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Valley defeats Marbury High Bulldogs 30-6

MARBURY — The Valley High Rams got back on the winning track Friday night with an impressive road win over the Marbury High Bulldogs 30-6. The complete game performance evens the team’s record at 3-3 on the year.

The Rams rolled up a 27-0 lead at the half and played lots of reserves in the second half to coast home with a comfortable win. Valley’s defense played a great game, completely shutting down everything the home team attempted to do in the first half and several times forcing the hosts into turnovers deep own their end of the field. The Bulldogs didn’t record their first first down of the game until the final seconds of the first half when the Rams were in total command.

On offense, junior quarterback Eli Culpepper had a solid game at quarterback, both running and passing the ball. Senior running back D.J. Dunn was unstoppable running the football, piling up close to 100 yards in the first half.

Valley set the tone for the game, driving the ball deep into Marbury territory before turning it over at the Bulldog 15. The Ram defense then forced the hosts into the first of many three-and-outs, making them punt it away on the opening possession. A short boot had Valley in great field position with a first-and-ten on the Bulldog 45. It wouldn’t take them long to score from there. The running of Dunn accounted for most of the yardage, and a Culpepper-to-Brheady Power pass got them close, with a first-and-goal on the Marbury three.

On the next play, Dunn powered it up the middle into the end zone for the first score of the game. Daniel Etherton’s point after made it 7-0 Valley with 4:23 showing in the first period.

On Marbury’s next possession, senior defensive lineman Daniel Osborne stripped the football away from a Bulldog runner with Valley recovering on the Marbury 22. Runs by Dunn and Culpepper moved the ball to the Bulldog eight with a first and goal. The drive stalled at that point before Etherton came in to kick the first of his three field goals for the game. Early in the second quarter, the Rams had moved ahead 10-0.

After forcing the home team to another three-and-out, Valley got a break when the Marbury punter dropped the snap and fell on it at the 10-yard line.

After a 10-yard loss on first down, Valley got their second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run by sophomore running back Randall Brooks. On the play, Brooks burst through a big hole in the middle of the line and cut right, breaking tackles along the way and lunging into the end zone for the score. Etherton’s PAT made the score 17-0 with 8:28 left in the half.

Another turnover by the Bulldogs had Valley in great shape once again, this time on the Marbury 20. With Gabe Harmon in at quarterback, the team moved for one first down before settling for another Etherton field goal. That made it 20-0 in favor of Valley with 4:46 left in the half.

On their final possession of the half, the Rams made it 27-0 on a beautiful pass play from Culpepper to Steven Coker. On the play, Coker beat his man deep and Culpepper was right on the money with the pass. Etherton’s third PAT of the half gave Valley a very comfortable lead with 2:02 left in the half.

With the game out of reach, Valley played lots of reserves in the second half. Pretty much everyone in an orange and blue uniform saw action, with Valley getting one more Etherton field goal while holding the Bulldogs to a consolation score.

The win was much needed for Valley after they’d dropped two close, frustrating Region games to Greenville and Carroll of Ozark.

They hope to carry some momentum from the game into another key 5A Region test next Friday at Tallassee.

“Those last two games were really tough,” said head coach Buster Daniel. “We played two teams ranked in the top ten and could have easily won both games. We just couldn’t close the deal.”

Four Valley starters were held out of the game with minor injuries but should be ready to go in next week’s big game with Tallassee. They will need all hands on deck next Friday as Tallassee has a really good team this year.