Valley View outmuscles Bellbrook in matchup of SWBL champions

GERMANTOWN – Two years ago before realignment, a Week 10 matchup between Southwestern Buckeye League unbeatens Bellbrook and Valley View would have been for the title. Friday it was for something far more important – bragging rights and pride.

Snapping a four-game losing streak in the series, host Valley View used a mixture of aggression and physicality to push past Bellbrook 21-7 on Senior Night at Niswonger Stadium.

The Spartans forced seven three-and-outs on Bellbrook’s 10 possessions and added enough scoring for the memorable win.

“That’s probably as bad as it’s gotten for us since I took over here,” Bellbrook head coach Jeff Jenkins said. “I’m disappointed with our lack of intensity throughout the game. I thought Valley View was the aggressor in all phases.”

“The kids like to play defense, run to the ball and get downhill,” first year Valley View head coach Matt King said. “The kids get to the ball and have a party when they get there. What a huge win.”

Valley View (9-1, 7-0), riding an eight-game win streak, won a share of its first SWBL title (West Division) since 2017 last week. Ranked No. 11 in the Division V state poll, the Spartans had already clinched their 23rd playoff appearance in 31 years heading into Friday. With the win, Valley Views figures to have clinched the No. 1 seed in Region 20, where it will be a favorite with Milton-Union. The Bulldogs beat the Spartans 24-14 in Week 2.

The top four seeds in each region host first and second round playoff games. Official postseason pairings will be released Sunday.

Bellbrook (8-2, 6-1), which won its third straight SWBL title (East Division) for the first time in program history last week, had an eight-game win streak snapped. Ranked No. 6 in the D-III state poll, the Eagles will be a top eight seed in Region 12 and host a first round game next week.

Valley View’s Jacob Clark got the scoring started Friday with a 50-yard touchdown run on the Spartans’ first possession. A 9-yard touchdown pass from Cade Henson to Troy Hypes made it 14-0 less than three minutes into the second quarter.

Following a Valley View fumble at it’s own 32, Bellbrook converted two fourth downs, including a 5-yard touchdown pass from Luke Benetis to Sam Barhorst, to close within 14-7 at the break.

Both teams missed third-quarter field goals.

An 8-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Henson to Clark capped the scoring.

Bellbrook’s string of four straight wins was the longest streak by either school in the series since the Spartans won seven in a row from 1992-1998 as part of their 73-game regular season win streak that was bookended by Bellbrook losses. Since then the Eagles hold a 14-9 series edge.

The two have met annually since joining the SWBL together in 1975.

“We just have to control what we can,” King said. “We have talented kids and great assistant coaches. Anytime you have that, good things can happen. We will give it a whirl and see what happens (in the postseason).”

Said Jenkins: “We will have to look at this, get better and get ready for the payoffs.”

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