Hidden Valley Tops PH 42-35 In Opening Night Shootout

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)Hidden Valley running back Jovan Wilson drives for yardage while dragging a quartet of PH defenders in tow.

Fans at Bogle Stadium were asking a lot of questions Friday night. One thing they didn’t ask for was their money back.

In a classic high school football opener that saw 77 points, over 500 passing yards that included nine touchdown tosses, 38 first downs, 80 rushing plays for over 300 yards, 27 penalties, 4 interceptions, five lead changes and five ties, Hidden Valley held off a last second desperation heave by Patriot quarterback Roy Gunn to preserve the 42-35 win for the Titans.
Not only did the players need oxygen afterward, the spectators themselves were taking a deep breath after the marathon that took over three hours.
And, if not for a miscue on an otherwise perfectly executed hook and ladder trick play by Patrick Henry on the next-to-last play, this one had every look to be heading to overtime.
The win for Hidden Valley broke a 10-year losing streak to PH in what has become the traditional season opener for both teams.
On this night it was a virtual highlight reel performance by both quarterbacks, Hidden Valley’s Grayson Carroll and Patrick Henry’s Roy Gunn.
Carroll threw for five touchdowns ranging from 4 to 34 yards, including four to 6-foot-4 senior tight end Kelly Mitchell along with the 34-yard connection with 6-4 junior Tyler McDaniel.
Gunn provided the more spectacular route, hitting on tosses of 45 and 74 yards to junior Trace Pedigo along with a 17-yard strike to junior Gavin McCormick that gave PH its first lead with 10:01 left in the second quarter, and a 78-yard bomb to sophomore Taeshaun Webb in the fourth quarter that tied things 35.
Hidden Valley made its biggest push after falling behind 14-7 when it scored twice in the second quarter after a fumble recovery and a blocked punt by Mitchell to go up 21-14 at the break. The Titans followed by one of Mitchell’s touchdown catches on the opening drive of the second half that pushed their lead to 28-14.
Gunn and the Patriots came right back with the 74-yard strike to Pedigo and a 40-yard run by senior Jalen Cook that made it 28-28. Cook fell one yard short of rushing for 100 yards in his 14 carries.
After trading two more touchdowns, Hidden Valley got the winning score with 2:10 left in the game when senior running back Jovan Wilson found the end zone from 10 yards out to finish the night with a game-high 122 rushing yards.
Hidden Valley then held on for dear life before junior Matt Strong intercepted Gunn’s pass to the end zone as time expired.
Playing a huge part in the Titan win was their offensive line which created opportunities all evening for both the Titan rushing and passing game to mix up the plays.
Gunn has quickly established himself as a prime time quarterback, after hitting for 365 yards on 18-of-27 attempts. The seasoned Carroll was likewise impressive, connecting on 15-of-26 for 188 yards.
The senior kickers for both teams were perfect on conversions, with Hidden Valley’s Jack Greene making all six of his attempts, while Patriot kicker George Langhammer split the uprights after the five Patrick Henry scores.
Hidden Valley travels to Vinton next Friday night to take on William Byrd, a winner over Cave Spring on opening night, while Patrick Henry will look for its first win at home against Brookville, a loser in a nail biter to Lord Botetourt on Friday.
Bill Turner