Lumberjacks Hold Off Cee-Bees, 20-18
The Valley Lumberjacks’ Casey Pingley tallied 48-yard and 39-yard touchdowns Oct. 8 against the Clay-Battelle Cee-Bees on the way to the home team’s third victory of the season, 18-16. Helping out in the closing moments of the game was a tackle by Clay Ueltschy and Hunter Ring to stop an extra-point conversion by the Cee-Bees.
The ‘Jacks took the opening kick and marched down the field on runs by Pingley, Cody Bates, and Ueltschy before having to punt.
Ring stopped the Clay-Battelle punt returner in his tracks at the 24-yard line. Jon Smallwood would then meet a Cee-Bee ball carrier at the line and Pingley would drop their quarterback for an eight-yard loss, forcing a punt on a three-and-out. However, the punt drifted 53 yards, thanks to a generous bounce.
After a four-yard loss on Valley’s first run, Bates would gain all that back, plus one more yard, to open its second drive of the game. A pass play from Garrett Ueltschy to Clay Ueltschy looked to go the distance, but it was halted by a pass interference call at midfield.
Again the Cee-Bee defense held the ‘Jacks to negative yardage on a run from scrimmage. After a five-yard gainer by Bates, Garrett Ueltschy hit Drew Wade on a long gainer. However, the field judge came running in and called it incomplete, even though another, silent, official was only feet away. That forced the Lumberjacks to punt.
The Valley defensive line, headed by Pingley and Smallwood, forced a three-and-out and the ‘Jacks took over at their own 29 yard line, with 2:27 left in period one.
Pingley scampered five yards on the first play from scrimmage, but on the next play Garrett Ueltschy pitched the ball too high and the Cee-Bees recovered in excellent field position at the 20 yard line.
After three straight runs, the period ended with neither team denting the scoreboard. Clay-Battelle would be successful on a fake kick that moved the chains to the three yard line. After a pair of runs was stopped short of the goal line, the Killer Bees stung the Lumberjacks on a one-yard plunge. The kick failed and Clay-Battelle led 6-0 early in the second period.
Pingley mishandled the kickoff, but Bates was Johnny-on-the-Spot to recover the slippery fellow. After a run for no gain, Garrett Ueltschy pitched to Wade for an 11-yard run and Bates would carry several Cee-Bee defenders for a seven-yard run that got the Valley crowd to its feet.
Bates had the Valley Chain Crew of Rob Carter, Alan Miller, and Tim Starkey move the chains once again. Later in the drive, Bates kept the Chain Crew busy when he broke loose on a 14-yard run, thanks to a key block by Clay Ueltschy. Facing a fourth down, Valley took a time out to set up a play with 6:56 left in the first half.
Garrett Ueltschy faked a pitch and rambled for seven yards to move the chains once more. Garrett rushed for eight more yards and Pingley gave the good guys a first down at their own 13 yard line.
Wade gained three yards on a sweep and the Clay-Battelle defense stopped the ‘Jacks for a five-yard loss and forced them into another fourth down situation. Valley called another TO, but this time Clay-Battelle stopped Valley on downs and took over with 3:30 left in the half.
The Cee-Bees moved out of Harm’s Way on a nice gainer, but the ball came back to the original line of scrimmage because of a block in the back. But, Clay-Battelle got another nice gainer to get out of trouble. They moved the ball all the way to midfield with 28 ticks left on the clock.
The Cee-Bees moved the chains on a nice pass play, but a holding call and a motion penalty had them back to the 41 yard line with four seconds remaining. The Cee-Bees let it fly at the halftime buzzer, but the ‘Jacks swatted away the pass to end the half with Clay-Battelle clinging to a 6-0 lead.
During the half time ceremonies, the Lumberjack Marching Band put on quite a show. Headed by soloists Ezra Rice, Brady Nolan, and Bryan Sell, the ‘Jack band of 36 members played “Any Way You Want It,” “Don’t Stop Believing.” “Open Arms”, and “Separate Ways” to the enjoyment of the crowd.
The band had just returned from competition at Sissonville, where it received first place for best soloist, second place in overall playing, and third place in the large band competition. “I’m very proud of the work my kids have put in. We knew it would be tough this year, but they rose to the challenge,” said Valley Band Director Donald Taylor.
Back on the gridiron, the Lumberjack defense held the powerful Cee-Bee offense to 70 total yards, while Valley tallied over 100 yards.
Pingley greeted the CB kick returner with a tackle that made some mothers cover their small children’s eyes and Ring made a nice open-field tackle to force the visitors to punt.
Valley took over at its own 21 yard line and moved the chains twice before Pingley outran the defense for a 48-yard TD run. Kody Jenkins, back from a concussion two weeks ago against Toronto, split the uprights on the PAT.
Clay-Battelle returned the ensuing kick to the 41-yard line, but a block in the back placed the ball at the 28 yard line. After a Dino Highley tackle for a loss of yardage, Clay Ueltschy scooped up a backwards pass and gained 12 yards to set the tables for a Bates two-yard TD run. After a failed kick, Valley led 13-6
The Cee-Bees returned the kickoff close to midfield, and, after a VHS personal foul, the Killer Bees would start the drive on the ‘Jacks’ 35 yard line. A swarming Lumberjack defense laid out a Battelle runner, but a second personal foul moved the ball all the way to the 19 yard line. Clay-Battelle would convert on a 15-yard run for another touchdown, but the ‘Jacks denied the PAT to cling to a 13-12 lead with 2:06 left in period three.
The Cee-Bees recovered an onside kick at the 42 yard line, but the ‘Jacks would get the ball back on a fumble recovery from Spencer Mason caused by a swarm of Lumberjacks.
Pingley and Garrett Ueltschy gained positive yardage to give the ‘Jacks a new set of downs. After two straight negative-yard plays, the third period ended with Valley still on top, 13-12. After an incomplete pass, Valley was forced to punt, which rolled dead at the 21.
On the first play, Highley gave the Cee-Bee ball carrier a headache with a nasty tackle after he ran for a first down. The CBs took a holding call penalty, after which Pingley was up to his old tricks and pressured the Cee-Bee quarterback into throwing the ball away instead of taking a beating. That forced a Cee-Bee punt.
The Lumberjacks took over at the 24 yard line. After negative yards on the first play from scrimmage, Pingley would scamper 13 yards on a pair of runs to move the sticks. Wade would make a nice catch from a Garrett Ueltschy pass, despite being crowded by defenders. Valley was rewarded 15 more yards when the Killer Bees were caught on a personal foul for hitting Ueltschy after the pass.
Bates and Pingley dragged several Cee-Bees on a pair of seven-yard runs that gave them a first down. Pingley then broke several would-be tacklers on his way to a 39-yard TD scamper, giving the hosts a 20-12 lead after the second Jenkins PAT. It was Jenkins’ second successful PAT and it made a difference.
The visitors returned the kick to the 28 yard line. Ring made an outstanding defensive play to swat away a pass attempt. The CBs moved the ball into ‘Jack territory on a long pass completion, with 6:02 left in regulation.
Clay Ueltschy pounced on the CB quarterback for a sack. After a dropped pass on a fourth down call, the good guys took over. The Lumberjacks gave the ball back to Clay-Battelle after a short punt at midfield with 3:31 left in the game. They were guilty of holding, which pushed them back to the 38 yard line.
The visitors gained quality yards on a run to the 23 yard line, injuring Bates on the tackle. The EMS unit came out, but Bates got up and hopped to the sidelines.
When play resumed, Clay-Battelle worked the ball all the way to the three yard line with 36 seconds left to play. With all the signs of overtime looking everyone in the face, the CBs finally scored after the three straight tries. That’s when Bates and the rest of the VHS bench got the Valley crowd worked up. Clay Ueltschy and Hunter Ring stopped a CB ball carrier before he could cross the goal line to tie the score.
However, there was still 30 seconds left in the game with an onside kick still to come. Quality Lumberjack receivers went to the line to recover the kick, which Clay Ueltschy hauled in. Valley ran out the clock by taking a knee to give fans their money’s worth from this game.
The Clay-Battelle players, coaching staff, and fans showed outstanding sportsmanship after the game. It was a good, old-fashioned high school football game with outstanding offense and defense through-out.
“Clay-Battelle moved the ball well in the second half,” said VHS Head Coach Tom West. “We made some mental mistakes and gave up some big plays and costly penalties. Our backs ran hard and our line did a good job throughout the game. It was nice to see our kicker back.”
The Valley front line of Vance Hubbard, Spencer Mason, Davie Sivert, Cameron Price, Patrick McGraw, Dino Highley, and Troy Rush, along with ends Jon Smallwood and Clay Ueltschy, made it possible for the ‘Jack running backs to gain the yards that they did.
The ‘Jack defensive front line played an exceptional game as well as the 12th man – the fans.
“The backs ran hard,” said West. Pingley rushed for 146 yards and a pair of TDs, while Bates tacked on 61 yards and a touchdown before getting injured. Garrett Ueltschy conducted the offense quite well, adding 39 yards rushing and connecting on big passes in the air. Wade and Clay Ueltschy both gained positive yardage from the ground.
Defensively, Pingley, Clay Ueltschy, and Ring each tallied a quarterback sack. Garrett Ueltschy paced the ‘Jacks with a game-high 11 tackles, while Smallwood added 10. Clay Ueltschy contributed nine tackles, while Sivert and Wade each hauled down seven Cee-Bee opponents.
The Lumberjacks will look to improve their record Friday, Oct. 15, at Frontier High School, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.