Happy Valley holds off Gap

Published 4:41 pm Monday, October 3, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Claiborne County Sports Zone

Happy Valley held off a late Cumberland Gap rally and held on to beat the Panthers 35-32 on Friday.

Email newsletter signup

Happy Valley jumped out to an early lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Joseph Sowards on the game’s opening possession.

The ensuing kickoff by the Warriors rolled out of bounds and the Cumberland Gap offense took over on their own 45-yard line. They put together a drive of their own and with 4:11 left in the first quarter Brayden Painter took the quarterback keeper 11 yards for a score. The two point try was unsuccessful and Happy Valley still led 7-6.

Happy Valley was still on top 7-6 after the first quarter of action but were driving deep into Panthers territory. Painter put an end to that drive as he picked off a Warriors pass in the end zone, but the Panthers couldn’t do anything with the possession. The three and out was made worse by then punting into a stiff wind that only netted a nine-yard punt. Happy Valley quickly took advantage as Sowards broke free for a 30-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good and with 7:50 left in the second quarter the Warriors were up 13-6 over The Gap.

The ensuing kickoff for Happy Valley was mishandled and Cumberland Gap started the drive at their own four-yard line. The Panthers found themselves punting again after another three and out. Standing deep in his own end zone Painter was able to find a gap in the wind and got this punt out to the 30-yard line. Happy Valley again took advantage of the good field position and Reagan Ensor took a quarterback keeper 20 yards for the score. Ensor also carried the two point try and with 5:26 left in the second quarter Happy Valley was up 21-6 over the Panthers.

Painter found a seem on the next kickoff and returned the ball up the middle to the 30-yard line of the Warriors. Kyle Figueroa was the benefactor of that return as he found the end zone for Cumberland Gap from two yards out and the two-point pass by Painter to Allen Brooks was good. Happy Valley was still up 21-14 with 1:29 left in the first half.

The wind again aided the opposition during the kicking game as the Panthers kick hung in the air allowing blocks to setup and Jamie Esterline returned the ball 70 yards for a Happy Valley touchdown. The extra point kick by Sowards was no good and with 1:17 left in the first half the Warriors were back up 27-14.

Cumberland Gap put together a quick drive before the end of the first half after tough long runs by Jacob Brown and Figueroa that got the ball to the two-yard line but Happy Valley stood them up at the goal line as the first half came to an end with the Warriors leading 27-14.

The Gap took the kickoff for the second half and drove down the field. The drive ended as Painter took another quarterback keeper 11 yards for a Cumberland Gap touchdown. The two point try was no good and the Panthers trailed Happy Valley 27-20 with 6:20 left in the third.

Cumberland Gap was kicking with the wind in the third quarter and that helped them drive Happy Valley back and start their first drive of the second half from their own 14-yard line. The defense stepped up and forced a fumble on a hard hit by Painter on second down, but the Warriors recovered. Painter got another hit on the running back on third down and the ball broken free again.  Figueroa recovered the ball this time on the Happy Valley 30-yard line.

The third quarter came to a close with Cumberland Gap driving deeper into Warrior territory, but Happy Valley was still on top 27-20.

Painter found his way into the end zone from four yards for a touchdown on another QB keeper. The two point try was no good and Happy Valley was on top 27-26 with 11:11 left in the fourth.

The Warriors worked the ball down the field while milking the clock until Ensor found his way into the end zone from two yards out for Happy Valley. Ensor also connected with Esterline on the two-point conversion that put the Warriors up 35-26 over The Panthers with 5:43 left in the game.

Cumberland Gap but together another scoring drive as Kole Welch got into the end zone for Cumberland Gap from two yards out. The two point try was no good and Happy Valley was still up 35-32 with 2:34 left in the game.

The Panthers attempted an onside kick, but the ball was recovered by Happy Valley.