Spring Valley dialed up the pass and a dominating defensive effort to decisively defeat St. Albans at Crawford Field on Friday night.
The Timberwolves, known predominately as a running team, scored on four straight Nate Ellis passes to open the game and the defense cemented the victory, a 47-0 win.
“We can do stuff like that,” Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess said of the Timberwolves’ passing attack. “We don’t necessarily want to or have to all the time, but Nate does a good job, and we just took what they gave us and threw it around there.”
Spring Valley’s defense held St. Albans scoreless, the Timberwolves’ third shutout of the season. Spring Valley held St. Albans to three consecutive three-and-outs to open the contest, and on each ensuing Timberwolf possession, Ellis struck for a passing touchdown. Ellis found receiver Corbin Page on back-to-back drives with touchdowns of 43 and 22 yards before hitting Tyrus Baumgardner on a 28-yard scoring play.
The Spring Valley defense continued to apply pressure late in the first quarter, forcing St. Albans to throw an interception. Ellis followed the turnover to lead a seven-play drive capped by his fourth passing attempt and fourth touchdown of the game, a 5-yard strike to Brody Brumfield.
“It was pretty nice,” Ellis said of the passing prowess. “We just wanted to put points up quick, and that’s what we did.”
If the passing game didn’t prove enough, the Timberwolves (7-1) found other ways to score, too.
In the second quarter, Dane Burgess recovered a blocked punt to score on a 5-yard return and Kobe Vanhoose punched in a 1-yard touchdown run. Spring Valley led 41-0 at halftime as its defense held the Red Dragons to minus-14 total yards and without a first down.
Spring Valley continued to apply the defensive pressure in the second half. St. Albans manufactured back-to-back first downs midway through the fourth quarter — the Red Dragons first first downs of the game — but Spring Valley held St. Albans to 0 total offensive yards in the contest.
“The defense played well and even the second group, third group got in there and played really well,” Dingess said. “I was proud of our kids tonight. We were stunting a little bit, slanting, doing some things. We were just playing good, fundamental defense.”
The loss marked a downturn for St. Albans (1-8) after the Red Dragons snapped a 14-game losing streak on Oct. 11 with a 24-6 homecoming win against Lincoln County.
“We just couldn’t match that level of physicality tonight,” St. Albans coach Nick Watts said. “We had some guys that were definitely intimidated by the number of kids they had on their team and the size of some of those guys. I don’t think they got our best effort tonight, and that’s what’s disappointing to me.”
For the Timberwolves, Ellis’ passing planted the evidence that teams scouting Spring Valley must also prepare for the team’s air attack.
“We wanted to put it on film that, hey, we can throw it around a little bit,” Dingess said, “and we got some kids that can run and catch it.”
Spring Valley has a bye week before next hosting to Ashland Paul Blazer (Ky.) at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1. St. Albans also has a bye before hosting South Charleston at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1.