By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — Coronavirus has made 2020 a year many of us would like to forget.
But one of the exceptions to that general rule will be for the Teays Valley football team.
That’s because the Vikings made school history on Friday by earning their first playoff win with a 68-0 drubbing of visiting Briggs in a Division II, Region 8 first-round game.
“This is obviously a different type of season, but I’m proud of the way our guys came out and played as a team,” Teays Valley coach Mark Weber said. “We played a very physical brand of football, we had a lot of players contribute to the win and this was a very solid team win.
“This is something our guys can talk about years from now that they were the first team in Teays Valley football history to win a playoff game.”
The Vikings (3-3) were making their fifth postseason appearance in program history and the first since 2015. In a typical season, the top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs, but with the abbreviated six-week season due to COVID-19, the Ohio High School Athletic Association gave every school the opportunity to opt in or out of the playoffs.
Teays Valley made the most of its return to the postseason, averaging 14.6 yards per carry and finishing the evening with 408 rushing yards. Camden McDanel led the bruising effort with 227 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 touches. The sophomore tailback had 130 of those yards in the opening quarter.
Weber credited the two weeks of preparation the Vikings had for their playoff opener after they had their game canceled last week against Amanda-Clearcreek due to a positive COVID-19 test for their opponent.
“This is a totally different team than the one that lost (21-12) to Hamilton Township in Week 4,” Weber said. “We started to see that in Week 5 against Kings, where I felt like our guys played hard even though we only had one day to prepare for a very good team.
“We really got after it in the last two weeks with tough, physical practices and scrimmages, while still doing good risk management and being careful with the COVID-19 protocols. Over that two weeks, I could see selfishness turning into being selfless, and for a team to maximum its talent you have to be selfless. We kinda beat each other up over the last two weeks and our guys were ready to come out here and hit someone in a different jersey.”
Weber also credited the Vikings’ tough schedule, which included games against Kings (seeded fourth in Region 8) and Bishop Watterson (seeded sixth in Division III, Region 11) for being voted the 11th seed by the coaches in the region, despite entering the playoffs with a losing record.
“If we come into the seeding with a bunch of Division IV and V teams on the schedule, I have no doubt that we would have been seeded several spots lower and may have had to go on the road this week,” Weber said. “The Cincinnati-area coaches saw Kings, saw Bishop Watterson on our schedule and gave us respect for playing those type of quality teams and rewarded us with being seeded No. 11 and getting to host a No. 22 seed for the first-round.
“The other thing that scheduling does is it exposed our kids to the type of deep talented rosters and coaching that Division II has, and it showed us what we had to do in order to get better for the playoffs.”
McDanel needed just three carries to cover 57 yards on the opening possession of the night that he capped with a 19-yard touchdown run. The first of eight extra points by a busy Cale Clifton made it 7-0 Vikings.
Briggs (2-2) was unable to handle the first snap on its ensuing possession, with Liam Wilson recovering the loose pigskin. A seven-yard touchdown run on the next play courtesy of Jeremiah Thompson gave the Vikings a 14-0 advantage.
Teays Valley put its historic playoff victory away with a five-touchdown barrage in the second quarter to take a 48-0 lead into halftime.
McDanel opened the busy quarter with touchdown runs of nine and 37 yards. Junior quarterback Tyler Love took part in the next two scores on a 31-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Booth and then rolling to his right on a bootleg for a six-yard touchdown run. Chance Littler capped the second quarter with a four-yard scoring run.
“Our line is full of juniors and we didn’t get to do the type of work we typically do in an offseason due to COVID-19,” Weber said. “Those guys are starting to click, starting to get it and they opened holes for our backs all night long. We can talk about quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, but the success of any program starts with the offensive line. If you can’t block, you can’t move the football.”
The second half was played with a continuous running clock, according to OHSAA rules when a team leads by 30 points or more. Love scored on a 12-yard punt return and Gavin Karshner found the end zone later in the third quarter on a four-yard run.
Freshman Landon Thompson scored the lone touchdown of the fourth quarter on a 78-yard run to the house.
Teays Valley set the tone defensively with a hard-hitting performance that limited Briggs to minus-25 yards rushing and just 36 yards of total offense. The Vikings forced five turnovers, with Love and Camden Primmer each making an interception.
“Our guys swarmed to the football, they hit hard and they were sound technique wise,” Weber said. “That’s what we want to see.”
The Vikings travel to sixth-seeded Cincinnati Anderson (4-2) next week for a second-round playoff game. Anderson had a first-round bye last night.
Both teams have a common opponent. Anderson lost to Kings 70-34, while the Vikings fell to the Knights 41-10.
“We know Anderson throws the football a lot and they are a well-coached, quality football team,” Weber said. “We have a week to continue working hard, growing as a football team and get better.”
Pickaway County first playoff wins
Circleville – Tigers 25, Washington C.H. 19 (Nov. 2, 2007)
Logan Elm – Braves 21, Bexley 14 (Nov. 1, 2008)
Teays Valley – Vikings 68, Briggs 0 (Oct. 9, 2020)
Westfall – Mustangs 21, West Muskingum 17 (Nov. 5, 2005)
Teays Valley 68, Briggs 0
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Briggs 0 0 0 0 0
Teays Valley 14 34 13 7 68
TV — Camden McDanel 19 run (Cale Clifton kick), 11:13
TV — Jeremiah Thompson 7 run (Cale Clifton kick), 10:59
TV — Camden McDanel 9 run (Cale Clifton kick), 9:27.
TV — Camden McDanel 37 run (Cale Clifton kick), 7:11
TV — Cooper Booth 31 pass from Tyler Love (kick failed), 5:21.
TV — Tyler Love 6 run (Cale Clifton kick), 5:14.
TV — Chance Littler 4 run (Cale Clifton kick), 1:14.
TV — Tyler Love 12 punt return (kick failed), 8:44.
TV — Gavin Karshner 4 carry (Cale Clifton kick), 3:11.
TV — Landon Thompson 78 run (Cale Clifton kick), 7:50.
Briggs Teays Valley
First downs 6 16
Rushing yards 34-(-25) 28-408
Passing yards 61 31
Comp.-Att.-Int 7-16-2 1-3-0
Total yards 36 439
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 2-1
Penalties-Yards 10-52 7-70
Punts-Ave. 4-9 N/A
RUSHING – Briggs — Jav’von Thomas 23-21, Tajh Bowers 10-(-48), Ryan Palmer 1-2. Teays Valley — Camden McDanel 12-227, Chance Littler 2-20, Jeremiah Thompson 1-7, Hunter Young 3-36, Peyton Weiler 1-14, Austin Blackburn 2-10, Tyler Love 2-5, Matthew Farmer 1-1, Connor Maxwell 1-2, Gavin Karshner 1-4, Landon Thompson 1-78.
PASSING – Briggs — Tajh Bowers 6-14-2-56, Jae’von Thomas 1-2-0-5. Teays Valley — Tyler Love 1-3-0-31.
RECEIVING – Briggs — Ryan Palmer 3-19, David Martinez 1-4, Quintenn Loel 3-38. Teays Valley — Cooper Booth 1-31.
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