There was a grin on Thommy Price’s face that refused to dim.
The West Valley junior scored one of the most unusual touchdowns in the annals of Eagle football to tie a bow on a 28-14 Greater Spokane League 2A home win over Clarkston on a wet Friday night.
When their final drive bogged down on a holding penalty with just over 2 minutes left to play, the Eagles (4-3, 1-2) decided to attempt a 27-yard field goal to take a two-score lead.
“Thommy is one of our quarterbacks and he has great hands,” West Valley coach Craig Whitney said. “That’s why he’s our holder.”
Only this time, the hold didn’t quite work.
“When I got the ball, I put it on the tee and spun it (to get the laces out of the way),” Price said. “Except this time it spun right off the tee.”
With the ball on the ground, the kick went straight at a Clarkston defender, bounced off and wound up back in Price’s hands. The Bantams (4-1, 4-3), celebrating the turn of events, ran off the field and left the junior quarterback standing on the field with the tee in one hand and the football in the other.
“(WV players) were yelling at me to run and I just took off,” Price said. “I thought I was going to get a penalty because I was jumping up and down in the end zone carrying the ball and the tee.”
The suddenness of the final TD stood in stark contrast to the way the Eagles won the game.
On a rainy night that made the footing a bit tricky, West Valley found enough of it to its liking to put together two long drives on its first two possessions to build a 14-6 lead after two quarters.
The Eagles took the opening kick and drove 76 yards in 10 plays, all on the ground, to take a 7-0 lead on Jake Barker’s short run. Clarkston put together an 11-play drive, including a 26-yard dash around left end by Tiger Carringer that was called back for holding, but had to punt.
The Eagles then slow-marched 83 yards in 16 plays to go up 14-0.
Clarkston got on the board with just over 2 minutes left in the half when Carter Steinwand hit Nate Somers on a 5-yard slant, but the Bantams had a memorable moment in their kicking game.
On the snap, the Clarkston holder thought the play had been whistled dead and stood up. When he realized the play was still alive, he tried to put the ball on the kicking tee and was promptly leveled by an Eagles defender.
“We came out and really wanted to keep our offense on the field and keep their offense off the field,” Whitney said. “They can throw the ball really well. Our offensive line did a nice job controlling the line of scrimmage and that allowed us to control the clock.”
WV’s Raesean Eaton lofted a nice pass to Ethan Carrell, who was wide open at the 10 yard line, and the junior running back was able to walk into the end zone to make it 21-6 on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half.
WV defensive back Da’Marre Williams turned in a stellar performance, preventing a Clarkston touchdown in the second half with a huge open-field tackle, and consistently giving the Eagles good field position with his kick returns.
“He found out just before the game that his cousin, who lives out of town, had died,” Whitney said. “We gave him the option of sitting this one out, but he said he wanted to play and felt like his cousin would have wanted him to play. That was a young man coming up big on a very tough night.”
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