STUART — The 2018 Southwest Valley Timberwolves may not be the high-octane scoring machine of last year’s edition, but it’s still proving to be a team capable of grinding its way to success.
Southwest Valley hung on in the fourth quarter to capture its 14th straight regular-season victory Friday, 20-18, over West Central Valley to improve to 3-0. The Wildcats fell to 0-3 despite the dangerous aerial combination of quarterback Carson Wadle to receiver Cole Arnburg, which accounted for three touchdowns Friday.
The game was moved to Stuart after Corning received more than an inch of rain Friday on a field that was already nearly saturated. Allen Naugle, Southwest Valley athletic director and the Timberwolves’ defensive coordinator, said West Central Valley officials agreed to play next year’s game in Corning, essentially flipping the district schedule for the two teams.
Southwest Valley held 1-point leads at the end of each of the first two periods, then hung on for the 2-point win after holding a 20-12 advantage entering the fourth period.
“That’s three games in a row working hard to get the win like that,” Southwest Valley coach Anthony Donahoo said. “We’ve had the motto of ‘clock in’ this year. It’s just different teams and we know we’re going to have to grind it out. We are an overachieving team that gets by with 100 percent effort.”
In this game, the Timberwolves had to play from behind. The host Wildcats took a 12-7 lead on the second of three touchdown passes from Wadle to Arnburg at the 5:45 mark of the second quarter. Blaine Venteicher had scored Southwest Valley’s first touchdown on a 5-yard run on the team’s second possession after West Central Valley fumbled a handoff on its first play.
The Timberwolves came back to take a 13-12 halftime lead when quarterback Dustin Lund passed to Teagan Lundquist, who fought through two tackle attempts inside the 5-yard line to score a 24-yard touchdown.
The Wildcats drove deep into Southwest Valley territory before halftime, but Aiden Gaule intercepted Wadle’s shovel pass at the Southwest Valley 13-yard line.
Lund scored on a 3-yard keeper in the third quarter and Lundquist kicked his second extra point of the game to give the Timberwolves a 20-12 lead. The short 19-yard drive was set up by Lundquist’s 27-yard punt return.
West Central Valley answered with a third TD connection from Wadle to Arnburg from 36 yards with 4:58 left in the game. The Wildcats went for two in an attempt to tie the game at 20-20, but running back Zac Mann was stopped short of the goal line by Southwest Valley’s Jacob Webb.
Webb finished with six tackles, including two quarterback sacks.
“You could see what our front four was doing in those two holding penalties they had on their last drive,” Donahoo said. “Webb had two sacks tonight and two sacks last game. He was in the top five in the state last year in tackles for loss. He gets after it. That was big when we had a couple of key guys get injured.”
Sophomore Tallen Myers, the team’s leading tackler the first two weeks at middle linebacker, and the starting tight end on offense, suffered a knee injury in the third quarter. He was scheduled for an evaluation to determine if there are any ligament strains or tears. Also, lineman Scott Adcock suffered a dislocated finger that’s possibly broken, Donahoo said Friday night.
“We lost all of our starting skills guys last year, but we’ve had guys step up who were waiting their turn,” Donahoo said. “The good thing is we have the same defensive front four and the same five offensive linemen that we had last year. That’s helped us in these first three games.”
Lundquist, one of those perimeter players thrust into a bigger role this year, finished with 149 yards in kickoff and punt returns, which consistently gave the Timberwolves favorable field position. He also made a touchdown-saving tackle on Wadle’s 50-yard scamper in the third quarter, dropping the Wildcat quarterback at the 9-yard line. West Central Valley came away with no points on that possession, as Arnburg’s 22-yard field goal attempt was wide.
“Teagan knew he’d be in that role this year, and he sets us up with big-time field position,” Donahoo said.
Lund finished with one passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown while netting 106 yards on the ground. Gaule added 90 yards rushing.
Brendan Pearson had a team high eight tackles for the defense, and Myers managed 6 1/2 stops before exiting with four minutes left in the third period. Hunter Poston was in on two sacks and totaled six tackles.
“We had some early mistakes, some roughing the kicker things that you have to get through sometimes,” Donahoo said. “We had some big stops when we needed them. If we keep showing that kind of effort, I’m confident in these guys in every game.”
UP NEXT — The Timberwolves travel to Clarinda next week to take on a 1-2 Cardinals team that lost 21-20 to Atlantic in overtime on Friday.
Southwest Valley 20, West Central Valley 18
SWV 7 6 7 0 - 20
WCV 6 6 0 6 - 18
SWV — Blaine Venteicher 5 run (Teagan Lundquist kick), 8:23
WCV — Cole Arnburg 10 pass from Carson Wadle (kick failed), 3:20
WCV — Arnburg 34 pass from Wadle (run failed), 5:45
SWV — Lundquist 24 pass from Dustin Lund (kick failed), 3:05
SWV — Lund 3 run (Lundquist kick), 7:20
WCV — Arnburg 36 pass from Wadle (run failed), 4:58
Rushing: SWV — Lund 23-106, Aiden Gaule 22-90, Venteicher 2-8, Matt Johnston 1-4. WCV — Wadle 19-133, Arnburg 3-30, Zac Mann 9-23, Brice Sechrist 2-8.
Passing: SWV — Lund 1-8-1 for 24 yards. WCV —Wadle 13-29-1 for 202 yards.
Receiving: SWV — Lundquist 1-24. WCV — Arnburg 10-157, Korbin Nourse 2-27, Kiefer Wallace 1-18.
Tackles (solo-assists): SWV — Brendan Pearson 4-8, Tallen Myers 4-5, Hunter Poston 2-8, Jacob Webb 4-4, Gaule 3-2, Conner Shipley 1-4, Lundquist 3-0, Tucker Tepoel 1-2, Matt Johston 0-3, Brendan Knapp 0-3. WCV — Cole Sackett 11-7, Wadle 6-4, Korbin Nourse 4-6, Arnburg 5-2.
Sacks: SWV — Poston 2, Webb 2, Tepoel 1, Evan Davis 1.
Interceptions: SWV — Gaule 1. WCV - Arnburg 1.
Fumble recoveries: SWV — Scotty Adcock 1. WCV - Arnburg 1.