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HILLSVILLE –– Hidden Valley did a lot of things very well Friday night. What the Titans did not do was mess around.
Of Hidden Valley’s eight scoring possessions, six took but a single play and a seventh was a two-play drive as the Titans hammered Carroll County 56-14 on the Cavaliers’ homecoming night at Tommy Thompson Field.
“We just didn’t get after it defensively,” Cavalier coach Tom Hale said. “We knew what was coming, they did what we’d seen them do on film, and we shut it down in the first quarter, but we weren’t ready to play tonight, that’s for sure.”
One-play touchdown drives can be difficult enough for a defense to deal with mentally, but the one right before the half all but did the Cavaliers in.
Trailing 21-0 and in dire need of a boost heading into halftime, Carroll County (1-4) drove 68 yards in eight plays, including a 40-yard Chris Marshall reception to the Titan 9. Connor Lundy scored 15 seconds before the half on a quarterback sneak from inside the 1 to cut Hidden Valley’s lead to two touchdowns.
But there were still those 15 seconds to go.
Following a 27-yard kick return to near midfield, Hidden Valley killed the Cavaliers’ momentum for the rest of the night when Jake Smiley flipped a short swing pass to Mason Dermott on the right side. Excellent downfield blocking and poor tackling allowed Dermott to cover the 53 yards as the half expired, giving the Titans a 28-7 lead at the break.
Hidden Valley ran eight offensive plays in the second half. Four of them were touchdowns.
A bad punt snap on Carroll’s first possession of the third period turned the ball over on downs at the Cavalier 18, and Dean Sayers made a sliding catch of a Smiley pass in the end zone on the next play for a 35-7 Hidden Valley lead.
The Titans (2-4) needed two plays to cover 45 yards on their next possession. Mason Dermott nearly made it another one-play drive, running 44 yards to the Cavalier 1, where he scored on the next play.
Hidden Valley went 3-and-out on its next possession and the Cavaliers answered with a 75-yard march in seven plays. Lundy hooked up with Marshall twice for 44 yards and Ethan Underwood capped the drive with a 5-yard run with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter.
But an onside kick rolled just four yards, setting up Hidden Valley at the Carroll 39. Walker Brand covered the distance on the next play to widen the lead back to four touchdowns, 49-14.
Hidden Valley capped the scoring with its sixth one-play possession, a 53-yard touchdown by Logan Brand on a toss sweep to the right.
“Just big play after big play, and it was all toss sweeps,” Hale said. “Every single one, except for that pass. All the others, that’s on us. I’m very disappointed.”
Neither team was able to move the ball until the late stages of the first quarter. Hidden Valley needed seven plays to move 80 yards, taking the lead for good on the third play of the second quarter when Walker Brand squirted through from the 5 to give the Titans the lead for good.
A pass batted into the air by cornerback Blake Dalton fell into Sayers’ hands, and the Titan wideout completed the 69-yard scoring play for a 14-0 lead at 9:14 of the second period.
Walker Brand scored from 67 yards away on a toss sweep with 2:59 left in the first half to give Hidden Valley a 21-0 lead before the Cavaliers got on the board just before the half.
The Titans rolled up 436 yards of offense on just 32 plays, including 208 yards on 16 Walker Brand carries. Smiley completed three passes, all for touchdowns, on six attempts for 140 yards.
Lundy finished 13-of-24 for 129 yards for Carroll. Perhaps the biggest bright spot was the play of Marshall, a senior without a reception to his credit through the first four games of the season. He had seven catches Friday for 108 yards.
Hidden Valley 56, Carroll Co. 14
Hidden Valley........0 28 14 14––56
Carroll County.......0 7 0 7––14
HV–W.Brand 5 run (L.Dermott kick) 10:55
HV–Sayers 69 pass from Smiley (L.Dermott kick) 9:14
HV–W.Brand 67 run (L.Dermott kick) 2:59
CC–Lundy 1 run (Goins kick) 0:15
HV–M.Dermott 53 pass from Smiley (L.Dermott kick) 0:00
HV–Sayers 18 pass from Smiley (L.Dermott kick) 10:50
HV–M.Dermott 1 run (L.Dermott kick) 8:28
CC–Underwood 5 run (Goins kick) 10:29
HV–W.Brand 39 run (L.Dermott kick) 10:16
HV–L.Brand 53 run (L.Dermott kick) 6:22
First downs 11 9
Rushes-yards 26-296 30-26
Yards passing 140 129
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-1 13-24-0
Return yards 62 69
Punts-average 3-27.3 7-26.3
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 4-30 1-5
RUSHING—Hidden Valley, W.Brand 16-208, L.Brand 1-53, M.Dermott 6-49, Atkins 1-0, Flicci 1-(-1), Smiley 1-(-13). Carroll County, Dalton 13-50, Blankenship 7-7, Mollett 1-0, Underwood 4-0, Lundy 2-(-6), Robinson 1-(-7), Goins 2-(-18).
PASSING–Hidden Valley, Smiley 3-6-1-140. Carroll County, Lundy 13-24-0-129.
RECEIVING–Hidden Valley, Sayers 2-87, M.Dermott 1-53. Carroll County, Marshall 7-108, Davis 2-8, Haga 1-7, Underwood 2-5, Edwards 1-1.