The Valley View Eagles looked like a team displeased with its blowout loss the week before and they took their pent-up frustrations out on the Nocona Indians on Friday, Sept. 20, in a big way.
Wave after wave, the Eagles dominated on both sides of the ball right from the jump to cruise to a 61-7 victory at John Kassen Field.
Leading the way in a multitude of areas was senior running back Clint Epperson, who totaled a trio of first-quarter touchdown runs, including a 67-yard highlight-reel carry on the Eagles’ second play of the game. He also added a blocked punt return for a touchdown and finished with five total touchdowns.
Epperson said the entire team had a terrific game.
“We played good tonight overall,” Epperson said. “I don’t remember the last time I had this good of a game and I don’t think I’ve ever recovered a punt block like that in my life, but it felt really nice to do it. We really needed this as a team. We were kind of down last week after we lost, but we had a good week of practice and I think we were in the right mindset when we came into the game.”
The game began with a bang as Epperson exploded for his 67-yard touchdown to give Valley View the 7-0 advantage just 25 seconds into the game.
The Eagles’ defense followed suit with a stout start as they held Nocona to a 3-and-out and punt that was returned to the Indians’ 38-yard line.
Epperson quickly moved the ball to the 16-yard line and two plays later he had his second touchdown of the game as he broke loose with a spin move up the gut of the Indians’ defense for a 16-yard score.
After a missed extra point, Valley View led 13-0.
It didn’t take long for the Eagles’ defense to make another stop and this time they did so in style as Jaxson James blocked the first of two first-half punts.
The first gave the Eagles prime field position at the Nocona 5-yard line.
Three rushes later Epperson punched in his third touchdown of the quarter on a 6-yard run to push the Eagles’ lead to 20-0 with 5:22 left in the quarter.
Valley View’s defense kept pouring on the pressure as it used back-to-back sacks to force a 3-and-out and punt to the Eagles’ 41-yard line.
Valley View moved the ball to the Nocona 33-yard line to close out the first quarter and they instantly picked up where they left off in the second as sophomore wideout Colby Lewis hauled in the 28-yard reception from junior quarterback Zach Isbell on the first play of the second frame to give the Eagles the 27-0 lead.
After yet another 3-and-out by the Indians’ offense, Isbell hooked up with Lewis again for a 5-yard touchdown to inflate the Eagles’ advantage to 34-0 with 7:17 left in the first half.
Valley View closed out its immaculate first half as the Eagles and James blocked another punt and this time Epperson scooped up the ball and returned it for a touchdown to push their lead to 40-0 with 4:53 left in the second frame.
Valley View’s offense sputtered on its first drive of the second half but its defense had its back while the offense rediscovered their scoring touch.
After forcing Nocona into a 3rd-and-long situation, a poor Indians’ punt set the table for the Eagles’ offense. Epperson capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run up the right side of the Indians’ defense to give Valley View the 47-0 with 4:24 left in the third stanza.
Yet another defensive stand by Valley View set up yet another bad Nocona punt to the Eagles’ 45-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, freshman Logan Lewis ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run up the left side to make it 54-0 with two seconds left in the third quarter.
Nocona stalled again on offense and Valley View again had premium field position. Lewis eventually gave the Eagles the 61-0 lead on a strong run at the goal line with just over nine minutes left in the game.
The Indians scored on a last-gas Haily Mary play with seconds remaining to erase the the Eagles’ shutout bid.
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip