It was a tough night for Cave Spring which just couldn’t get anything going to get over the hump. Senior quaterback Lucas Duncan, playing in his last game as the Knights’ leader, gave a yeoman effort, running for 89 yards on 24 carries and throwing for over 80 yards to 7 different receivers while taking some big hits from the Titan defense all evening. Another Cave Spring senior who stood out with an impressive encore performance was punter Cameron Killinger, the soccer-style kicker who launched some great kicks in very tough conditions.
There was a hilarious sign of impending weather problems Friday night at Dwight Bogle Stadium when a fan came through the lower gate with ski poles in each hand.
Yep, it was by far the coldest night of the high school football season thus far with temperatures dipping into the 20s by the third quarter, but the bright moonlit sky dispelled worries that a significant snow would be accumulating on the artificial turf.
Regardless, the Hidden Valley Titans looked like they were prepared for any unforeseen conditions.
Riding the masterful ground game of junior running back Matt Strong, Hidden Valley scored touchdowns in each of the four quarters on their way to the 35-0 regular season finale in the Southwest County rivalry matchup historically punctuated by close scores.
Strong was like a workhorse pulling the carriage through a snowy meadow, carrying the ball 35 times for 197 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns on plunges from 1 and 3-yards out. Driving the Titan sleigh was senior quarterback Grayson Carroll, who finished off long drives with touchdown runs of 5 and 10 yards, plus throwing a 3-yard scoring pass to fellow senior Stephen Bell with just over a minute left in the second quarter, culminating an 80-yard drive that staked Hidden Valley to a 21-0 lead at the halftime break.
Hidden Valley made it 28-0 with a 68-yard scoring drive on their first possession of the third quarter set up by a nifty 29-yard pass from Carroll to junior Cross Thompson that led to Strong’s second touchdown run.
After stopping Cave Spring on downs late in the third quarter in Knights territory, Hidden Valley scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 35-0 after Titan senior kicker Jack Greene split the uprights for his fifth extra point of the night. With 11:53 left in the game and the 35-point Titan lead, head referee Randy Likens emphatically motioned to the clock operator for the continuous running clock as the mercury kept dropping and hot chocolate was in high demand from the brave fans who had endured Jack Frost.
In the final minutes, an impressive fireworks display just outside the stadium from sources unknown lit up the Bogle sky. But, referee Likens made it clear…..keep the clock moving, it’s freezing out here.
Hidden Valley advances to next week’s Class-3 postseason playoff action, while Cave Spring’s season came to an end with brighter Friday nights down the road. The Knights have endured a very trying year as the remodeling of Cave Spring High School continues, leaving the team out of its routine for practice, conditioning and preparation, which will hopefully be in the rear view mirror by next season.