SPRING VALLEY — Hall coach Randy Tieman knew he’d have to rely heavily on his defense to contain Bureau Valley’s shifty quarterback Parker Neuhalfen if he wanted to avenge last year’s 42-21 defeat at the hands of the Storm.
The Red Devils’ defense stepped up in a big way holding the BV offense to just 13 points en route to a 23-20 victory Friday night at Richard Nesti Stadium in Spring Valley.
“I said we’re going to hang our hat on our defense and I’ll tell you what those guys came to play,” Tieman said. “They played their assignments. We got beat on a halfback pass and on a broken down run play that we had tied up in the backfield, so our kids game to play and we shut down a good offense. They’re a very good offense.”
Each team had trouble getting their foot under them in the first quarter as they traded punts and struggled to get going offensively.
“We didn’t start off real well. We didn’t move the ball on the run, a lot of that’s my fault and we just need to do a better job of play calling. It was a good physical football game, they’re a tough team, they’re very physical they’re running back (Hammonds) he’s a horse and he did a good job. We have those kind of players too and a lot of it’s just my fault,” Bureau Valley coach Spencer Davis said.”Obviously being a first year coach I wasn’t as organized as we needed to be and I just didn’t make the necessary adjustments throughout the game.”
The first points of the contest came after an unnecessary late hit by the Storm defense set up Hall inside the red zone. Hall would eventually settle for a 13-yard field goal by Matt Krolak to take a 3-0 lead with 8:39 to play in the half.
Another 15-yard penalty would again set the Hall offense up in the red zone as senior back Tyler Taber caught a corner and raced 14-yards down the left sideline and suffered a blow to the head.
Less than two minutes later senior running back Chris Hammonds would hit paydirt on an inside hand off from the two yard line extending the Red Devil lead to 10-0.
After keeping Neuhalfen in check for the entire first half, the always opportune player took advantage of a broken play with 24.8 seconds in the half as he spotted a hole on the ride side and dashed down sideline outracing the Hall defense for 74 yards and cutting into the Red Devils’ lead making the score 10-6 going before the break. BV’s two-point conversion would fail.
An interception by junior Jake Merkel with 10:36 to play in the third set up the second Hall touchdown of the night as senior Andrew Kerr muscled his way in from yard out at the 8:12 mark to make the score 17-6.
Hammonds showed signs of cramping early in the game but didn’t come out until he scampered for a 27-yard gain and immediately grabbed for his calves.
“You just gotta have heart, you know? I didn’t expect to cramp up there was like seven guys cramping up it was crazy. I just thank my lord and savior he gave me the strength, gave us the strength to come away with this W,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds would again break free for another touchdown and he dashed through the heart of the BV defense and raced 45 yards for his second TD of the game.
“I see us playing harder and harder everyday,” Hammonds said. “There’s not one guy on this team that wasn’t helping another person out and that’s what we need team chemistry we need to build this is a brotherhood this isn’t one guy running doing what’s he does this is a brother hood we need to play together and that’s what we do.”
BV continued to battle in the late stages of the game as senior Josh Mead completed an 84-yard flea flicker to receiver Tommy Johnston down the right sideline with 2:32 seconds to play to end the scoring at 23-13.
Although Hammonds had the tenacity to fight through his leg cramps, something numbers other Red Devils were also dealing with, he credits his teammates, particular his offensive line for giving him the opportunities he had Friday night and expects for his team to improve as the season goes on.
“Tonight, I did not come here thinking that our line was going to do what they did. Every time I was going somewhere I saw a hole and I did not expect that tonight,” Hammonds said. “Our boys stepped up in a way that’s unbelievable and I thank them because with out them that would not have happened. I know a lot of people say that but that’s the truth, I couldn’t have done it with out them, so, I thank the team.”
Hammonds led all backs with 181 yards on 13 carries and two scores while Kerr added 58 yards on 13 carries and also had a touchdown.
Nelson lead the Red Devils’ defense with seven total tackles and Jared Puente added four tackles and two sacks.
• BV won the sophomore contest 34-0.
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