By ASHLEIGH PEMBROKE
HOWE — A tough loss for Valley View to the Howe Bulldogs was greatly influenced by penalties and the weather Friday as the Eagles fell 7-6
Both teams had their share of turnovers, the first of which started when Valley View’s Cameron Vesperman blocked a kick late in the first quarter but the ball was given back to the Bulldogs on a penalty.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs tried to move the chains by running the ball but gave it back to the Eagles. Valley View then drove 50 yards into Bulldog territory thanks to catches by A.J. Kassen and runs by quarterback Scott Willis. Then on third down, Howe’s Towner Bailey picked off a pass and started a drive on the Bulldogs 30.
Howe tried their running game but could not convert and gave it back to the Eagles who brought the ball close but failed to get a first down on fourth and goal at the 10.
The game started getting muddier as Howe’s Casey David blocked an Eagle punt and recovered it for a touchdown. The extra point kick was good with 2:14 left in the second quarter and Howe led Valley View 7-0.
The third quarter began with big gains by the Eagles by Cameron Vesperman and Casey Boaz – which concluded with a TD carry on fourth and goal by the Eagles bringing them to within one point. Trouble started for the Eagles with a fumble on the extra point attempt that was recovered the Bulldogs with 6:07 left in the third.
Howe’s next drive was helped down the field by runs from Webber, but they again gave it back to the Eagles.
The fourth quarter began as the Eagles again brought the ball to the 3-yard line, but on first and goal the Eagles again fumbled and turned the ball over to the Bulldogs who couldn’t convert either. The Eagles next drive stagnated again and on the punt the muddy ground bogged down the Eagles as the punt was fumbled before it was kicked out of bounds and several penalties ended the play.
Subsequent drives by both teams couldn’t convert but several big runs and stops helped along the way including a sack and a stripped ball late in the fourth by Valley View’s Bo Davis.
The Bulldogs’ Rodriguez ran well for them proving to be slippier with big runs throughout the fourth quarter. The heartbreaker came in final stanza when Valley View’s Dustyn Whetzel ran for yardage and then completed a pass on fourth down that left the Eagles just a yard shy of a first down.
Howe ran out the clock – after several other penalties against the Eagles.
Despite the mud and the homecoming festivities, the most entertaining moment came in the third quarter when the umpire was tackled by Eagles and Bulldogs attempting to recover a fumble - covered in mud, this truly was a game where the “refs got dirty.”
By ASHLEIGH PEMBROKE