Hinton — There’s no way around it: Defenses cannot let Shady Spring sophomore speedster Isaiah Valentine get outside.
“His speed is awesome,” Tigers coach Vince Culicerto said. “Wherever I got him, I have to spring him loose. He’s something.”
Summers County tried everything against Valentine Friday night. If he lined up inside, they loaded up the box; if he lined up outside, they double-teamed him.
Neither could stop the Tigers from taking a 40-13 victory at Garten Stadium.
Not only was Valentine outstanding — 205 yards and two touchdowns on just 7 carries, plus another 58 yards receiving — but he forced the Bobcats to weaken their defense to guard him.
That left end Joe Cantley, no slow-poke himself, with 1-on-1 coverage, and quarterback Drew Clark and running backs Tyler Bragg and Haven Chapman with room to roam.
Twice in the second quarter Valentine split out to the left, taking a safety with him. Cantley sprinted into the end zone and beat his defender for touchdown catches of 35 and 23 yards.
It was a welcome turn of events for the Tigers, who consistently shot themselves in the foot with fumbles in the first quarter.
Summers took advantage of the second of three fumbles in the period to cap a 48-yard drive with a 25-yard scoring run from Christian Pack.
Shady proceeded to fumble away the ensuing kickoff, but Jadon Hershberger intercepted SC quarterback Tim Persiani on the next play.
Two possessions after that, Valentine breezed 26 yards around left end and Erick Bevel’s PAT put the Tigers up by one, 7-6.
Summers fumbled on its next possession and five plays later Clark connected with Cantley from 35 yards out.
Their second TD strike, with a minute left before halftime, gave the Tigers a 21-6 advantage.
Undaunted, Summers mounted a 63-yard drive to open the second half, with Marcus McGuire taking it in from the one to make it 21-13.
The Bobcats would get no closer. Clark found Hershberger on an 8-yard TD pass, Valentine exploded on a 78-yard breakaway and Bevil kicked field goals from 44 and 21 yards.
Meanwhile, the Shady defense, led by solid plays from defensive ends TeryMykal Alexander and Austin Stover and end Hunter Criddle, clamped down on the Bobcats and forced two more turnovers.
“They are probably the best team on our schedule,” Summers coach Chris Vicars said. “They have a lot of weapons.”
Clark hit 8 of 11 passes for 106 yards. Bragg ran for 60 yards and Haven Chapman picked up 55 before leaving the game with an injury.
“We’ve got three backs who can run the ball. One of them went down, but I’ve told them I’m going to need all three,” Culicerto said. “Someone will step up each night. They have to keep blocking for each other.”
Pack gained 92 yards and Persiani passed for 89.
“Our kids fought hard. We have a lot of kids who go both ways and they were on the field a lot,” Vicars said. “We’ve got to find a way not to hurt ourselves with turnovers and penalties.”
Both teams are at home next Friday. Shady Spring will host Indepenence while Summers will entertain Mount View.
SS (2-1) 0 21 7 12 — 40
SC (0-2)) 6 0 7 0 — 13
SC: Christian Pack 25 run (Kick failed), 4:21
SS: Isaiah Valentine 26 run (Erick Bevil kick 10:43
SS: Joseph Cantley 35 pass from Drew Clark (Bevil kick), 5:58
SS: Cantley 23 pass from Clark (Bevil kick), 1:00
SC: Marcus McGuire 1 run (Jonathan Angell kick), 9:07
SS: Jadon Hershberger 8 pass from Clark (Bevil kick), 2:02
SS: Valentine 78 run (Kick failed), 10:55
SS: Bevil FG 44, 6:58
SS: Bevil FG 21, 4:30
RUSHING SS: Clark 9-28, Tyler Bragg 13-60, Valentine 7-205, Haven Chapman 6-55. SC: Tim Persiani 7-(-1), McGuire 11-17, Sam Wykle 4-10, Pack 9-92, Keandre Sarver 1-6.
PASSING SS: Clark 8-11-0, 106. SC: Persiani 7-12-2, 89.
RECEIVING SS: Cantley 2-58, Valentine 4-41, Hershberger 1-8, Tyler Miller 1-(-1). SC: Pack 4-46, Sarver 1-25, Wykle 2-18
TAKEAWAYS SS: Hershberger (int.), TeryMykal Alexander (fum. rec.), Justin Black (int.), Clark (fum. rec.); SC: Kaleb Vaughn (fum. rec.), Ethan Koenig (fum. rec), Tyler Miller ) fum. rec.),