Blazers make statement against 4A champs

STUTTGART — Only in their sixth year of having a football program, the Valley View Blazers (2-0) most likely got the biggest win in school history by upsetting the defending 4A state champion Stuttgart Ricebirds (0-2) 47-21 on Friday night.

The Blazers traveled to Stuttgart with the belief in mind that such a win would elevate their football program.

“It’s kind a marquee game. A tradition-rich program like Stuttgart, the defending state champs … it would say a lot for our program if we came out of here with a win”, Valley View coach Shannon Sherman said before the game.

Valley View committed five penalties in the first half, but that didn’t keep the Blazers from going ahead 26-14 in the first half.

After holding the Ricebirds to three-and-out in the opening drive, the Blazers’ first play consisted of senior wide receiver Jacob Lorenzana taking an option sweep 39 yards up the right side line to the Ricebirds’ 25. Senior running back Jaeger Sullins later scored on a 2-yard run at the 7:32 mark.

On Stuttgart’s next possession, sophomore quarterback Malik Brasfield was sacked for a loss of 12 yards and could not convert on third down. At their own 12 yard line, a wobbly and short punt by the Ricebirds only reached the 50. It only took Valley View’s senior quarterback Noah Johns one play to complete a back-shoulder pass to Lorenzana for the touchdown to put the Blazers up 14-0 with 5:17 left in the first quarter.

The Ricebirds began to move the chains on the following possession with junior wide receiver Jordan Dorsett leading the charge. On third-and-6 from their own 41, Brasfield shot a dart to Dorsett, who got past the Blazers secondary on a flag route for a 59-yard TD catch to end the first quarter 14-7.

However, high winds and a bad snap were an enemy of Stuttgart. Valley View senior punt returner Tristan Stalbaum caught a punt at the Ricebirds’ 33 yard line and took it up the right sideline for a score.

The Ricebirds managed to recover on the ensuing drive by mixing up short passes and first down runs efficiently. Brasfield marched his team down all the way from their own 35 into the red zone of the Blazers and scored on a fourth-and-goal on a quarterback sneak, pulling Stuttgart within 20-14.

But with 4:55 left in the second quarter, Valley View put up another score before the half as Johns converted a third-and-15 with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Stalbaum.

Dorsett began the second half by diving and intercepting a pass from Johns. The Ricebirds got the ball on their own 49 but could not convert on fourth down.

The Blazers converted a third-and-4 from the 34 to the 15 and were moved half the distance to the goal line because of a Ricebirds penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Two plays later, Johns threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Corbin Richardson with 5:51 left in the third quarter.

Valley View went up 40-14 later in the quarter after Sullins scored on a 12-yard run.

Brasfield entered back into the game and threw a 75-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Jackson Kennedy, who used to speed to get by a Valley View safety on a post. This play made the score 40-21.

Stuttgart junior defensive back Trey Sims started off the fourth quarter by intercepting Johns. Just like the beginning of the third quarter, Brasfield was sacked on third down all the way to his own 11 and could not capitalize on the turnover.

Short punts were the Achilles’ heel of the Ricebirds as the punt on the following fourth down only went up high and came back down to give the Blazers the ball at the Ricebirds’ 32. It only took four plays for Sullins to scored another short-run touchdown.

“We got beat in every aspect of the game,” Stuttgart coach Billy Elmore said. “Right now we’re struggling but we’re going to get better and fight through it.”

Brasfield finished the game completing 11 out of 15 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Johns finished the game completing 6 of 12 passes for 134 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Stuttgart travels to Dumas next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.