WELCH — In the final home game ever to be played at Mount View High School’s Vic Nystrom Stadium in Welch the Tug Valley Panthers didn’t let the home team seize the moment as they came in and cruised past the Golden Knights, 48-19 on Friday night.
Just 52 seconds into the game, MVHS sophomore defensive back Anthony Bailey intercepted a pass from Tug Valley senior quarterback Ethan Varney and returned it 94 yards to the house, which would have been a Mount View school record.However, an illegal block in the back on the play negated the touchdown, sending the Knights back to their own 30 yard line.
After Tug recovered a fumble on the Knight’s next drive, they went three-and-out and then attempted a fake punt pass from the Mount View 41 yard line, but it was incomplete and the hosts took over.
Mount View would cash in off the stop as junior quarterback Jesse Rose hooked up with freshman wide receiver Jaylen Hall for a 61 yard touchdown pass with 7:08 left in the first quarter. The PAT try was no good, and the Golden Knights lead 6-0.
The Panthers would respond on their next possession. With 1:12 left in the first quarter, they would cap off a time consuming 11-play, 60-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown catch by TVHS receiver Dustin Balentine on a pass from Varney. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good, and the score was now deadlocked at 6-6.
After the home team’s next drive stalled, Tug would respond with another score. Varney would uncork a 20-yard pass to junior wide receiver Caleb May who would take it in for the touchdown. After the 2-point try failed, the Panthers jumped into the lead at 12-6 with 9:28 left in the second quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mount View would tie the score again as Bailey took the kick and dashed 71 yards to the endzone. The 2-point attempt was no good, and it was 12-12 with 9:12 left in the first half.
The Black and White would be the next team to break the scoreboard with 2:39 left in the second quarter as Varney found pay dirt on a 3-yard touchdown run. The 2-point attempt again was no good, and the visitors moved back in front 18-12.
Tug Valley led Mount View 18-12 as the teams headed into the halftime locker rooms.
With 6:00 left in the third quarter, Varney and May would hook up again for a touchdown, this time from 13 yards out. The two-point conversion was good with a catch by Balentine, and the Panthers extended their lead to 26-12.
On the next Golden Knight Drive, Tug junior defensive back Shane Russell would intercept a pass from Rose and return it all the way to the MVHS 9-yard line.
Afterward, Varney and May’s big nights would continue as they connected on yet another touchdown pass, this one from 9 yards away. The PAT was no good, and the Panthers now lead Mount View 32-12 with 4:39 left in the third quarter.
The hosts would inch a little bit closer on their next drive. With 4:07 left in the third quarter, Rose would throw a pass to Hall again, and he would catch it and run 51 yards to the house. Freshman place kicker Johnathan Huff’s extra point attempt was good, and they cut into the Valley lead 32-19.
Tug would extend their lead again on the next possession, however. It took just two plays for them to go 44 yards to the endzone, capping off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Varney to sophomore wide receiver Tanner Kirk with 2:52 remaining in the third quarter. Kirk’s PAT attempt was successful, and the Panthers propelled their lead to 20 again at 39-19.
Mount View’s next offensive drive would stall. On their next possession after that, Rose would be tackled in the end zone for a safety, and the lead would extend to 41-19 Tug Valley.
The road team wasn’t done putting points on the board. With 2:31 left in the game, sophomore fullback Zack Savage would rush for a 1-yard score. Kirk’s PAT was good, and the Valley lead would swell to 48-19, which would be the final score.
Tug’s defense dominated the Golden Knight offense, outgaining them 432-130 in total offense, out-rushing them 229-13 on the ground and having a 25-2 edge in first downs.
Varney completed 15-25 passes for 203 yards and threw for five scores through the air. He also rushed 21 times for 90 yards and added a touchdown on the ground.
Savage had a fantastic night on the ground as well, rushing 21 times for 115 yards and a score.
May had a huge night receiving for the Panthers, hauling in seven catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns
Tug Valley welcomed back senior Parker Brewer who had missed every game so far this season. He was the Panthers leading rusher and tackler in the 2018 season. He had 25 yards on the ground on four carries and caught one pass for 13 yards while also picking up three tackles as he works his way into playing shape.
Balentine also played in his first contest this season as he contributed 11 yards receiving and 11 yards rushing while also catching the first score of the game for the Panthers.
Tug Valley (4-3) will look to build off this win as they return to Bob Brewer Stadium for their homecoming game next Friday night to take on Richwood. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Score by quarters
TVHS (4-3): 6 12 21 9 — 48
MVHS (3-4): 6 6 7 0 — 19
MVHS: 61-yard catch Hall (PAT no good) 7:08
TVHS: 4-yard catch Balentine (Two-point no good) 1:12
TVHS: 20-yard catch May (Two-point no good) 9:28
MVHS: 71-yard kick return Bailey (Two-point no good) 9:12
TVHS: 3-yard run Varney (Two-point no good) 2:39
TVHS: 13-yard catch May (Two-point by Balentine) 6:00
TVHS: 9-yard catch May (PAT no good) 4:39
MVHS: 51-yard catch Hall (PAT good by Huff) 4:07
TVHS: 21-yard catch Kirk (PAT good by Kirk) 2:52
TVHS: 1-yard run Savage (PAT good by Kirk) 2:31
Cameron Maynard is a freelance reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.