In a battle of county foes, timely plays proved to be the difference.
Happy Valley picked up a 22-14 victory over Cloudland in the season opener on Friday night on Warrior Hill.
The defenses set the tone early as the teams swapped three-and-outs.
Cloudland’s Cayden Clarke intercepted a HV pass midway through the quarter, but the ‘Landers were unable to get anything going as the first quarter ended scoreless.
The Warriors took advantage of a defensive stop in the second quarter.
After Cloudland was stopped on fourth-and-short at their own 29, Happy Valley found the endzone when Reagan Ensor scored on a one-yard run.
The ‘Landers, however, stopped the two-point conversion.
Cloudland’s offense got things rolling as they marched down the field on a 12-play drive. The drive, however, ended when the Warriors stopped Cloudland on fourth-and-goal at the goalline with just over a minute left in the half.
The offenses continued to gain momentum in the second half.
HV took the opening kick and pushed the lead to 14-0 when Cole Deakins caught a 39-yard pass from Ensor.
The ‘Landers answered the bell as Kyle Birchfield capped off an impressive drive with a 33-yard run.
On the ensuing drive, HV pushed the lead to 22-6 after three complete quarters when Joseph Sowards caught a 10-yard pass from Ensor for the touchdown.
Cloudland marched back inside the HV 10 to open the fourth quarter, but a fumble ended the drive at the HV 7.
In the closing minutes, the ‘Landers continued to battle as Clarke caught a 22-yard pass from Camden Peppers, and Birchfield added the two-point conversion to close CHS within 22-14 with nine seconds remaining.
Cloudland attempted an onside kick, but Ezeikiel Yutzy covered up the ball to secure the win for HV.
Ensor finished the game 9-of-11 passing for 104 yards and two touchdowns, while Sowards had 65 yards on 12 carries.
Deakins finished with three catches with 48 yards.
Defensively, Bronson Norman, Maliek Clark, and Ben Stansell each recorded a sack.
Cloudland saw Gage McKinney lead the way with 127 yards with 13 runs, while Birchfield added 58 yards on 12 carries.
Peppers finished the game with 4-of-9 passing for 88 yards. Clarke had 79 yards on three catches.
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