South Greene came in looking to snap a three-season losing string against the Warriors, having dropped a 28-22 contest in 2015 before suffering a 69-6 loss in 2016. Last season, Happy Valley won 28-7.
Mission not accomplished as Happy Valley shut out the Rebels 21-0 to force a three-way share of the regional crown. South Greene (6-4, 3-1 conference) still owns the top seed, however, with Hampton second and Happy Valley third.
“Happy Valley just played better that we did tonight,” said Rebels head coach Scotty Verran. “They won the battle of the trenches offensively and defensively. We accomplished a lot this year but as always a loss leaves a bad taste in your mouth — but we have a home game next week and it's a whole new season.”
The Warriors (5-5, 4-1) lined up with senior Dakota Cochran at quarterback and he punctuated Happy Valley's first drive with a 24-yard gallop for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Both teams moved the ball well but Happy Valley saw one drive end on a lateral pass recovered by the Rebels senior defensive back Damien Starnes.
For its part, South Greene had its first drive end on a fourth-down sack from Happy Valley LB Luke Naylor. The Rebels’ second drive also ended on downs at the Warriors 4-yard line and Cochran had an interception on South Greene's next drive.
The Rebels’ next march ended on downs at the Happy Valley 6. In the half, South Greene totaled 131 yards of offense with just 15 coming through the air as junior quarterback Levi Myers was just 1-for-6 passing with one pick.
The Warriors had 112 yards of offense in the first half with 36 coming through the air as Cochran completed 2 of 5 passes.
The third period opened with a light misty rain and the Rebels were unable to do anything on their first drive, then the Warriors took over at the South Greene 48 after a shanked punt. From there, Happy Valley scored on a seven-play drive that ended with junior running back Jordan Campbell scoring from 9 yards out, making it a 14-0 game after Michael Harrah’s second extra point.
Another interception from Happy Valley — this by Blake Young — with a 22-yard return and a 15-yard penalty tacked on gave the Warriors the ball at the 9 — and Cochran scored from there on the first play.
South Greene drove to the Happy Valley 5 before a sack from Cochran and a fourth-down incompletion from freshman quarterback Luke Myers ended the drive. Happy Valley will travel to Oneida next Friday in the opening round of the Class 2-A playoffs.
“We were able to get a 1-2 punch tonight,” Warriors head coach Jason Jarrett said. “That's a credit to the guys up front opening up the holes. We had Dakota, Will and Jordan each running well and they got some positive runs — and it was a team effort. I want to say a few words about my coaching staff and the great job they do getting this team ready to play.”