October 26, 2006

Putnam County Celebrates Valentine’s Day Early With 22-12 Win Over Tigers

Valentine’s Day is still months away and the holiday for sweethearts was likely the last thing on the minds of the Scotland County football team as it traveled to Unionville to open district play against Putnam County.

But after the game the Midget faithful may have wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day early. But instead of candy and flowers they would be instead honoring the team’s star runningback Nathan Valentine who nearly single handily led Putnam County to a 22-12 win over the Tigers.

Valentine, who has to be a front runner for the conference most valuable player honors, put Putnam County on top midway through the first period.

After SCR-I punted away its first possession, Valentine bulldozed over the SCR-I defense on his way to a 54-yard run. That set up a one-yard touchdown run by the senior. He also carried the ball in on the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0 with 4:53 to play in the first period.

Scotland County came right back with a score of its own. Marcus Shalley connected with Grant Blomme on a 16-yard pass play to move the chains. The senior QB then did it with his legs, breaking a 42-yard run to put the ball in scoring position. Despite battling the flu, Shalley had enough gas left to punch the ball in from five yards out to cut the deficit to 8-6 with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT kick was no good.

Early on the ball was bouncing Putnam County’s way. The Midgets fumbled a punt and then fumbled the kick off but were able to gobble up both loose balls to prevent a turnover.

That trend continued when Ben Wiley broke through to block a Putnam County punt. But a Midget blocker picked up the loose ball behind the line of scrimmage and advanced it for a first down.

But the Midgets luck ran out after that as Casey Parrish recovered the third Putnam County fumble of the first half with 11:16 to play in the second period.

SCR-I did not take advantage of the turnover, going three and out with a punt.

Putnam County gave SCR-I the ball right back as Bryce Blomme recovered yet another Midget fumble giving the Tigers the ball at the 41-yard line with 9:25 left in the first half.

SCR-I went three and out again but Bryce Blomme pinned Putnam County at the three-yard line with a great punt.

The poor field position did little to slow down Valentine. He marched the ball down the field before Kyle Shelley intercepted a pass from Reggie Dunkin to stop the scoring drive at the 22-yard line.

After an SCR-I punt, Putnam County had one final shot at a score before the half but Justin Williams picked off a Dunkin pass near the end zone as time ran out on the clock.

SCR-I used the four turnovers to keep the game close in the first half despite being out gained 3 to 1 in the opening 24 minutes. The Tigers had just 98 yards of offense with almost half coming on the one long run by Shalley. Valentine had 125 yards in the first half.

Valentine delivered the key blow of the game to start the third period as he took the kick off all the way back for a 77-yard touchdown. He scored on the two-point conversion to put the Midgets ahead 16-6.

The Midgets looked poised to blow the contest open as SCR-I went three and out on offense and gave the ball back to the home team. Valentine scored on a five-yard run with 6:33 on the clock in the third period. The Tigers’ defense stopped the two-point conversion to keep the score at 22-6.

After Corey Weston picked off a pass from Shalley, it was the SCR-I defense’s time to shine. The Tigers stopped the Midgets on downs and got the ball back.

The Tigers went to the two-minute offense in the fourth period and moved the chains with some success in the passing game. Shalley hit Blomme with a long pass play that put the ball in scoring position at the 21-yard line. But SCR-I could not punch the ball in and gave it back to the Midgets on downs.

Grant Blomme got the ball back for SCR-I as he picked off a Dunkin pass near the end zone and returned it 34 yards.

SCR-I took advantage of the momentum swing as Shalley hit Grant Blomme with a pass across the middle. The senior receiver did the rest as he broke a pair of tackles and scampered 58-yards for the score with 2:13 left in the game. The Midgets stopped the two-point conversion to keep it a two-possession game, ahead by 10 points.

The Tigers quickly got another chance as Dunkin was picked off for a fourth time, with Shelley making his second pick of the game.

But SCR-I was unable to do anything with the turnover and Kyle Triplett intercepted a Shalley pass as time ran out in the contest.

Putnam County racked up 21 first downs as Valentine ran for 251 yards on 34 attempts. He scored twice on the ground and also had the kick off return for a TD. Dunkin completed eight of 16 passes for 86 yards and had four interceptions.

Scotland County was held to eight first downs in the game. Shalley ran 12 times for 51 yards and a TD. He completed 14 of 34 pass attempts for 161 yards and a TD. Grant Blomme had eight receptions for 136 yards and a TD. Jeff Kice had two receptions.

Shelley led the Tigers’ defense with 14 tackles and the two picks. Bryce Blomme also made 12 stops and had an interception. Colby Brown and Kolby Peterson each had 10 tackles.

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