GRAVETTE Bill Harrelson had a feeling his defense would step up after a disappointing loss last week.
But Friday’s performance surprised even him.
Cody Montee kicked four field goals and the Lion defense allowed just 101 yards as Gravette knocked off Valley View 12-7 in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
Gravette will stay home - where it has won four postseason games at three-yearold Lion Stadium - and host Heber Springs, a 45-26 winner over Arkadelphia.
The Lions forced seven punts and two turnovers - an interception by senior David O’Brien and a fumble recovered by junior Kahlief Steele.
“I thought they’d come back and play well tonight and they exceeded my expectations for sure,” Harrelson said. “They just did a great job all night long and time after time I was so pleased with them.”
Valley View senior running back Ron Hubbard had 61 yards of the Blazers’ offense on two plays to get his team on the board late in the game.
“Ron turned it on late in the game,” Blazers coach Shannon Sherman said.“You have to credit their defense, they kind of knocked the wind out of us offensively.”
Hubbard had a 31-yard catch-and-run from juniorquarterback Taylor Lindley - which moved Valley View across midfield for the only time in the game - and two playslaterscoredona30-yard runtocuttheleadto12-7with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left.
The Lions, slowed on offense most of the night, picked up four first downs and ate the rest of the clock to preserve the win.
Darrick Strzelecki had a diving catch and a long run to keep that final drive alive and senior running back Michael Croasdell, who finished with 100 yards, pounded the ball late to finish the game.
Montee missed a pair of 37-yard field goals - one was wide left and one was blocked - in the first half but hit his next four for all of Gravette’s points.
“I knew he wouldn’t get his head down when he missed those first two,” Harrelson said. “We have confidence in him. He’s been a weapon for us all year (in special teams).”
He made field goals of 42 and27yardsinthethirdquarter to push the lead to 12-0.
The Lions came away with two field goals on four trips into the red zone in the second quarter.
Montee made his third try - a 37-yarder - from nearly the same spot as the two misses with 3:12 left in the half.
Another three-and-out gave Gravette the ball and Montee capped a seven-play drive with a 38-yard kick.
Remember . . . . .
Sr. Citizen passes and Season Passes Are NOT Honored At Play-off Games
Sports, Pages 14 on 11/18/2009
Print Headline: The Toe’s The Thing!