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“What has been so great about this class,” Skidmore started as a smile formed. “It’s a big class and they don’t care who gets the glory. They don’t care who scores, or who gets the tackles or makes the big play on special teams or defense. They are the most unselfish group I have been around and everyone contributes.
“I can’t remember a season we had as many people score as what we have this year.”
Friday night, in a 49-28 win that pushed the Spartans to 9-0 and clinched the top seed in the Division III, Region 12 playoffs, six different Spartans scored touchdowns.
Valley View’s win, combined with Franklin’s shocking loss at Oakwood, clinched the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division.
With everything locked up, how does Skidmore keep his team locked in for Week 10?
“It’s been a really long time since they have finished a regular season undefeated here,” Skidmore said of the 2002 team who last did it. “It has been the seniors goal to get that and they know what they got to do to get that 10-0 on the banner.”
No. 9 didn’t come easy.
Brookville matched Valley View score for score to end the first quarter tied 7-7 and had just forged a 14-14 tie with 6:21 remaining after a fourth-down touchdown pass from Mason Stout to Hayden Sherritt when the momentum started to swing.
Austin Clark returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a Spartan score to give the hosts a 21-14 lead.
Clark did it again after the Spartan defense held Brookville to a three-and-out to begin the second half, returning the punt 68 yards for a 28-14 lead.
“It’s high school football, it’s a game of momentum,” Brookville coach Mike Hetrick said. “We had a couple of chances in the first half, but they had some big special teams plays and it kind of took the wind out of our sails.”
Brookville, which started all four first-half drives close to midfield, chewed up over 14 minutes of clock in the first half and close to 31 minutes for the game while the Spartans had the ball for just 12 minutes on the night.
Brookville answered the punt return to cut the deficit to 28-21 on Stout’s second scoring strike of the night, but Valley View got scores from Jarrett Lynch and Will Harshbarger to push the lead to 42-21 with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter.
“We made some adjustments at half,” Skidmore said. “But we just challenged the kids heart.
“They didn’t play physical enough in the first half.”
Brookville had just two first downs in the third quarter before putting together a 71-yard drive that ate seven minutes off the clock.
“We had a pretty good drive in the fourth quarter and I think that says a lot about the character of our kids,” Hetrick said. “It is tough for us to come from behind that far, especially against a team that good.”
Both teams finished with 376 yards with Wallen leading the Blue Devils with 172 of Brookville’s 328 rushing yards.
The Spartans finished with 263 on the ground and 154 in the air with Wood completing five of six passes while also leading the ground attack with 117 yards on just nine carries.