MIDLAND VALLEY 35, BAPTIST HILL 0
GRANITEVILLE — Any sign of defensive struggles disappeared for Midland Valley on Friday, as the Mustangs shut out Baptist Hill 35-0.
A week after surrendering 53 points and more than 500 yards in a loss to Silver Bluff, Midland Valley (3-2) limited the Bobcats (4-2) to 181 total yards of offense.
Head coach Rick Knight was glad to see his offense continue to put up points, but it was the defensive effort that impressed him most.
“It was pleasing to come out and get a zero on the other end, after the kind of defense we’ve been playing for the last month,” he said.
Central to the performance was senior defensive end Justin Gray, who tallied 2½ sacks despite coming out once the game was well in hand early in the second half. Gray said the feeling of stopping athletic Baptist Hill quarterback Troy Harrison was almost too much for words. He found a few to describe it, though.
“It’s like fireworks going off inside. It’s like every possible feeling you could imagine at once, all positive,” he said. “It’s just amazing. I can’t explain it right now.”
Midland Valley’s offense didn’t let the defense have all the fun, though. They started the night’s scoring with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Carr to Kameron Brown less than four minutes into the game, which was followed later in the quarter by a 39-yard interception return for a score by Garrett Boatwright.
While Carr finished the night 9-for-16 with 166 yards and a pair of touchdown strikes to Brown, Knight said it was the ground game that was the focus for the Mustangs. He cited the Bobcats’ talented secondary as reason to keep the ball out of the skies as much as possible.
“We made an effort tonight to really run the football,” he said. “We planned it all week.”
The plan worked, with Carr adding 16 carries for 129 yards to his passing totals, which included six runs of 10 yards or more. His cousin Dré Carr added 17 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns despite being hobbled a bit.
Dré scored the first touchdown of the second quarter on a 7-yard run that was set up by a 52-yard reception by Logan Wheat, who finished the night as the Mustangs’ leading receiver with 73 yards on three catches. Daniel Carr found Brown a second time before half from 9 yards out to effectively end the game, even though Dré Carr added a final touchdown in the third quarter before most of the starters came out.
Justin Mealing kept the Bobcats out of the endzone with an interception near the goal line to turn away the visitors’ most serious threat.
Knight said that he turned to the heavens for assistance with his defense.
“I was praying over there quite a bit,” he said. “We put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, as you can see we have a tough time catching people.”
That resulted in six sacks for the team and another time when Harrison – who ran the ball 22 times for 41 yards – ran out of bounds for a loss. The effort was led by Gray, who had several more stops near the line of scrimmage and Knight said has lost weight but gained speed over the last year or so.
“He had a heck of a game. I mean, he fought hard,” Knight said of Gray.
The senior defensive end said that tossing a shutout was important for a unit that had given up 32 points or more in each of its first four games. That may prove to be crucial with Region 5-AAA play beginning next week at Gilbert (3-2). The Indians have scored 21 or more points in every game so far this year.
“It’s a major confidence boost,” Gray said of the dominating win. “Our morale is so up there right now. I can’t believe it.”
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.
BH 0 0 0 0 – 0
MV 14 14 7 0 – 35
MV–Daniel Carr 17 pass to Kameron Brown (Jaquan McCorkle kick) 8:08.
MV–Garrett Boatwright 39 interception return (kick failed) 1:29.
MV–Dré Carr 7 run (2-point pass Daniel Carr to Logan Wheat) 9:20.
MV–Daniel Carr 9 pass to Brown (McCorkle kick) 1:37.
MV–Dré Carr 3 run (McCorkle kick) 4:05.
BH–Rashad Holmes 3-6, De’Angelo Frasier 1-6, Troy Harrison 22-41, Dakota Holmes 5-9, Glenn Grant 3-11, Team 1-10. Totals 35-83.
MV–Dré Carr 17-115-2TD, Daniel Carr 16-129, Derrick O’Conner 1-(-1), Drekwon Carr 4-(-1), McCorkle 2-5. Totals 40-247-2TD.
MV–Daniel Carr 9-16-166-2TD-0INT.
BH–D. Holmes 2-21, R. Holmes 1-(-1), Shaquille Coles 2-17, Dominique Brant 2-14, De’Angelo Frasier 1-22, Dajon Gadsden 1-12, Grant 1-13.
MV–Brown 4-63-2TD, Christian Beecher 1-18, Wheat 3-73, Trenton Baughman 1-12.
MV–Boatwright 1-39-1TD, Justin Mealing 1-0.