That maxim held true on Friday night at Benny Compton Field as the Happy Valley Warriors recorded a key Region 1-2A road win against Sullivan North, 44-16.
“That was a complete football game,” said Warriors coach Jason Jarrett, whose team improved to 3-5 overall, 2-2 in the region. “That was the first times we’ve done it all year and I’m really proud of them. Our backs were against the wall coming in with only two wins. Our kids came out swinging and we played for one another. We played with a lot of pride.”
Four second-half turnovers doomed the hopes of the Golden Raiders (5-3, 1-3), who were down only 16-8 at the half.
Back-to-back fumble returns for touchdowns in the fourth quarter were the back-breakers for North as Josh Hyatt returned the first one 35 yards after a strip of Austin Adams. On the very next play from scrimmage, a bad snap by the Raiders at their 2-yard line was recovered in the end zone by Dylan McKeehan — and that gave the Warriors 44 unanswered points.
Happy Valley’s Dakota Cochran — taking snaps exclusively at quarterback for the first time this season — was a force for the Warrior offense as he finished his night with 167 total yards and four total touchdowns. He also caught a ball for a two-point conversion.
Cochran had 78 yards and a score on 4-for-8 passing — and ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards and three TDs.
Hyatt was a key performer for the Warriors as he had the receiving touchdown and a fumble return for a score.
Decimated by injuries, North started off well with the first points of the game on a 12-play, 71 yard drive. Zach Scott got the score, but it was all the home team would do on offense for quite a while.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, two more players in Yancey Dolen and Dylan Cole went down in the game and did not return. That makes seven of the top nine rushers from the beginning of the year that have/will miss time for the Raiders.
“I told the kids that I’ve never seen anything like it before and I’ve been around the game for a long time,” North head coach Preston Patrick said. “We got down into scoring position a couple of times and had some bad plays. It really snowballed on us with the turnovers.”
The last score for North came late in the fourth on a 34-yard touchdown run by Landon Roberts.
Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Pruitt went 4 for 7 for 67 yards and two interceptions that came on Happy Valley’s end of the field.
The Raiders finished with 257 yards of offense. Roberts was the leading rusher, getting two carries for 43 yards.
Sullivan North will host Sullivan East next in a non-conference rivalry matchup while Happy Valley will also be home, taking on West Greene.