BLACKSVILLE — On an unseasonably warm, gorgeous night, perfectly made for football, Clay-Battelle hosted Conotton Valley (Ohio) with something quite a bit chillier in mind.
Everyone knows how the dish known as revenge is best served, right?
After all, it was just last year the Rockets beat the Cee-Bees to knock them out of the WVSSAC playoffs, and if that wasn’t incentive enough, CVHS was currently ranked No. 1 in the OVAC Class A standings. So it was particularly satisfying to the blue-clad home team, after a close-fought opening 24 minutes, Clay-Battelle broke the game wide open with three-straight touchdown drives and a late pick-6 to dismantle the Rockets 34-6.
In a lightning fast first half, both offenses were able to move the ball effectively, although red zone mistakes kept the scoring to a minimum. Conotton Valley (5-4) marched down the field on its opening drive, but a fumble at the C-B 13 (the first of five turnovers on the night) ended the threat. The Cee-Bees (2-1) then countered with a 16-play drive that got as far as 1st and goal from the 3-yard line, but a huge, 10-yard sack forced a failed 4th down pass and a turnover on downs. The C-B defense finally forced the game’s first punt early in the second quarter, and a second long, efficient drive from the Cee-Bees finally ended up in the end zone on a 1-yard sneak from sophomore quarterback Carson Shriver.
With 2:50 left on the first half clock, the Rockets engineered a clutch, 13-play, 67-yard drive to knot the score. After converting several key third downs, and with just 11 seconds left from the C-B 20, quarterback Ben Mauge connected on a perfect touch pass between two defensive backs to the back of the end zone to slot back Garson Imes, who wrestled the ball away and somehow got a foot down for the tying score.
With the score tied at 6-6, the Cee-Bees needed something good to happen to start the third quarter, and they got it. Shriver connected with wide receiver Cooper Watson on a 17-yard dig route along the right sidelines on a crucial third and 13 to keep the drive alive, and the dominant C-B offensive line and powerful lead blocking from missive fullback Daniel Gorbey allowed workhorse Shriver to grind out the go-ahead score on a 2-yard plunge. Moments later, the Rockets fumbled again on their own 41, and Shriver decided to go up top to Watson once more. The deep slant route pass led Watson perfectly, as the senior caught the tight spiral in stride at the 10, lowered his shoulder, and slid into the end zone for a back-breaking, 41-yard score to make it 22-6.
After driving into C-B territory in an attempt to get back into the game, yet another Rockets fumble was converted into a long, clock-eating touchdown drive by the Cee-Bees. The 15-play, 68-yard game sealer consumed over half the fourth quarter and was capped by Shriver’s third short touchdown run of the game.
The icing was supplied two minutes later when C-B defensive back Noah Sollars perfectly timed his break, stepped in front of Mauge’s sideline pass, and raced down the right sideline for a 60-yard interception TD to cap the scoring.
After the game, Shriver (who finished his impressively productive night with 203 yards rushing on 38 bruising carries and 102 yards passing) gave all the credit to his line and his receiving corps.
“It was fun out there,” he said. “I wasn’t even getting touched until four yards past the line of scrimmage, and that makes it pretty easy to sustain drives. And the receivers ran great routes and got open. They all made my job really easy.”
Veteran C-B coach Ryan Wilson was especially happy with the interior line play and that his team’s great week of practice translated so well on Friday night.
“We knew we didn’t play well last week against Cameron (in a 44-21 home loss),” he admitted, “but we wanted to make sure that the kids stayed upbeat and positive. And they did, and it showed tonight. We didn’t get down after they scored late in the half to tie it up, either. We just went out in the second half and executed. I can’t say enough about how well the offensive line played, and what a really great win this was for us. It was fun to watch them celebrate such a complete team effort.”
The Cee-Bees are set to travel to Montcalm on Oct. 30.
Conotton Valley (5-4) 0 6 0 0 – 6
Clay-Battelle (2-1) 0 6 16 12 – 34
2 Q – CB – Carson Shriver 1 run (kick missed)
CV – Garson Imes 20 pass from Ben Mauge (try failed)
3rd Q CB – Shriver 2 run (try Cooper Watson pass from Shriver)
CB – Watson 41 pass from Shriver (try Shriver run)
4th Q – CB – Shriver 3 run (try failed)
CB – Noah Sollars 60 INT return (try failed)
CV – B. Mauge 8-17-1 104 TD
CB – Shriver 5-9-0 103 TD, Cooper Watson 0-1-0 0, Totals 5-10-0 103 TD
CV – B. Mauge 8-33 Imes 1-4, Ethan Mauge 6-31, Brett Putnam 2-13, Evan Rice 10-70, James Burleson 1-(-2), Noah Smith 1-24 Total 29-163.
CB- Shriver 38-203 3TD, Watson 1-7, Daniel Gorby 12-50, Zachary Hall 2-(-4), Total 53-256.RECEIVING
CV – Imes 3-33 TD, Rocco Romeo 3-15, Ethan Mauge 1-44, James Burleson 1-12
CB – Noah Sollars 2-33, Watson 3-69 TD