29 - 60Full Time
|Anderson||—||—||—||—||—||29||Overall Loss, Loss|
|West Valley||—||—||—||—||—||60||Overall Win, Win|
COTTONWOOD – All year long West Valley has showed glimpses of its state-championship-caliber offense. But even after Friday’s offensive explosion, the Eagles still feel like they haven’t plateaued.
West Valley racked up a season-high 628 yards offense in a 60-29 victory over rival Anderson in the South County Collision on Friday at The Pasture in the Tri Counties Bank Game of the Week.
“We’re climbing right now,” said Lambert, who rushed eight times for 212 yards and three touchdowns on the eve of his 18th birthday. “Last year we had (running back) Bailey (Sulzer) and he was a 10. This year we have a bunch of guys who are 9s … and when you have great skill guys and great linemen, you’ll have a state championship offense.”
West Valley’s 60 points was a season-high and the most points since beating Red Bluff 64-20 in 2015. An Ashtin Wacker fumble on the opening drive of the third quarter was answered with Gator Wilson connecting with Christian Teague on a 13-yard passing score for Anderson to cut the deficit to two at 25-23.
That’s when West Valley went from playing motivated to playing determined.
West Valley scored five times on its next 16 offensive plays with Lambert’s first three carries going for touchdown runs of 47, 23 and 89 yards – all on the same wing counter play.
“We have the ability to put mistakes in the past,” said Lambert on adjusting to adversity following the turnover. “Stuff happens in the game, we can’t be perfect. But we have the ability to respond and it’s because of guys like (offensive lineman) Bryan Miller who go right back in the huddle and say ‘let’s score here.’ ”
Following Lambert’s 47-yard score, Jake Best picked off Wilson, which set up Lambert’s 23-yard score to go up 16. Anderson brought it to a 10-point game when Marquice Crowell snagged a deep corner route and turned it into a 52-yard touchdown with 10:36 left to play.
But Anderson’s heavy pursuit on the sweep left the wing counter open again for Lambert to race up the middle for an 89-yard touchdown. Wyatt Reginato added a 6-yard score following an Anderson turnover on downs and West Valley finished the scoring in an odd way as Lambert fumbled at the 1 into the hands of Hayden Boyes for a touchdown.
“This is who we are,” said Miller, who helped pave the way for 471 rushing yards on 35 carries – a 13.5 average. “We finally got it together and figured out all of the pieces.”
Josh Aguilar finished with 119 yards on 10 carries and Reginato added 70 yards on eight carries for the Eagles (2-0 NAL, 7-0).
Anderson (0-1 NAL, 5-2) hung with West Valley for the first three quarters, mixing in runs from Devin Wilson to set up the passing game between Gator Wilson, Crowell and Teague. The Cubs led 14-13 when Crowell came down with a deep corner route and took it 68-yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
But Gator Wilson’s counterpart, Kitt McCloughan, had something to say about that. The Eagles’ senior quarterback found Lambert over the middle for a 68-yard touchdown to convert a 3rd and 10. Dylan Booth bounced a run outside for a 30-yard Eagles touchdown on the ensuing possession.
Anderson’s Brian Melendez added a 28-yard field goal before the half to trail 25-17 at intermission.
The Cubs pulled within two and missed the game-tying 2-point conversion midway through the third quarter, but they ran out of gas, said coach Don Trotter.
“Attrition. We got tired and they didn’t,” said Trotter. “That’s going to happen, we have a lot of guys going both ways. These kids are warriors, played their butts off. A couple breaks and a couple of catches there and it might be a different story.”
Gator Wilson completed 14-of-22 passes for 303 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Crowell caught six passes for 203 yards and two scores while Teague had the other eight receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. Devin Wilson ran 31 times for 106 yards.
McCloughan threw for 157 yards on 5-of-8 passing and a pair of scores.
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