CAMPBELL – It wasn’t pretty, but the Valley Christian Eagles rebounded from a tough loss to Southern Local last week with a 19-0 win over the Wellsville Tigers at John Knapick Field on Saturday night.
With the Tigers and Eagles out of league title hopes, the game played the role of a playoff elimination game as both programs looked to land one of the last seeds in IT qualifying. With the win, the Eagles now appear to have a solid grip on 10th place in Joe Eitel’s latest IT poll. The top 16 teams advance to the playoffs.
“There were a lot of points with Valley Christian’s record,” Tigers coach Robert Ramsey said. âBut we dropped the ball tonight.
âWe got into this game and we looked at this (computer seeds). We had to get a win because we knew this was our chance to make the playoffs and get a home game. And that’s what we’ve done”, said Cameron Davenport, senior for the Eagles.
âThis is the conversation we had before the game. It’s a playoff game, “ Eagles coach Andy Hake added.
The game itself featured 11 fumbles, four that resulted in turnovers and 26 penalties. These errors kept the game from going, as both teams missed opportunities to score in the first half.
Valley would lead to the Tigers’ 3-yard line early in the second quarter, only to fumble for the ball in the end zone where Wellsville’s Valen Krzyston picked it up and returned it to the Tigers 17. The Tigers returned the favor on their next possession when they reached the Eagles 12 before two negative plays caused them to return the ball on the downs at 7:39 of the second quarter.
“We lost our center at the start of the second quarter and we had two young children fighting for us”, Tigers coach Robert Ramsey noted. “We made mistakes and Valley Christian took advantage of it.”
“We were really shooting each other in the foot” said Merlu. âMake mistakes and not in our defense. They were hanging on there even though we were shooting each other in attack. Really frustrating. It was one of the most frustrating halves I have ever experienced. “
The Tigers were also without running back Isaiah Greathouse for the game. The absence of another player who turned out to hurt the Tigers overnight.
The Eagles put in an impressive practice to start the second half as they ran for 75 yards in 14 games, eating up nearly seven and a half minutes from the time to score on a 4-yard rush from Cameron Davenport.
The Tigers would make their best threat in the ball game when they drove 57 yards to the Eagles’ 5-yard line with just over eight minutes to go. But a nasty blow to the head of quarterback Valen Krzyston resulted in Eagles clawing turnover Jon’Qual Pabellon at Eagles 24.
“It was a tough game, but we came out in the second half and handled things as a team,” he said. Sofa. âThe discussion was that we get together, work hard and play as a team. Do what you have to do. “
The Eagles would add two touchdowns late in the game to seal the victory. The first came with 2:13 to go when Tyree Washington scored on a 12-yard rush. Next, Jhordan Peete added a 28-yard run down the straight sideline to provide the final points of the game with just 1:26 to go.
âA lot of our kids have played hard and I’m proud of them. When you are in the red zone and you arrive empty, it’s difficult to win against a team like Valley Christian â, Ramsey said.
The Tigers are looking to end the 2021 season on a high note when they host the Leetonia Bears next Friday. The Eagles will be looking for that playoff spot next Friday when they visit the East Palestine Bulldogs.