NAUGATUCK - Tug Valley came into the Friday night’s game ranked No. 14 in Class A. The Panthers improved to 3-1 after a 40-32 win against visiting Twin Valley, Va. to improve their dreams of making the West Virginia playoffs.
The final score is deceiving. Tug Valley had a commanding 36-9 lead at the half. Head coach Tony Clusky pulled many of his starters to start the second half. Twin Valley fought back to cut the lead with some late touchdowns, but the home team held on to win.
Senior quarterback Mikey Newsome completed 5-7 passes in the first half for 148 yards. Two of those passes were caught be senior back Aaron Muncy for 115 yards and a touchdown. Muncy also rushed for 37 yards in the first half and another TD.
Tug Valley took only four plays to score after the opening kickoff. Jesse Mays hit pay-dirt from 16 yards out. The TD was set up on a pass from Newsome to Muncy. The conversion failed and the Panthers led 6-0.
With 7:22 left in the first half, Newsome scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. He hit Corey Dillon for the 2-point conversion pass to make it 14-0.
Twin Valley scored on a safety with 3:03 left in the first quarter after a bad snap on a Tug Valley punt to make it 14-2.
Tug Valley got the ball back after an interception by Thomas Baisden and started a drive on the visitor’s 37-yard line. Four plays later Muncy ran it in from 16 yards out. Ryan Preece caught a pass for the 2-point conversion to up the lead to 22-2.
Tug Valley’s defense accounted for another TD as Preece took a Twin Valley punt 82 yards for another Panther score with 6:49 left in the half. David Runyon ran in for the 2-point conversion to give the home team a 30-2 lead.
With 4:05 left in the half, Newsome connected with Munch for a 67 yard TD. The conversion failed, but Tug Valley led 36-2 at that point in the game.
With :59 seconds left in the half, Twin Valley’s Shannon Adams scored on a 3-yard carry. The kick made it 36-9 heading into the dressing room.
Clusky elected to play his junior varsity players to start the half and for the most part, they hung in there. Aaron Copley picked off a Twin Valley pass and first stringer David Runyon scored from three yards out. The conversion failed, but with 6:20 left in the third quarter, the Panthers led 42-9.
Twin Valley, who only had a roster of about 20 players, kept fighting. Adam Queenly scored a 9-yard TD with 10:12 left in the game. They got another TD with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
With 5:07 left visitors from Virginia got another TD and 2-point conversion to cut it to 42-30. They attempted an on-sides kick, but Tug Valley recovered.
Clusky then was forced to put his starters back in the game. Muncy had a couple of good carries for first downs to eat up some clock.
Twin Valley got the ball back and then Muncy picked off a pass and raced 76 yards for a score, but it was called back because of a block in the back. However Tug Valley was able to keep the ball and ran out the clock.
“I thought we had to get out to a quick start,” Clusky said. “We got the chance to play a lot of kids.”
Muncy finished with 48 yards rushing on seven carries. Runyon had 43 on seven tries, while Mays picked up 33 yards on six carries.
Defensively Tyler Conley had nine tackles to lead Tug Valley and he had an interception. Isaac Parsley had seven tackles and three sacks. Dillon and Muncy each had five stops. Dillon also had a fumble recovery and Muncy a pick. Josh Cassell had five tackles and a sack. Thomas Baisden also had an interception.
Tug Valley is now 3-1 on the season and will play host to Tolsia Friday night.
Score by quarters:
Twin Valley .. 2 7 0 21 – 30
Tug Valley .. 12 22 6 0 - 42