BLACKSVILLE — The prediction machine was a little confused Friday night at Clay-Battelle before its home game against Tygarts Valley.
The Cee-Bees were sporting a 2-1 record that included last week’s 28-18 road win over Valley-Wetzel. But the 1-2 Bulldogs’ lone win also came on the road — also at Valley-Wetzel — and by a more robust 33-8 score.
As it turned out, it would’ve been better to go with the road dog — make that road Bulldog — this time, as ultra-quick Tygarts Valley made a plethora of big plays to sprint past the Cee-Bees for a convincing 51-10 victory.
Clay-Battelle (2-2) couldn’t take advantage of great field position on their opening drive, but Noah Sollars pinned Tygarts Valley (2-2) deep with a nice punt downed at the 4-yard line, and when the C-B line stuffed two straight dive plays, it looked like potential points might come from the defense. But Bulldogs speedy running back Daniel White swept left, skirted the edge and sprinted all the way to paydirt for a shocking 99-yard score.
The kick was missed, and the Cee-Bees came right back, driving to the T.V. 34 before the drive stalled, and Sollars again punted well, stopping it dead at the 6. This time, the C-B defense did get the safety, Sean Hays wrapping up White in the end zone. After an exchange of punts, the home team finally converted a short field drive, their 39-yard, six-play go-ahead touchdown coming on Hays’ sweep left from the 3. When the two-point conversion pass from Levi Carrico to Nicholas Rose was successful, C-B had its first lead, 10-6 with nine seconds left in the quarter.
That lead would last just those nine ticks, and be their last of the game, as Caden Boggs returned the kickoff 77 yards for another stunning score and a 12-10 T.V. lead.
“We just did some good things on defense and offense and had some momentum,” C-B coach Ryan Wilson lamented after the game, “and then we give up a kickoff return score. Plays like that can just deflate you. They can be hard to recover from.”
Another big chance went awry for the Cee-Bees midway through the second quarter when Carrico’s long pass from his own end zone slipped through his receiver’s hands, forcing a punt. It took all of one play for White to sprint up the gut from the 34 to extend the advantage to 18-10.
It looked like the Bulldogs had blown the game open with 12 seconds left on a 55-yard reverse touchdown, but a personal foul crack back blocking penalty called it back. C-B safety Cadon Skavinsky’s interception and long return to the TV 20 gave the Cee-Bees one last shot at drawing closer, but Carrico’s pass fell just incomplete at the buzzer.
Things got worse for the Cee-Bees immediately in the second half, as White took the kickoff to the house from his own 25 to grow the lead to 15 points after just 13 seconds. And then it turned into the Caden Boggs Show, as he scored three times on runs of 5 and 65 yards as well as a pretty 26-yard post pattern reception from quarterback Joshua Bright. Late in the fourth, Bright tacked on a 13-yard running score in garbage time for the final score.
A disappointed Wilson talked execution following the loss.
“We knew exactly what they were gonna run, and we prepared all week for it, including their first touchdown run on the stretch play,” he said. “No surprises at all. They just executed much better than we did in all three phases. They had big plays on returns, on sweeps, on dive plays, and blew up a lot of our offense as well (C-B finished with zero net yards rushing on 30 carries), and it’s tough to win games giving up multiple, multiple big plays.
“We had our chances, too,” he continued, “but we didn’t take advantage. And that kickoff return to start the third quarter really put a hole in our sails. We’re pretty banged up right now, so we need to heal up, get back to work, and get ready to play hard next week.”
The Cee-Bees look to bounce back as they travel to Calhoun County to face the Red Devils at 7 p.m.