Smithers — The Fayetteville High School football team took a three-game winning streak against Fayette County rival Valley into Friday night’s meeting.
The Pirates, it appears, will end the series with a four-game string of victories in what is expected to be the final meeting between the schools.
In the latest turn of events in the saga of Fayette County consolidations, Fayetteville and Valley are not expected to reopen as high schools beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, resulting in the conclusion of this rivalry that the Pirates have owned since 2014.
The Pirates ended it with a bang, as senior Jordan Dempsey found a weakness in the Valley defense in the third quarter, carrying the ball six times for 78 yards on the first drive of the second half to blow open a close game in Fayetteville’s 39-8 rout of the Greyhounds (0-2).
“That set the tone right there,” said Valley coach Warrick Smith, whose team trailed 10-0 at halftime before Dempsey’s game-changing drive. “When they came out and pounded us, our guys were starting to get driven back.”
Dempsey, who had 130 of Fayetteville’s 361 yards against and outmanned Valley team, played little after the drive that was almost derailed with a fumble. He credited his offensive line, which exploited a Valley front that was clearly exhausted as the game wore on.
“The second half we came out a little fired up,” Dempsey said. “I have to give a lot of credit to my offensive line blocking for me. They opened up holes big enough for anybody to run through.
“We had to beat them with our tempo in the second half and we were conditioned well and were able to get it done in the second half.”
Dempsey went 10, 15, 20, and 10 yards on consecutive carries until near disaster resulted in a 4-yard loss for Fayetteville. He then carried the ball for 15 yards to the Valley 8 and finished off the 5-minute, 23-second drive that featured five first downs and only one occasion in which Fayetteville faced second down.
“You saw two Fayetteville teams I imagine,” Fayetteville coach Dave Moneypenny said. “One in the first half and one in the second half. Valley had a lot to do with that first half.
“We call them wall builders, they were building good walls up front and he (Dempsey) was hugging those walls and getting down field. He’s a special guy. I’ve coached his brothers; he comes from a good family. He’s as good as they come. He really is.”
Fayetteville scored first on a 13-yard run by Dempsey with 2:23 left in the first quarter, a drive that was helped by Valley facemask and offside penalties. The Greyhounds squandered an opportunity to tie the score, reaching the Fayetteville 34-yard line, but a 2-yard loss and an incomplete halfback pass on fourth down ended the drive.
A Fayetteville drive to Valley’s 29 was thwarted by a Brandon Harville interception, but the Pirates retrieved possession on an Eli Selvey pick.
A 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Greyhounds was followed by a Dempsey 5-yard run and a WonYoung Hwang 25-yard field goal with 8.9 seconds left in the half.
The second half would not be as close.
“They took away whatever we had to work with,” Smith said. “We weren’t able to hold blocks and they were getting too much penetration.”
Valley dented the scoreboard with 6.4 seconds left on a 47-yard run from Caleb Crisp against Fayetteville’s reserves to end the scoring drought, but the damage was done.
“We picked up the pace and started rolling it,” Moneypenny said. “It worked, but they slowed us down a little bit.”
Valley hits the road for the first time this season when it travels to Seth to face Sherman.
The Pirates pay a visit to Richwood on Friday night, before playing host to Meadow Bridge and visiting defending Class A champion Wheeling Central on Sept. 21.
F 7 3 15 14 — 39
V 0 0 8 — 8
F—Jordan Dempsey 9 run (WonYoung Hwang kick), 2:23
F—Hwang 25 field goal, 18.4
F—Dempsey 8 run (Hwang kick), 9:37
F—Safety, Caleb Crisp tackled in end zone, 3:35
F—Logan Frantz 9 run (kick blocked), 1:21
F—Frantz 4 run (Hwang kick), 10:36
F—Eli Sedlock 7 run (Hwang kick), 2:23
V—Crisp 47 run (Crisp run), 6.4
Rushing – Fayetteville 50-361 (Dempsey 19-130, Frantz 17-122, Sammy Pullens 2-11, Sedlock 10-68, Eli Selvey 1-1, Luke Vass 1-9), Valley 24-74 (Crisp 8-51, Adam Falbo 12-11, Connor Raynes 3-13, Zach Winter 1-0).
Passing – Fayetteville 5-6-1x-25 (Frantz 5-6-1x-25), Valley 3-8-1x-31 (Falbo 3-7-1x-31, Crisp 0-1).
Receiving – Fayetteville 5-25 (Dempsey 2-16, Blake Underwood 1-3, Timmy Bell 1-9, Vass 1-(-3), Valley 3-31 (Crisp 3-31).