Doak senior night foe for Happy Valley

Photo By Kristen Luther
Greg Swafford makes a touchdown reception in Happy Valley’s game with South Greene.


  Seeing his group of senior players take the field for a last regular-season home game, against Chuckey-Doak, leaves Happy Valley head coach with bittersweet feelings.
   "It's always sad, although we still think we have some football left in us," said Ogg. "It's nice to honor these kids on their final home regular-season game. I think it's a special time to recognize the seniors. They are the lifeblood of the program."
  The Warriors have eight seniors on the 2004 roster. Jordy Harrison, Cane Cannon, Michael Hollifield, Michael Higgins, Brian Smithpeters, Casey Shatley, Brady Higgins and Brian Black.
  As with most schools, parents of HV's graduating seniors will go out on the field with their children during halftime.
  "It's nice to recognize them in front of all the crowd," said Ogg. "We always said how important it is for the parents to be supportive of the program. We try to do a little for them and more for them at the post-season banquet.
  "The parents of this year's group have done a good job molding these young men. They should be proud."
  As for the game itself, it looks to heavily favor the Warriors. Not only did they batter Chuckey-Doak 53-7 last season, but this year sport a 4-1 league record and 6-3 overall compared to the Knights at 1-4 and 3-6.
  Coach Ben Murphy's Black Knights do bring a lot of experience on the field, especially quarterback Nick Havers (602 rushing yards and 429 passing yards).
  Special teams star Wesley Claridy showed some speed while returning an 86-yard for a touchdown last Friday against Hampton.
  "They have some athletes, at quarterback and fullback (David Taylor) specifically," said Ogg. "We're playing a quarterback that is athletic as any we have played all year long. He does some good things with the football.
  "They run a double option and you have to play your assignments. They will spread people out and aren't afraid to throw it. If they didn't turn it over like crazy against Hampton, it could have been a close ball game."
  The scariest part of this pre-Halloween party for C-D has to be facing a Warrior team that has been at its peak against Watauga Conference foes.
  "We have played our best in conference games," said Ogg. "Even the one loss, we were only four points away against Gatlinburg. Obviously in the conference you want to finish as high as you can.
  "We fought back and put ourselves in the position to host the first round of the playoffs."
  The Warrior offense has been rolling behind tough rushing efforts by Hollifield (7.3 yards per carry, 9 touchdowns for the season) and fullback Will Lowe (6.7 yards per carry) in the last two contests.
  Black, who earlier in the year had a big game against Unicoi County, may also be called on running the football. Speed back Ryan Garland (553 yards) broke his collarbone against South Greene.
  The passing game could also be counted on for yards with quarterback Todd Caldwell (860 passing yards) finding key targets in wideouts Greg Swafford (20 catches), Drew Davis and Chris Rutledge, as well as tight end Jon Stamey.
  Happy Valley is coming off a string of three straight wins, the last one a 20-14 thriller over South Greene for second place in the league.
  "I think it was good to have the week off," said Ogg. "We needed a little rest. Playing that stretch of games from week three through nine was mentally taxing. It was good to finish like we did and to take a little break."
  Besides the rest, the week off had another benefit for the Warriors.
  "It allowed us to go back and work on some fundamentals," said Ogg. "You work on some things you haven't since preseason two-a-day drills. This week we went back and started preparing for Chuckey-Doak."
  The game is scheduled for Thursday night with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.