SPRING VALLEY – Hall Red Devils head Coach Randy Tieman knew he’d have to rely heavily on his defense to contain Bureau Valley's shifty quarterback Parker Neuhalfen, if he wanted to start to avenge last year's 42-21 defeat at the hands of the Storm.
The Red Devils defense stepped up in a big way, holding the BV offense to just 13 points en route to a 23-13 victory Friday night at Richard Nesti Stadium.
“I said we’re going to hang our hat on our defense, and I’ll tell you what those guys came to play,” Tieman said. “They played their assignments. We got beat on a half-back pass, and on a broken down run play that we had tied up in the backfield, so our kids came to play, and we shut down a good offense. They’re a very good offense.”
Each team had trouble getting their feet under them in the first quarter, as they traded punts and struggled to get going offensively.
“We didn’t start off real well. We didn’t move the ball on the run, a lot of that's my fault, and we just need to do a better job of play calling. It was a good physical football game, they’re a tough team. They’re running back [Hammonds], he’s a horse, and he did a good job. We have those kind of players too, and a lot of it's just my fault," Bureau Valley coach Spencer Davis said. "Obviously being a first-year coach, I wasn’t as organized as we needed to be, and I just didn’t make the necessary adjustments throughout the game.”
The first points came after a late hit by the Storm defense set up Hall inside the red zone. Hall would eventually settle for a 13-yard field goal by Matt Krolak to take a 3-0 lead with 8:39 to play in the half.
Another 15-yard penalty would again set the Hall offense up in the redz one as senior back Tyler Taber caught a corner, and raced 14-yards down the left sideline and suffered a blow to the head.
Less than 2 minutes later senior, running back Chris Hammonds would hit pay dirt on an inside handoff from the 2-yard-line extending the Red Devil lead to 10-0.
After keeping Nuehalfen in check for the entire first half, the always opportune quarterback took advantage of a broken play with 24.8 seconds in the half. As he spotted a hole on the right side and dashed down sideline outracing the Hall defense for 74 yards for a touchdown. The run cut the deficit to 10-6.
An interception by junior Jake Merkle set up the second Hall touchdown, as senior Andrew Kerr muscled his way in from a yard out at the 8:12 mark to make the score 17-6.
Hammonds showed signs of cramping early in the game, but didn’t come out until he scampered for a 27-yard gain and immediately grabbed for his calves.
Hammonds would again break free for another touchdown, and he dashed through the heart of the BV defense and raced 45 yards for his second TD of the game.
“I see us playing harder and harder everyday,” Hammonds said. “There’s not one guy on this team that wasn’t helping another person out, and that's team chemistry."
BV continued to battle in the late stages of the game, as senior Josh Meade completed an 84-yard flea-flicker to receiver Tommy Johnston down the right sideline with 2:32 to play to end the scoring at 23-13.