Panthers tamed by Warriors
Caldwell, Hollfield lead 41-0 HV rout
ARTHUR--After three straight losses, no team in the Watauga Conference needed a win Friday night as badly as Happy Valley. No single player needed a good effort like quarterback Todd Caldwell.
Both the player and the team answered the call. Caldwell completed 10-of-17 passes for 185 yards, leading the Warriors to a 41-0 rout of homestanding Cumberland Gap.
"I'd been throwing a few picks and I felt like I had to come out and show my team I could still do the things here and there," said Caldwell, referring to the stretch of team and personal struggles. "That was the main thing I tried to do tonight, come out and do the little things.
"You can't get down on yourself. That was all in the past. You have to look ahead. We have to win out in the conference. That's something we have in our minds we want to do. That was win number one and we wanted to get it."
When Caldwell wasn't moving the Warrior offense downfield through the air, Michael Hollifield was gaining steam on the ground with 17 rushes for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
"I was just working on getting my ankle back so I could play the last few conference games," said Hollifield. "I was just getting the ankle where I could make some good cuts and stuff. This was a good team to do it against."
All total the Warriors amassed 462 offensive yards.
The HV defense keeping the Panthers out of the end zone was equally impressive. Leading the way was Cane Cannon with a game high four sacks.
"It was a good night -- we played well and executed," said HV head coach Stan Ogg. "We didn't have any quick strikes. We took time with most of our drives. I thought offensively we had the ball a lot more in time of possession. We kept the ball away from them, which is good.
"You don't want your defense out there playing against that all night. They are difficult to prepare for. They give you a lot of looks offensively."
Happy Valley first got on the board on a 62-yard drive that had three runs by Hollifield and three by Will Lowe. A good block by Chris Rutledge on the outside freed up Hollifield on a 19-yard TD run at 5:37 of the first quarter.
The Warriors started a long scoring drive toward the end of the first quarter that took 12 plays. Caldwell completed two passes to tight end Jon Stamey before keeping the ball himself on a 2-yard run for a 12-0 lead.
"Todd played well and directed what we were trying to do very well," said Ogg. "Our coaches used a lot of people running the football and we used a lot of different formations moving the offensive linemen around."
Cumberland Gap threatened at the end of the half with a drive that worked from its own 27 to the HV 4.
Drew Davis recovered a fumble with 2:15 left on the clock. Then came the most impressive drive of the night as the Warriors drove 93 yards in a minute and a half.
Once at midfield, Greg Swafford caught a 40-yard pass from Caldwell setting up a Hollifield 8-yard td run. Ryan Garland's two-point conversion run made it 20-0 at the half.
About the two-minute offense, Ogg said: "I thought our players and coaches did a nice job when we needed to kill the clock. We got the Big Ben play, we got it on the sidelines, got the first downs. We came 93 yards out of that. That's a good credit to the players.
"We try, but you don't get to practice a ton of two-minute offense. They did a nice job."
The Panthers never recovered from the turnaround.
"It should have been 12-7, at worse, at the half," said C-Gap coach DeLynn Cline. "Things go differently mentally and emotionally. We just did not show up in the second half. We have to learn to play every play, every game.
"We executed well at times, but we have to learn to finish drives. We would get them in third and long and give up big plays. If we make plays early in the game, there for the making, it's a whole new ballgame."
HV opened the second half with a 69-yard td drive. Caldwell had two long pass plays, a 36-yard screen play to Lowe and a 37-yard touchdown strike to Davis.
On the next possession, the Panthers moved the ball deep into Warrior territory before Cannon and Logan Birchfield combined on a sack of Panther QB Ryan Hoskins that ended the scoring threat.
HV added one more touchdown in the third quarter, a 23-yard run by Hollifield running through a hole opened up by tackle Jordy Harrison.
C-Gap had a glimmer of hope when Zeth Clemons made 52-yard kickoff return. HV placekicker Casey Shatley made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 25.
Although the Panthers made it inside the Warrior 10, they weren't able to score. Happy Valley added the final touchdown on a 25-yard speed burst from reserve tailback Francisco Borquez.
Hoskins connected on 12-of-25 passes for 146 yards to lead Cumberland Gap's offense. Clemons was his favorite target with five catches for 51 yards.
Teammate Jeremy Mize made 47 yards on two catches.
HV's Swafford also had 51 yards on four receptions, while Davis had three catches for 62 yards and Stamey made three grabs for 38 yards.
Besides Hollifield, Lowe with 40 yards, Borquez with 35 yards and Garland with 31 yards led the HV rushing attack. Brad Beason led Cumberland Gap's efforts with 11 rushes for 31 yards.
Davis and Daniel Shankle each had made picks for the Warrior defense. Cumberland Gap (1-2, 2-4) plays cross-state rival Thomas Walker (Va.) Friday night. After four straight road games, the Warriors (2-1, 4-3) return home with a visit from Hampton.