E.A. Sports Today

Make way for PV

Raiders put themselves squarely in the Class 3A Region 6 playoff picture with solid win over Saks

Caleb Ramsey and the rest of the Pleasant Valley defense chase down and wrap up a Saks ballcarrier. On the cover, PV quarterback Brody Phillips airs it out. (Photos by Bo Hudgins)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE —The Pleasant Valley football made so many statements Friday night the Raiders might have to give their speechwriter a game ball.

The Raiders took a big step towards securing their fifth playoff berth in program history and first since 2010 with a solid 34-14 victory over Saks.

Pleasant Valley’s Colton East (32) was strong in all phases of the game Friday night. (Photo by Bo Hudgins)

It was a separation game and everyone knew it. If the Raiders could win it, they’d legitimately join Piedmont, Wellborn and Randolph County among the region’s best. If they laid an egg, the race for the fourth playoff spot out of Region 6 would be a mad scramble the rest of the season.
Now, none of the top four teams in the standings have more than one loss. All four of the bottom teams have at least two, and many still have to play the top teams.

“This is huge for our program,” PV coach Jonathan Nix said. “We knew there was so much riding into this game. I don’t feel like we played our best football against Piedmont and we just started harping on we didn’t work this hard just to come up like that, so I challenged them to be a bounce-back team and they had two really good weeks of practice. This week of practice was probably one of my favorite weeks since I’ve been here.
“We made a huge stepping stone towards this. We said after the Piedmont game we’ve still got every one of our goals in front of us. Of course, we want a playoff ticket, but we want to fight every week and be ready for those playoffs and I think that’s what the kids did this week. They pushed everything forward, they pushed all their chips in and went really all-in in this game and it was a great outcome.”

The first statement the Raiders made was they were indeed a playoff contender. Colton East made a statement that he was going to be around this game for a while.

East got knocked out in the middle of last year’s Saks game and it’s been the only game he’s missed any part of since he’d been on the varsity. He was determined to stay around this time. He did, rushing for 217 yards, logging 262 yards of total offense and accounting for three touchdowns.

All three scores came in the second quarter as the Raiders built a 28-0 lead. There was a 12-yard pass from Brody Phillips to get it started and runs of 44 and 18 yards. He ran for 118 yards in the quarter.
“We talked about it all week as a team, everyone talked about it,” East said. “If we win this game we’re not guaranteed a spot but we’re closer to one than we are not winning this game. We’ve been working up to make the playoffs for four years. I’ve been on this varsity team for four years and this whole team is now buying in to everything. We love what we’re doing. Everybody does their correct assignment and finishes the plays and gets the job done.”
It was an all-around effort that made this one work. The Raiders’ defense contributed fourth-down stops on back-to-back drives before East’s second and third scores and had three other takeaways in the game.
“We came out and put together a nice set of quality offensive plays, ran it down and scored and the defense came out and did a great job of giving us the ball back and we just kept pounding it,” Phillips said. “We just kept going and played the ball we needed to play.”
“I thought the defense was the best we’ve played in a while,” Nix said. “We played good defense last year too, but we really stepped it up tonight.”
Phillips scored the Raiders’ first touchdown on a 1-yard sneak after Jake Upton got it down there with a 29-yard run on a double handoff that was an effective play throughout the half. Jake Malsy scored their last touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Saks’ injury-plagued offense was most effective in the wildcat with Tae Jones late in the game, but coach Jonathan Miller said that would remain just part of their package going forward. The Wildcats scored both their touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“We’ll just keep mixing it up,” Miller said. “We’re just trying to find something to move the ball a little bit.”

Pleasant Valley 34, Saks 14

Saks (14)PV (34)
141st Downs16
73Pass yds45
3-25Pen yds8-75

Saks                0  0 0  14 –  14
Pleasant Valley 6 22 0  6  –  34
Scoring plays
PV – Brody Phillips 7 run (kick failed), 5:53 1Q
PV – Colton East 12 pass from Brody Phillips (Cameron Green pass from Brody Phillips), 8:53 2Q
PV – Colton East 44 run (kick failed), 5:49 2Q
PV – Colton East 18 run (Jake Upton pass from Brody Phillips), 1:26 2Q
S – Sean Parnell 1 run (run failed), 11:14 4Q
PV – Jake Malsy 2 run (kick failed), 7:03 4Q
S – Jalen McCants 26 run (Jalen McCants pass from Sean Parnell), 30.2 4Q

To see more of Bo Hudgins’ photos from the game, visit www.sakssportsphotography.com


You must be logged in to post a comment Login