for Happy Valley, preserving a 21-0 Warrior lead.
Any comeback hopes Hampton may have had for the second half were basically wiped out when Whaley scored on a 1-yard plunge at the 6:18 mark of the third quarter, capping an 11-play, 58-yard Warrior drive.
A Swafford interception led to the final Happy Valley touchdown, which Caldwell collected with a 1-yard run on the next-to-last play from scrimmage in the third.
Sean Moody's fumble recovery at the Warrior 31 put Hampton in position to avert the shutout. A 22-yard pass from reserve QB Brandon Barnett to Cody Farmer got the ball inside the 10, and a Farmer 1-yard run accounted for the Bulldog TD with 1:01 remaining in the game.
Hampton added a two-point conversion on a pass from Barnett to Gene Sanchez.
"They came back on us and beat us by two touchdowns last year, and just whipped us," Ogg said of Hampton erasing a 20-8 deficit to beat the Warriors 34-20 last season. "I don't know how much motivation came from a year ago, but we just wanted to redeem ourselves and play well. Hampton flat outplayed us one year ago, and I think some of the kids have been looking forward to this, but this is the next game.
"That's eight games that we're showing up and we're giving it everything we've got."
The Warriors are certainly building up plenty of steam for the postseason.
"From the start (of the season) we just kept getting better and everybody was just feeling it," said Davis. "Everybody was doing their job, and kept making things better for everybody."
Davis, Will Lowe, Jordy Harrison, Michael Everhardt and Daniel Dover totaled six tackles apiece for the Warriors, with Dover recording a sack. Caldwell registered rock solid passing numbers, completing 5-of-10 attempts for 116 yards, and Swafford amassed 72 yards on three receptions.
Moody was the busiest man for the 'Dogs defensively, harvesting a game-high 15 tackles, and he was followed by Dustin Crumley and Jacob Moss with nine stops each.
Hampton's Justin Waycaster, playing with a bad shoulder, carried nine times for 47 yards.
"Happy Valley's a little better than I thought they would be, I guess," Campbell said. "But I thought we'd play a little, too, so I don't know. But they've got a good ball club. I don't want to take anything away from them -- they played well. I don't know if we can play any better or not. I thought we could. Maybe we can't."