By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — With Teays Valley trailing at halftime on Friday for just the second time this season, coach Mark Weber decided to take some advise from one of his captains.
“Camden McDanel came over to me before the third quarter and said, ‘Coach, let’s do what we do best’,” Weber said. “I agreed with him and there was no doubt after that.”
McDanel ran for 100 yards during the third quarter and scored the first of three touchdowns for the Vikings during the period that lifted Teays Valley to a 28-14 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win over visiting Amanda-Clearcreek.
After being checked to 37 yards in the first half by the Aces, McDanel rushed for 146 yards during the final two periods of play, which helped the Vikings (8-0, 5-0) remain unbeaten going into next week’s showdown at defending league champion Bloom-Carroll (8-0, 5-0).
“Camden’s our tough work horse that is going to do whatever is necessary to help us win the game,” Weber said. “He’s a tough runner who is going to grind out those extra yards and get you an extra three, four or five yards a carry that come from pure effort and desire.”
The Vikings averaged 6.4 yards per carry to finish the evening with 358 of their total 445 yards of offense on the ground. Peyton Weiler contributed 74 yards on 10 totes with a touchdown and Tyler Love added 58 yards on nine touches.
“Camden got us going and then it was Peyton, it was Tyler, it was Landon (Thompson) and Gavin (Karshner),” Weber said. “We got a stable of guys who can run the football, but they’re all team players and they will all credit the offensive line for winning the line of scrimmage and opening up holes and cutback lanes.
“Our offensive line is the spine of our team, that’s how important those guys are. Those guys are gentle giants and have high IQs, but once the whistle sounds they are all business and want to out-physical the other guy at the point of attack.”
The Aces (5-3, 3-2) entered the second half with a 14-7 advantage, but McDanel started to change the tone of the game as he was featured exclusively on a six-play drive that stretched 64 yards. McDanel covered 26 yards on the final carry, willing his way past defenders and into the end zone. The second of four extra points by Cale Clifton tied the game at 14-14.
After watching the TV offense stabilize the game, the defense decided to turn in a big play of their own.
Sam Jones intercepted a tipped pass and returned it down the home sideline from 38 yards out to give the Vikings a 21-14 lead.
“We work on the tip drill all the time and Sam had the awareness of once the ball was tipped to catch it, take off with it and showed a little bit of speed,” Weber said.
The Vikings went back to work on their next offensive series, using seven plays to cover 66 yards. Weiler capped the drive with a 30-yard run around right end to put Teays Valley ahead 28-14.
“We talked at halftime about getting it back to a zero-zero game and then try to win the second half from there,” Weber said. “I was pleased with the way our guys kept cool with having to contend with some adversity during the first half. That’s where experience pays off.”
Amanda-Clearcreek tried to stem the tidal wave on its next possession by driving down to the TV 37-yard line, but Weiler intercepted a pass on his two-yard line to defuse the threat.
The Aces threatened once more during the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-11 on their own two, Nate Hunter took the snap on a fake punt and tossed a 37-yard pass to Cade Young. Amanda-Clearcreek eventually drove inside the TV 15-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs with 5:40 remaining.
“I’m proud of the way our guys battled and competed,” Amanda-Clearcreek coach Steve Daulton said. “We tried to battle back, but that run Teays Valley had in the third quarter was ultimately too much for us to overcome.”
Hunter finished the game 18 of 35 passing for 318 yards. Most of the damage he inflicted on the Vikings came during the first half when completed 12 of 20 passes for 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We came out in the first half and really did a nice job of executing our game plan,” Daulton said. “We controlled the line of scrimmage, won the battle of field position and did a nice job of throwing the football and mixing the ball around to our different receivers.”
An interception by Peyton Cassley gave the Aces good field position on their own 47-yard line midway through the opening quarter. The Aces used six plays to cover 53 yards, with Hunter connecting on a 13-yard touchdown strike with Grant Guiler on a slant. The first of two extra points by Jonny Weaver gave the Aces a 7-0 lead.
It took the Vikings a grand total of 15 seconds to tie the game on a 90-yard kickoff return by Tommy Williams.
“That’s a case where you have 10 guys doing their assignment, but we have one wrong step and off (Williams) goes for a touchdown,” Daulton said.
Hunter derailed a TV bid to take its first lead of the night when he intercepted a pass on his own four-yard line. It was the second of three turnovers for the Vikings during the first half.
“Our guys did a nice job of controlling the line, maintaining our gaps on defense and we forced Teays Valley into some situations where we could drop back and make some plays defensively,” Daulton said.
Amanda-Clearcreek then put together its best drive of the night, using 11 plays to go 96 yards. A 52-yard screen pass to Peyton Cassley put the Aces inside the TV 10. On third-and-goal from the 14, Hunter hit Tayvon Miller with a 14-yard post pass to put the Aces ahead 14-7 with 41 seconds left before halftime.
The Vikings drove down to the A-C 24-yard line looking to tie the game before the half, but Hunter came away with his second interception on the 15 to send the Aces into the break with a 14-7 lead.
Teays Valley finished the evening with four turnovers and Amanda-Clearcreek committed three in the second half.
“We had a sloppy third-quarter of football and Teays Valley made us pay for it,” Daulton said.
Cassley finished the game with five receptions for 118 yards, Young made four grabs for 96 yards and Miller had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown for the Aces.
“Some skill kids you play are lean and quick, but Amanda has skill kids who are fast, physical and are well-built,” Weber said. “They did a nice job of using their strengths and using their different receivers in the first half, but we made some adjustments and did a better job of covering them in the second half.”
The Aces will look to bounce back next week when they continue league play at Logan Elm (3-5, 1-4).
“When you work so hard it’s tough to lose a game like this, but our guys have the right attitude and I know they will continue to work hard,” Daulton said. “When you have a true love for each other like our guys have that will help you pull through adversity like this.
“It also makes it easier to try and fix mistakes, because it’s a lot easier to fix an X’s and O’s mistake over having to fix an attitude and effort issue. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about those things.”
As chatter has increased over the past weeks outside the Teays Valley locker room about a potential showdown of unbeatens against Bloom-Carroll, Weber has worked to keep the Vikings focused on each opponent they’ve had to play beforehand.
“You hear all the chatter about Bloom-Carroll, but I was like you have to get by Amanda first,” Weber said. “We know what type of team that Amanda has, how physical they are and we respect their program. That’s the type of program we’re trying to build over here in Ashville.
“Amanda gave us a pretty good game and I like being tested, pushed and having some things we can work on going into Bloom-Carroll.”
And Bloom-Carroll week will begin with evaluation and self-reflection after a hard-fought win over Amanda-Clearcreek.
“I know our guys probably aren’t going to have a lot of fun when we go through the film (on Saturday morning),” Weber said. “We have to take care of the football a lot better, make better decisions when we throw the football, we have to cut down on our penalties (12 for 95 yards) and we have to work on some other things.
“I believe every week starts with working on yourself, fixing things and getting better, and that’s what we’re going to do. It’s Bloom-Carroll week now, and it’s time to get ready to face a very good, very well-coached football team.”
Teays Valley 28,
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Amanda-Clearcreek 7 7 0 0 14
Teays Valley 7 0 21 0 28
AC — Grant Guiler 13 pass from Nate Hunter (Jonny Weaver kick), 3:29.
TV — Tommy Williams 90 kickoff return (Cale Clifton kick), 3:!4.
AC — Tayvon Miller 14 pass from Nate Hunter (Jonny Weaver kick), 0:41.
TV — Camden McDanel 26 run (Cale Clifton kick), 8:59.
TV — Sam Jones 38 interception return (Cale Clifton kick), 8:44.
TV — Peyton Weiler 30 run (Cale Clifton kick), 3:53.
First downs 15 24
Rushing yards 12-(-8) 56-358
Passing yards 318 87
Comp.-Att.-Int 18-35-3 5-13-3
Total yards 310 445
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-60 12-95
Punts-Average 5-41.6 3-36
RUSHING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Hunter Matheny 2-0, Nate Hunter 10-(-8). Teays Valley — Camden McDanel 28-183, Peyton Weiler 10-74, Tyler Love 9-58, Landon Thompson 7-24, Gavin Karshner 2-19.
PASSING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 18-35-3-318. Teays Valley — Tyler Love 5-13-3-87.
RECEIVING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Peyton Cassley 5-118, Cade Young 4-96, Tayvon Miller 5-58, Grant Guiler 3-38, Brady Sharp 1-8. Teays Valley — Landon Thompson 2-27, Luke Bullock 1-22, Peyton Weiler 1-17, Harrison Payne 1-11.
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