Halloween finale awaits Happy Valley, Doak

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR STAFF
jbirchfield@starhq.com
It's no trick. Happy Valley fans will be treated to a Halloween night regular season finale at Chuckey-Doak on Friday.
"We had a whole week to give the players some extra rest and well deserved time off before getting focused more on Chuckey-Doak," said Happy Valley head coach Stan Ogg, whose team is coming off a bye week. "We came back and had some good practices."
The extra week gave Happy Valley a chance to heal some injuries. Brandon Whitehead will be seeing his first action since suffering a concussion in the Cumberland Gap game, while Ryan Garland returns after breaking his arm in the Elizabethton game.
"It was good that we were able to heal some people in addition to getting in the extra practice time," said Ogg. "We should have some players back this week that should help our team this time of year.
"We've had injury problems this year, but our players have done a good job having somebody step in and play well. Even if it's been a half a game, a whole game or one drive, we've had different players stepping up."
The Black Knights started the season by losing their first six games, but have won two of their last three contests.
"We've played well the last few weeks," said C-D head coach Ben Murphy. "Sometimes we're a little outmanned on the offensive line and that shows when we play a team bigger than us. We played hard last week against Hampton, but they overwhelmed us."
Hampton is one of several common opponents both teams have faced. Both C-D and HV scored wins over West Greene, but the Warriors have beaten Unicoi County, South Greene, North Greene and Cumberland Gap, all teams that topped the Black Knights.
However, the Knights have made steady progress since week one.
"We have cut down on penalties and making mistakes since the first of the season," said Murphy. "When you start out like we did, you have to keep your heads down and keep working at it. We've been playing a lot of young boys. We've got the program in place, where we feel in a couple of years we can compete with teams week in and week out."
Happy Valley (4-1, 8-1) has already wrapped up second place in the Watauga Conference. Still, no one on Warrior Hill is overlooking Chuckey-Doak, who stand 1-4 in league play and 2-7 overall.
The Black Knights are good at skill positions with quarterback Nick Havers and running back A.J. Pricenor. They also feature Chris Blevins, a talented athlete who has lined up at several spots, and a tough lineman in senior Dylan Brown.
On defense, Chuckey-Doak will be face Happy Valley's all-star line that consists of tackles Jordy Harrison and Josh Smith, guards Austin Shell and Daniel Dover and center Cane Cannon.
The Warriors are sure to give them a big dose of the league's second leading rusher and scorer Tim Whaley, who needs 184 yards to break the 1000-yard barrier.
When you factor in the play of quarterback Todd Caldwell, linebacker Will Lowe, receivers Greg Swafford, Drew Davis and several others, the Warriors could be considered the favorite in the contest.
"This has been a special group of players," said Ogg. "They have been a fun group to be around. They work very hard and the coaches have spent time preparing them all the way from our conditioning program to now. They have taken a young team and introduced them to new schemes.
"I can say for myself that I have enjoyed being around it. They have a believe about themselves. That's something as a coach you always try to talk about, but it just has to be there."