FRENCH LICK – Springs Valley ended their regular season finale on a high note as the Blackhawks played very inspired football in claiming their first win by the final score of 38-16 over visiting North Daviess.
The Cougars were their own worst enemy from the opening possession as damaging turnovers plagued the offense and put the defense in several unenviable spots field-position wise. The initial fumble followed a ND first down and led to Valley junior quarterback Cannon Chase’s sneak for the contest’s first touchdown as the hosts posted a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
North Daviess suffered an interception on their next opportunity as Tanner Reed missed his target in the cool Friday evening French Lick air. At 2:27, Chase fired his first TD pass to classmate, Conner Grimes, and added a two-point toss for a quick 14-0 advantage.
Austin Webster provided the Cougars with one of their few evening highlights when he managed a 52 yard rushing touchdown a minute later to put ND on the scoreboard. Zo Jeffers found his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion after a broken play as the deficit was cut to just 14-8, but the Cougs would get no closer on Valley’s home turf.
The Chase to Grimes pass-and-catch connection was good for another six points with 8:56 to go in the second stanza as the home team pushed the lead back to 20-8; the score remained the same at the half.
Grimes was even more effective after intermission as the junior carried to the proverbial house from 14 yards out with just three minutes gone by in the third quarter and then sprinted 61 more yards on SV’s following possession for back-to-back six-spots which essentially moved the game out of reach at 32-8.
A surprising on-side kick by the hosts allowed North Daviess their best field position of the night, and ND took full advantage as Reed found Webster for a 25 yard completion inside the five yard line. The senior signal caller then did the rest himself with his legs for the four-yard TD tote and ensuing two-point conversion toss to Ashton Lengacher for a 32-16 deficit.
Any potential momentum by ND was swiftly snatched away when Chase then matched his quarterback counterpart and then some as the junior called his own number for a sneak that turned into a 20-yard TD churn just before the third frame ended. Neither team managed to dent the scoreboard in the last12 minutes of action as the ‘Hawks wrapped up their Senior Night with a somewhat surprising victory while extending the Cougars losing streak to four games after ND had won their first four on the schedule.
For North Daviess, the sophomore Webster nearly garnered a hundred yards on the ground and added around 50 receiving yards as well while registering several tackles on the defensive side of the pigskin. Several key senior contributors for the Cougars remain banged up and were unable to suit up or perform including Justin Fox, Josh Krusenklaus, Isaac Wagler, and Daryn Lengacher who are dealing with varying degrees of injuries.
North Daviess (4-4) gets a sectional opener at Thurman H. Brown Field next Friday at 7 p.m. The assignment, however, is a tall one as the first round opponent is undefeated and defending regional champion, West Washington. The Senators are a top-five ranked team in Class A and knocked the Cougars out of the tourney last year in Campbellsburg.