Analyst Jahangir Khan once noted, “Every winning streak will have to end sometime.”
Friday night at Dwight Bogle Stadium the Cave Spring football team decided that the best time for sometime was now.
Rolling out to a 17-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Cave Spring held on for dear life down the stretch as the Knights ran out the clock on Southwest County rival Hidden Valley for the 17-14 win.
The victory ended a nine-game winning streak by the Titans that dated back to 2010, including several that came down to final-minute dramatics, something that seemed unlikely this time around until the final minute arrived, with the game still on the line.
But Hidden Valley shot itself in the foot with untimely penalties, and out of timeouts, could only watch as Cave Spring was finally able to celebrate.
Hidden Valley had turned the game on a dime with six minutes to play as Titan quarterback Sam Dragovich got hot with a pair of touchdown passes sandwiched around a successful Hidden Valley onside kick to cut the Cave Spring advantage. to 17-14.
On the first score that started on its own 13-yard line, Dragovich hit Joey Strong on strikes of 27 and 34 yards before connecting with Tyler McDaniel on a 14-yard touchdown toss to cut the Cave Spring lead to 17-7 with just under five minutes left.
After Hidden Valley recovered the ensuing onside kick, Cave Spring junior Bryce Cooper forced a Titan fumble to stop the next Hidden Valley threat. But Cave Spring was forced to punt and Dragovich wasted no time for the second Hidden Valley score with a 35-yard pass to Steven Robertson, followed by an 18-yard touchdown throw to McDaniel with just under three minutes remaining.
Cave Spring recovered the onside kick and Cooper again rescued the Knights with a key 24-yard catch from Cave Spring quarterback Skylor Griffiths that led to the Knights bleeding the clock to zeroes.
Cave Spring had used an impressive ground game in the first half with Landon Altizer scoring on runs of 27 and 6 yards and pair of conversions by Tyler Mitchem that sent the Knights to the halftime break up 14-0. After a scoreless third quarter, Mitchem cleared the uprights early in the fourth quarter on a field goal from 39 yards that seemingly had the Knights firmly in control at 17-0.
But, in this rivalry, it’s never over until the clock expires.
The Cave Spring rushing game was led by Griffiths’ 79 yards, with Chris Hall adding 58 and Altizer getting 57 on the ground. The Knights only threw four passes all night.
Hidden Valley, basically shut out for three quarters before the aerial game heated up, saw Strong pull in 4 catches for 70 yards, Robertson hauling in 3 tosses for 57 yards and McDaniel pulling down 4 for 55 yards. The Titans had 8 had players with receptions.
Cave Spring ended the unique winter-spring abbreviated season with a 2-4 record, while Hidden Valley ended the campaign 1-5. Neither team qualified for Class 3D postseason play.