By Brad Morris
AMANDA — Gavin Karshner is the type of player that Teays Valley coach Mark Weber loves to utilize, especially when he brings the Vikings into The Pit.
“This is a place where you know that you are going to have to grind and battle for those tough yards. It’s not going to be a flashy type of game and we’re not a flashy type of team, anyway, this season,” he said. “I know Amanda-Clearcreek is pretty young this season, but they are still playing hard and they are a tough, physical football team.”
Karshner used 28 carries to chew up 222 yards and helped the Vikings grind away the host Aces for a 35-7 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win.
“Gavin was on a different level tonight running the football,” Weber praised. “It all started up front with the offensive line pinning them down inside and then Gavin hitting them in the C gap for some nice gains. Gavin was just steady, all night long.”
The Vikings averaged 6.5 yards per carry and rushed for 319 of their 454 yards of total offense.
“Everyone who came into the game ran the ball hard and our blockers did a nice job,” Karshner said. “I felt like no one could tackle me tonight and it felt good.”
Teays Valley (5-3, 4-1) seized the lead for good on its second possession of the game. Harrison Payne lined up as a tight end and drew a mismatch that the Vikings were able to exploit on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Kaden Hines. The first of five extra points by Cale Clifton put the Vikings ahead 7-0.
The Vikings doubled their lead in the second quarter with a 10-play drive that covered 82 yards and drained four minutes and 20 seconds off the clock.
A 29-yard pass down the visiting sideline from Hines to Gavin Sparks put the Vikings into Aces’ territory. Karshner consumed 46 yards on six carries during the drive and helped to set up a seven-yard touchdown run courtesy of Jeremiah Fabbro.
Teays Valley continued on the offensive with its first drive of the second half that used 11 plays to cover 88 yards and drained four minutes and 41 seconds from the clock.
Karshner used seven carries to gain 64 yards and capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
The Vikings held the Aces (0-8, 0-5) to just 119 yards of total offense, 69 of which came on a touchdown pass down the middle of the field from Logan Stevens to Tanner Affolter that cut the TV lead down to 21-7.
“Our defense was suffocating tonight and, overall, it has been pretty stingy for most of the season,” Weber said. “The one area where we’ve had an issue is giving up big plays for touchdowns or that lead to scores. We had four of those against Hamilton Township two weeks ago, but just one tonight against Amanda-Clearcreek.
“I can tell you one thing. This team hasn’t played its best game yet, not even close to it.”
Teays Valley tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard pass from Hines to Gavin Sparks and a one-yard run by Ethan Schwalbauch.
Hines completed 9 of 19 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Sparks made three receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown and Payne contributed 48 yards on three grabs with a score.
Both teams will don their home uniforms next week, as the Aces take on Logan Elm (6-2, 4-1) and the Vikings battle four-time defending league champion Bloom-Carroll (7-1, 5-0).
Bloom-Carroll defeated Logan Elm 40-21 last night to win its 20th consecutive league game and take sole possession of first.
“We basically have three games to determine if we want to earn at least one extra game (by making the playoffs), put a number on the banner for winning the league or if we want to hand in our stuff after Week 10 and be done,” Weber said. “This was our first championship game; we have a big one next week against Bloom-Carroll and then another big one against Logan Elm.
“This is a different type of team and mixture of kids than what I’ve been accustomed to. We are playing a lot of younger players with some older and experienced players. We don’t have a standout on the team. What we do have are a bunch of guys who are solid, tough and are all about the team, so I think I know what choice they are going to make.”
The Vikings still have memories of their only regular-season loss from last season, 49-0 at the hands of the Bulldogs. Weber knows that if the Vikings want a different result this time around, it starts with controlling what they can control.
“Bloom-Carroll is a tough team with a stable of running backs, linebackers and a lot of other solid players,” he said. “Our job starts with controlling what we can control, not turning the ball over, not committing penalties and putting ourselves in a position to where we can be successful if we execute the way we know we can.”
Teays Valley 35,
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Teays Valley 7 7 7 14 35
Amanda-Clearcreek 0 0 7 0 7
TV — Harrison Payne 36 pass from Kaden Hines (Cale Clifton kick), 1:28.
TV — Jeremiah Fabbro 7 run (Cale Clifton kick), 2:08.
TV — Gavin Karshner 5 run (Cale Clifton kick), 4:44.
AC — Tanner Affolter 69 pass from Logan Stevens (Brannan Rich kick), 4:29.
TV — Gavin Sparks 17 pass from Kaden Hines (Cale Clifton kick), 8:22.
TV — Ethan Schwalbauch 1 run (Cale Clifton kick), 3:28.
First downs 22 6
Rushing yards 49-319 27-24
Passing yards 145 95
Comp.-Att.-Int 9-19-0 5-16-0
Total yards 454 119
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-85 7-60
RUSHING – Teays Valley — Gavin Karshner 28-222, Kaden Hines 5-(-43), Jeremiah Fabbro 7-39, Connor Blankenship 1-(-2), Brody Bailey 1-8, Griffin Gray 3-52, Gavin Sparks 1-3, Ethan Schwalbauch 2-36. Amanda-Clearcreek — Landon Mills 11-21, Tommy Stai 8-10, Drew Dossman 2-(-18), Landon Covell 1-5, Logan Stevens 5-6
PASSING – Teays Valley — Kaden Hines 9-19-0-145. Amanda-Clearcreek — Drew Dossman 4-15-0-26, Logan Stevens 1-1-0-69.
RECEIVING – Teays Valley — Gavin Sparks 3-52, Trent Wolpert 3-45, Harrison Payne 3-48. Amanda-Clearcreek — Tanner Affolter 2-73, Taylon Conrad 2-10, Tommy Stai 1-12.
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