HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley made a statement Friday night, handing previously unbeaten and No. 4-ranked South Charleston a 53-8 loss at the Wolves Den.
“I think we have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, so they played hard and it’s starting to feel like ‘us’ again,” Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess said. “We’ve got some kids that can play ball and they flew around. It was a fun football game.”
For the Black Eagles (3-1), it wasn’t so fun. The visiting team was outgunned in total yardage 438 to 119, turned the ball over four times and struggled to contain the Timberwolves offensive attack in the loss.
“We game-planned all week and had some players out tonight for team discipline issues and that changed ... the structure of our offense and it snowballed into a bad night,” South Charleston Coach Donnie Mays said.
The Timberwolves (4-1), ranked ninth in Class AAA, came ready to play in front of a healthy home crowd, and Jace Caldwell gave fans and teammates alike reason to celebrate from the opening kickoff, which he returned over 50 yards into South Charleston territory.
On the first play from scrimmage, he then found the end zone from 32 yards out and gave Spring Valley a touchdown lead just seconds into the game. After the score, the Black Eagles mishandled the kickoff and the home team recovered and found itself in the red zone threatening to score just a handful a plays later, but couldn’t finish it.
Instead, it was the South Charleston defense that stood tall and forced a turnover on downs at the 6-yard line. It would be the first of two drives that ended close to the goal line for Spring Valley, turning it over on the 1 later in the first quarter.
But the Black Eagles offense couldn’t get out of the shadow of their own end zone after the defensive stops, leading to a bad snap that resulted in a safety when they lined up to punt shortly after taking possession with the first quarter clock winding down.
The Timberwolves added three touchdowns to their lead before the break, a 32-yard run from Cody Shy and passing plays of 24 and 41 yards between Fouch and Ty Bartrum.
Fouch, the Spring Valley junior, had another impressive outing, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns while completing 8 of his 14 passes. Bartrum caught three passes for 73 yards.
“Ty Bartrum is good at football,” Dingess said, “I mean that guy is really good, and if you put the ball in his hands, he’s going to make plays.”
Dingess credited the edge blocking for many of the big plays, too, including the help from Corbin Page to seal off defenders and open running lanes. Defensively, they created pressure each time South Charleston dropped back to pass.
Trey Dunn was without two of his top weapons in the loss, as receivers Chris McCorkle and Wayne Harris did not play due to a violation of team rules, and the rest of the offense struggled to fill those holes.
Dunn, the junior signal caller did connect with Jah’den Estep for a 49-yard play that put the Black Eagles in position for their only score of the night, a 1-yard rush by Amellio Miller, but started then second half by throwing two interceptions, both of which led to Timberwolves touchdowns.
“The only good thing about today was we had two goal-line stands, but other than that we played like crap,’’ Mays said. “We weren’t very good and I didn’t think we played with a lot of heart after we got down.’’
Dunn threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Caldwell, and completed just eight of his 22 passes for 73 yards.
South Charleston returns home next week to face George Washington. Spring Valley will head across town to face top-ranked Huntington High.