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Spring Valley excels in trenches

Bonanza football coach Shawn Dupris said Thursday he hoped his team’s speed could overcome Spring Valley’s size.

It couldn’t.

The fifth-ranked Grizzlies dominated the line of scrimmage, shutting down Bonanza’s running game and opening holes for Jacques Adams on the way to a 35-7 home win over the Bengals on Friday night.

The win ended Bonanza’s six-game winning streak.

“We knew this game was going to be won or lost on the line,” said Spring Valley’s Nate Holloway, a 320-pound, two-way lineman. “I told my line, ‘We’ve got to come out and dominate. We hit these guys in the mouth, and they’ll want to quit on us early.’ ”

Spring Valley (7-1, 5-1) did just that, especially on defense. Bonanza’s Antonio Beals entered the game as the area’s leading rusher with 1,446 yards, but the Grizzlies never let Beals get into the open field.

Beals finished with 34 yards on 14 carries. He had only 7 yards on eight carries in the first half.
“We knew this was a really good running back, but we also knew that he hasn’t played against very good defenses,” Holloway said. “So we wanted to come out and hit him in the mouth and make him not want to run anymore.”

With Beals bottled up, the Grizzlies took a 14-0 lead before Bonanza (6-3, 5-1) recorded a first down. But the Bengals showed life late in the first half, driving 46 yards for a touchdown, capped by a 14-yard run by Aaron Simon to cut the lead to 14-7 with 59.5 seconds left in the half.

But Spring Valley responded with a back-breaking drive that was extended by a Bonanza pass-interference penalty with no time left on the clock.

That led to an untimed down, and Anton Stallworth connected with Jeff Fajardo for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make the score 20-7 at halftime.

The Grizzlies added a 12-yard touchdown pass from Stallworth to Keenan Sanders in the third quarter, and Adams had a 50-yard touchdown run with 9:38 to play.

Adams finished with 213 yards on 21 carries. He had a 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

“Our offensive line, week in and week out, has done a good job as far as opening up holes for our running backs,” Spring Valley coach Kelly Murphy said.

The Spring Valley line averaged 270 pounds and punished the smaller Bengals, allowing the speedy Adams plenty of room to run.

“We got off to a slow start, but we usually do that,” Holloway said. “Obviously our line picked it up, and our running back took advantage.”

Holloway said it was a key victory as the team prepares for the postseason. Spring Valley plays at Durango on Thursday to close the regular season. Spring Valley’s loss came to second-ranked Bishop Gorman.

“This is a very big win for us,” Holloway said. “Coach told us to stay humble, come out and play hard, play fast and finish.
“We really wanted to come out and show this league what we really had.”

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