West Valley loves homecoming games.
The Eagles won their own homecoming last month, then threw a damper on Moscow’s. Friday night, they spoiled Cheney’s celebration with a hard-fought 17-14 Great Northern League win and drank in the postgame fireworks as a reward.
West Valley (4-3, 2-1) earned the win with some hard-nosed run defense that would occasionally bend, but did not break.
West Valley made several key defensive stands in the first half – denying the Blackhawks (5-2, 1-1) when they had a first-and-goal at the Eagles 9.
“Our run defense the last three games has been lights-out,” WV fullback/lineman Jace Malek said. “We stopped them three times inside our own 30-yard line in the first half, but stopping them inside the 10 was huge.”
That the teams went into the locker room locked in a scoreless game was cause for celebration for West Valley.
“Our guys were ecstatic at halftime,” West Valley coach Craig Whitney said. “They were all fired up for the second half.”
Cheney scored on the opening possession of the second half when Josh Martin found Keenan Williams alone in the end zone with a 10-yard touchdown pass, but West Valley’s Zach Herford answered that score by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.
Austin Lee got the WV offense churning out yards, driving 87 yards in 11 plays. He went in from the 3 for the go-ahead score.
“The field was playing a little sloppy and the footing wasn’t good,” Whitney said. “Austin is more of a four-wheel-drive kind of kid and he was able to run the ball. If you get us on a dry field, we have some Corvettes, but they couldn’t get started.”
Taylor Morton blocked a Cheney punt deep in the Blackhawks’ end of the field and the Eagles got the ball at the 25, then got a first-and-goal at the 8 when Cheney committed a personal foul.
Cruz Bale booted a 25-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 9 minutes left in the game.
Martin found Williams on the first play of the ensuing drive and the 255-pound tight end rumbled 65 yards for a touchdown, hurdling a defender at midfield.
The Blackhawks had three possessions, but the Eagles forced a punt and picked off a Martin pass at midfield to keep the Blackhawks penned in their own end of the field. On the third possession, time ran out.
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