PARKERSBURG - Valley's victory tour came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon.
Payton Sturm threw for four touchdowns and Parkersburg Catholic forced four turnovers in taking a 37-14 win over the state-ranked Greyhounds at Stadium Field.
Valley (6-1), which came into the game as one of seven remaining unbeaten teams in West Virginia and ranked No. 4 in Class A, threw three interceptions, lost a fumble at its own 37 to set up a Crusader score and incurred eight penalties.
"We haven't played very well at times this year,'' said Valley coach Benny Hopkins, "but we've been able to survive a couple times. Today we had several kids who didn't play and we had a defensive end get hurt in the first quarter, so we're playing with several kids who hadn't played very much, and I guess it makes a difference. But you can't take anything away from [the Crusaders]. They played a good game.''
Catholic (4-4) flashed a balanced offense, ending up with 174 yards rushing and 173 passing.
Sturm hit on 12 of 21 passes for 173 yards and hit three different receivers with scoring tosses. He connected with Mitch Davis on plays of 56 and 34 yards, Ryan Schriner from 9 yards and Nick Roedersheimer from 9 yards.
"We weren't [surprised] - not at all,'' Sturm said of the outcome. "We were expecting to come out of here with a win. We said to the guys before the game, 'We've got to go out and prove something.' We haven't proved much to anybody this year. But it's homecoming and we've got to prove something - a statement game - and we went out and did that.''
Parkersburg Catholic also tricked Valley a couple times with 2-point conversion passes by Sturm out of kicking formations, each time giving the Crusaders a nine-point lead, meaning Valley needed two scores to take the lead.
"On film, we saw that when they get down, it's demoralizing,'' Sturm said. "The worse off they get, the better it is for the other team. We just wanted to push them to their limit and see what it would do. We did, and it worked out.''
The highlights were few for Valley, which wound up being outrushed 174-158 and outpassed 173-64 and went just 2 of 17 passing.
Matt Whiteside hit Dante Wilkerson with a 48-yard pass in the first quarter to put the ball at the PC 8, but on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Whiteside's pass was tipped and intercepted by Roedersheimer while lying on his back in the end zone.
Darius Hutchinson finally got Valley on the board in the second quarter with a 50-yard touchdown run to make it 7-6 with 1:37 left before halftime, but the Greyhounds saw PC negate that, quickly moving 55 yards to score before the break.