Valwood in the News

Valwood falls short in 4th quarter, loses to NFC

October 9, 2019

TALLAHASSEE –– The game between Valwood and North Florida Christian turned out to be an instant classic.

Big plays happened one after another, after another.

But only one team can walk away a winner, and this time it was NFC taking home the W, 41-35.

There are three parts to a football game, and special teams was something special for NFC. Three kickoffs were returned for a touchdown and that basically won them the game.

Valwood dominated the offensive and defensive battle throughout, but a fumble taken to the house and three kick returns for a touchdown gave NFC 28 of their 41 points.

“I think we have the pieces in place,” said Valwood Head Coach Justin Henderson. “On offense and defense, we’re getting closer and closer, got to work on special teams evidently… It’s disappointing but overall, I’m proud. They fought their tails off.”

The fourth quarter was where the show began. It was tied 21-21.

On the first play Aalah Brown made a catch and took off down the sideline for a touchdown on a screen play.

Valwood’s momentum came and was taken away just as fast as NFC returned the following kickoff for a touchdown to tie the game back up 28-28.

They traded scores again, NFC returned a fumble for six and Valwood marched down the field to set up a Blaine Cooper touchdown run.

Once again, the game was tied, now 35-35 with just over three minutes to go.

Right when everyone slid to edge of their seats as Valwood kicked the ball off after Cooper’s touchdown, you guessed it, NFC took it all the way back to the crib for a touchdown.

Down 41-35 with plenty of time remaining, Valwood marched down field and was in the redzone with just over a minute left. But NFC’s defense held up and sealed the game after stopping the Valiants on fourth down.

“I’m proud of them,” Henderson said about his team. “I know I’m sick to my stomach with disappointment and so are they, but they fought their tails off. Last time we came down here and lost in the fourth quarter we won state, so if you believe in superstitions then we should be alright by the end of the year.”

Valwood shouldn’t walk away with the heads down, Henderson said this would be their toughest challenge of the year leading up to this game and it was. The good part is, they won two aspects of the football game, worst part is, they got killed by the third one.

Even in the loss, there were some Valwood players that had exceptional performances. Brown had a tremendous game, ending with nine catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper racked up 104 yards with two touchdowns on the ground, and Zach Paulk threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns.

“We’re going to be fine,” said Henderson. “The way our schedule always stacks up after these first three games, I always say if I go 1-2 or 2-1, I’d be pretty pleased. Now knowing that we could’ve won all three, I’m a little bit disappointed but we’re right where we need to be going into our crossover games starting next week with Heritage.”

Valwood got off to an early 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter, and it seemed like a smackdown in the making. Brown already had two touchdowns and Cooper looked like a man amongst boys.

NFC answered with their first touchdown coming from a kick return. After halftime, they drove down the field for another touchdown, making the game 21-14. The tide was turning.

Another NFC touchdown tied the game up 21-21. Valwood’s momentum was gone, key players were getting hurt, and their vigor started to slowly fade away.

The rest is history.

Now 1-2 on the season, Valwood is already looking forward to practice and taking their disappointment out on Heritage next Friday.

 “Hard workers,” Cooper said about his teammates. “Everybody fought until the last minute and we just couldn’t get a hold of them towards the end. We had a few plays that put us behind, and that’s pretty much it… (we’ll) get all the kinks out and take our anger out on Heritage, Friday.”