Tug Valley hosts Clay County Saturday night
by Jack Latta
NAUGATUCK - Tug Valley can make the Class A playoffs if they defeat Clay County Saturday night in a home game at Bob Brewer Field in Naugatuck.
The game was moved from Friday to Saturday because Clay County has had no power at their school because of the heavy snowfall earlier this week in the mountains of West Virginia, according to assistant coach Tyler Hodge.
Tug Valley’s field does not drain well and is very muddy. So the one day delay, with a break from the rain and snow, may give the football field a chance to dry up – at least somewhat.
The Panthers came into the game ranked No. 15 in the SSAC rating this week. A win over the Class AA Panthers of Clay County, who was ranked No. 14 in the polls, would assure Tug Valley of a post season appearance.
Clay County is 5-4 and could use a win to help their playoff chances too.
A loss might drop Tug Valley out of the top 16. There is an outside chance they can still make it into the playoffs with a loss, but it would be much more difficult. The Panther’s would need some help from other teams, including a loss by Williamstown.
So basically Tug Valley’s playoff position is in their own hands.
Tug Valley has had a balanced offense all season long led by senior quarterback Mikey Newsome. Last week Newsome threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Man.
Newsome has thrown for 1,210 yards this season connecting on 64-128 of his passes for a 50 percent completion mark. He has 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions in nine games.
The Panthers of head coach Tony Clusky also has solid and balanced running game. The rushing attack is led by junior David Runyon, senior Aaron Muncy and senior Jesse Mays.
Runyon lead the team with 475 yards on 95 carries, while Muncy has 366 yards on 81 tries. Mays is right behind him with 69 totes for 316 yards, while Justin Baisden has 211 yards on 54 carries. Muncy missed one game, and parts of two others because of injuries.
Newsome can throw to several targets including senior tight end Corey Dillon, Muncy, Runyon and Mays out of the backfield. Ryan Preece, Tyler Conley and Austin Baisden have also been targets.
Muncy has caught 14 passes for 360 yards and five TDs, while Dillon has 24 receptions for 381 yards and seven TDs.
Defensively, senior Isaac Parsley has 73 tackles and seven sacks to lead the Panthers. Thomas Baisden has 48 tackles, Preece 45, Conley 43 and Dillon 35. Several other players have over 25 tackles.
Clay County is coached by Steve Ware and is led by junior quarterback Jordan Lucas and a talented backfield of senior Jimmy Brogan and junior Tyler Stewart.
Game time Saturday night is 7:30 p.m.
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