West Valley quarterback Drew Clausen performed like a magician in the first half and the Eagles’ defense had the Midas touch.
Combined, they made for a Friday night fairy tale first half and happy ending, beating visiting Clarkston in football for the first time in more than a decade, 24-6.
It was one of several interesting outcomes during the first full Great Northern League week.
Pullman, winless in three non-league games, rallied to win in Colville 28-21. Improved Medical Lake gave Cheney all it could handle before losing at home 14-13. Deer Park remained unbeaten, winning 35-0 at Riverside.
Clausen made Bantams disappear with his sleight-of-feet, scrambling out of danger to keep drives alive as WV scored all its points in the first half.
The Eagles’ defense allowed plenty of yards, but were golden when it came to denying points. An interception stopped Clarkston’s first foray into the red zone. On another, they forced a field goal and blocked it.
In the third quarter, WV held the Bantams on fourth-and-2 at the 5-yard line. Even when the visitors scored, it took nearly three minutes from 35-yards out, including four cracks beginning at the 2-yard-line.
The coup de grace was Clausen’s interception on Clarkston’s final series with 2:47 to play.
“They had some big plays, but nothing in the end zone, which is what counts,” coach Craig Whitney said of WV’s 4-0 start. “That’s kind of our motto – keep it in front of you and limit big plays.”
Clarkston outgained WV, 303 yards on 53 plays to 264 on 48 for the Eagles, who pulled in their offensive horns the second half.
Bantams quarterback, junior Brady Arnone, completed 21 of 30 passes for 215 yards. But Clausen’s dimension, the ability to scramble out of seemingly impossible pressure situations with his quickness, made a huge difference.
Once, he dropped back, then took off, cut back and ran 32 yards to set up a field goal to cap a near 6-minute drive.
Three times, his shuffle passes to Sam Schoessler kept things going, one for 32 yards that resulted in a 10-0 lead. WV recovered the ensuing fumbled pooch kickoff, and two minutes later it was 17-0. Clausen, who was 7 of 9 for 115 yards in the first half, capped things with a 30-yard pass to Ryan Dahlstrom for the final points with less than a minute left before the half.
“That’s Drew,” Whitney said. “It’s kind of what he does. He’s multidimensional.”
WV’s last win against Clarkston was in 1998. This one gives the Eagles a leg up, but as the first full night of league play showed, anything can happen.
“It’s a good league,” Whitney said. “Our goal is to get better each week.”
At Colville, Brendan Barrington had TD catches of 44 and 35 yards from Cody Peterson as the Greyhounds (1-3, 1-0) rallied past the Indians (2-2, 0-1). Blake Sjordal scored on a 45-yard run, but was stopped on fourth-and-1 with Colville driving late. He also had 16 tackles. … At Medical Lake (2-2, 0-1), DeAngelo Jones’ second TD pass, 21 yards in the fourth quarter to Daniel Igbinoba, saved the Blackhawks (2-2, 1-0). … Tevin Heins scored three times, including runs of 76 and 43 yards, and finished with 185 yards in Deer Park’s (4-0, 1-0) shutout of Riverside (2-2, 0-2). Alex Wolf added 89 yards and two TDs.
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