WINFIELD - In a season-ending matchup of two strong offensive attacks, Spring Valley proved to be a bit more durable than Winfield, churing out a 41-7 victory over the Generals Friday night.
The Timberwolves (7-3) came into the game ranked No. 7 in the latest Class AAA state rankings and needed the win to assure at least a first-round home playoff game.
"This game could have been a bad one for us but our senior leadership came through," said Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess. "They never let the team lose focus."
As the Timberwolves have done all season, they relied on a big young line to open holes for the solid rushing tandem of seniors Ryan George and Elijah Wellman.
"We could have came out and just ran the ball like we normally do but I thought we threw the ball better than we usually do tonight," Dingess said. "We're playing really well right now. Our quarterback is just a sophomore but he's really grown up since the beginning of the season. Where I thought we won this game was our defense. Our defense played exceptionally well tonight."
Winfield (4-6) finished up a somewhat turnaround season that nearly earned the Generals their first AAA playoff slot. They were mathematically alive going into Friday's game.
"Even though we had a few deficiencies this season, we like our skill coming back next year," said Generals coach Craig Snyder. "We have to improve on the fundamentals of blocking and tackling in the offseason.
"A lot of people didn't expect us to do as well as we did but I'm proud of this team and what we accomplished."
The Timberwolves led off the scoring on a 6-yard jaunt by George after a 42-yard catch and run from quarterback Tyler Brown to sophomore Ty Robertson. After a Winfield three-and-out, Wellman took the snap from center and found senior Patrick Eastham all alone down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown toss, giving his team an early 14-0 lead.
The Generals' leading rusher, Seth Lewis, was held to 54 yards on 19 carries.
"They are big and physical and we couldn't overcome that. They have a good team and I want to thank Brad Dingess as he is a quality coach and a gentleman," said Snyder.
The second half saw the Timberwolves continue to show their offensive muscle as Robertson made a highlight reel one-handed catch of a 22-yard pass from Brown for another touchdown, making the score 41-0. Brown finished 6 of 12 passing for 157 yards and added another 122 yards on six carries.
The first offensive play of the game for the Generals was a designed snap and kneel-down by senior Jeremy Huff, who was then carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates. Huff has been battling the effects of a brain tumor.