Blake Transue took two snaps at quarterback last year.
One wouldn’t have known that by watching the West Valley senior’s debut Thursday.
Transue threw for 195 yards and rushed for 102, accounting for the Eagles’ five touchdowns, as West Valley romped past the Shadle Park Highlanders 38-20 in a season opener at Albi Stadium.
There might not be anything flashy with WV, but what’s not to like about a lunch-pail approach.
At the forefront of the blue collar Eagles was Transue.
“I was really nervous before the game,” said the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Transue. “I just had to calm myself down and bite the bullet and do it. The first couple of runs I got stuffed but the line picked it up and got some openings for me.”
If Transue was nervous he didn’t show it.
WV coach Craig Whitney was impressed.
“What we love about Blake is he’s very athletic,” Whitney said. “He’s got to learn the position. He had a really good summer, as good a summer as he’s ever had. He was committed and worked hard for his teammates and it shows. He’s got a lot of confidence. But we’ve still got to do a lot of work with him.”
Transue is an example Whitney can get a lot of mileage out of coaches asking for commitment to a cause.
“He finally got in the weight room and it makes a difference,” Whitney said. “If you can handle some of our workouts you can handle some pounding out here.”
The play of the first half, though, was the last when kicker Chase Howat willed a 53-yard kick just over the crossbar to send the Eagles into halftime leading 24-13.
Transue completed his first seven passes, finshing the first two quarters hitting 8 of 11 for 146 yards. And he added 47 yards on 13 attempts, often laying the hit when contacted by a defender.
Shadle running back Xavier Wicks scored his second touchdown on the first play of the second period, increasing the Highlanders’ lead to 13-7.
It was all WV the rest of the half.
WV’s Alyjouah Rollins had two interceptions, the second of which set up a big TD before half when Transue scored from a yard out for a 21-13 lead.
The Highlanders pulled within 24-20 late in the third when quarterback Carson Doyle hit Xavier Atkins on a 22-yard TD connection.
But the Eagles finished down the stretch.
“First game, you try to figure out what your team is like and what you’re going to hang your hat on,” coach Whitney said. “I don’t know what we’re going to hang our hat on but we might hang it on effort – just being gritty and gutty.”
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