HUNTINGTON — Whatever was said at halftime or during the first timeout of the second half, the Spring Valley football team got the message.
Two turnovers in the red zone, combined with a gutsy effort by underdog Hurricane, saw the Redskins take a 6-0 halftime lead over the Timberwolves at the Wolves Den on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Brad Dingess and his staff must have gotten the message across to the players as Spring Valley, the No. 3 seed, dominated the second half and defeated the Redskins 34-6 in a Class AAA playoff opener.
“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” Dingess said of the first 24 minutes. “Two red-zone turnovers. Penalties to keep their drive alive. Showed guts by our kids to be down only six.”
Hurricane (4-7), the No. 14 seed, took the lead with a second-quarter score on a drive helped by four Spring Valley penalties. The Timberwolves had one holding call and jumped offside three times. The TD came on a 13-yard pass from Austin Womack to Ryan Moses. The drive was made possible by an interception by Brogan Brown inside the Redskins 20.
Spring Valley’s Luke Christopher lost a fumble just across midfield to stall a first-period drive.
“Hurricane did a few things differently,” Dingess said. “Give them credit. The timeout [on the first possession of the third period], we lined up wrong. We had to wake the kids up.”
Spring Valley (10-1) got the ball on the first possession of the second half. Hurricane’s first kick went out of bounds and the Timberwolves accepted the penalty, but the next kick went into the end zone.
The key play on that game-changing drive was a 48-yard run by David Livingston to the Redskins’ 11. Two plays later, quarterback Nate Ellis went over from a yard out and Zane Porter’s extra point put the home team ahead to stay at 7-6.
In the second half, Spring Valley’s Brody Brumfield mishandled a punt, tracked it down and ran 77 yards for an apparent score, but chop-block penalty negated that play. Undaunted, Brumfield later scored on a 5-yard run. The next third-period score came on a 21-yard keeper by Ellis.
In the fourth quarter, Clayton Sharp picked off a Womack pass and Christopher scored on a 32-yard run. The final TD was a 9-yard pass from Ellis to Corbin Page. That touchdown came after the Redskins went for it on a fourth-and-9 at the Spring Valley 21 and Womack was sacked.
Spring Valley, one of nine Mountain State Athletic Conference teams to make the playoffs, is back home next weekend against No. 11 Capital. The Cougars, who won 45-21 at Wheeling Park on Friday night, lost 41-0 at Spring Valley in the regular season. Details of all second-round games will be made official Sunday.
“We did some things bad, got things straightened out and had a good second half overall,” Dingess said. “We played our kind of football.”