Valwood beats Brookwood on the road, eyes region championship
THOMASVILLE –– The Valwood Valiants are now 7-2 after their sixth straight win on Friday, beating Brookwood 44-29. They’re now set to play for the Region championship next week against Deerfield-Windsor.
When the Valiants needed to, they answered the call every time Brookwood got something going.
Valwood was trailing early 7-0 and they tied it up, then Aalah Brown’s scoop and score with the Jaheim James’s touchdown catch gave Valwood a 21-7 lead heading into halftime and all the momentum.
Brookwood scored a touchdown in the third quarter to close the gap, then Javan Wright took the following kickoff 75 yards to the house for six to give Valwood a 34-14 lead.
In the fourth Brookwood tried to mustard up a drive while down 34-21. Their march to the end zone was halted when Valwood forced a fumble and recovered it, then turned the turnover into three points after nailing a field goal.
Before the fat lady sang Brookwood made a last minute comeback effort with under two minutes left. Brookwood scored, converted the two-point conversion and made it just an eight point game. With 1:40 left Valwood immediately answered the call when Tyler Cross returned the onside kick for a touchdown and sealed the game at 44-29.
“Well, we’ve got good players,” said Valwood Head Coach Justin Henderson about their ability to answer when the opponents score. “So we have that explosiveness about us. If I was coaching against us, it would be how to bottle up all these guys. So, we’re going to have explosive plays and these kids never quit.”
Valwood started out the gates slow. Maybe it was the chilly weather or something in the air, but there was a mundane energy on the sidelines for the first few drives. Brookwood scored the first touchdown then held the Valiants on fourth down while they were in the red zone.
The energy shifted on next two touchdowns. Blaine Cooper trudged through six defenders for a score and Brown’s fumble recovery for six more put Valwood in the driver’s seat.
They didn’t look back after taking the lead, but they never closed out the game like they could have. Coach Henderson harped on this with the team after the game about how crucial it is to put teams away while they’re up, and the players are aware of it.
“We need to be able to finish the game better,” said Harrison Hamsley. “We were up two touchdowns at halftime, we had good momentum going into the third quarter, and we just kind of choked for a minute. But luckily we gained it back fast enough to come away with the dub.”
Valwood’s defense have been thieves all season and were no different against Brookwood. They forced four takeaways, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. They now have 18 total takeaways this season.
Blaine Cooper had another solid outing with 105 yards rushing and a touchdown, following up last week’s performance of 135 yards and three touchdowns. Cross anchored the defense and finished with 8.5 tackles, an interception and a kick return touchdown.
Valwood will gear up for the season finale and region championship game against Deerfield-Windsor next week.