By Mark Schraf
The Dominion Post
Class A No. 8-rated Clay-Battelle’s defense was less than perfect in giving up big plays, but its offense was solid enough for the Cee-Bees to hold on for a 33-28 victory in a first-round Class A playoff game against No. 9 Valley Saturday.
Clay-Battelle (10-1) broke the ice on its first possession with a 14-play, 77-yard drive that featured a fake punt and a Wildcat formation 6-yard TD run by Shayne Hinkle. The Cee-Bees extended their lead to 13-0 after forcing a turnover on downs. Hinkle swept left end for 46 yards, then quarterback Tristan Haught found tight end Logan Opyoke alone in the end zone from 19 yards out.
The Greyhounds (8-3) took advantage of consecutive long rushing gains on their next possession to score, with quarterback Raeshawn Breckenridge sliding in from 1 yard out.
After Valley pulled to within a touchdown, Clay-Battelle’s Nathan Tolley caught a crucial 15-yard touchdown pass from Haught with three seconds left in the first half, pushing the lead back out to 19-6.
“That play was a real big one,” said Valley coach Benny Hopkins.
Later in the game, a blown coverage left Greyhounds wide receiver Dante Wilkerson open by 40 yards, and Breckenridge had only to float the ball downfield to complete the 49-yard touchdown pass.
Valley added another TD on a 13-yard scramble by Breckenridge and a 2-point conversion.
The elusive Breckenridge weaved his way to a 36-yard TD run with eight seconds left.
Clay-Battelle’s line play and the tough running of Hinkle (201 yards and three TDs on 30 carries) were just too much for Valley to overcome.
“We couldn’t block those guys up front,” said Hopkins. “They kind of manhandled us.
“We just didn’t play very well. We kind of sat and waited on them instead of attacking.”
“We had a good year,” he added. “Our seniors did a pretty good job for us, and I think we kind of surprised a few people.”
Clay-Battelle plays at No. 1 Tucker County this weekend.
(Steve Keenan contributed to this story).