Late drive clinches game for Mustangs
By Billy Byler | Staff Writer
Saturday, September 19, 2009

PETTICOAT JUNCTION, S.C. --- A weather delay forced Silver Bluff to wait more than an hour before it could kick off Friday night. Midland Valley had been waiting since last year.

The Mustangs, who lost to Silver Bluff at home last season thanks to a touchdown on a fake field goal, finally got their revenge with a clutch fourth-quarter drive that produced a 7-6 victory over the Bulldogs.

"I'd say it's the biggest nonregion win I've had," Midland Valley coach Rick Knight said. "They're a team that beat Aiken and South Aiken, and they're ranked so high. This is one of those games that's going to give our kids some confidence."

With starting tailback Jeremy Robinson back in action for the first time since he was injured in the second half of the season opener, the Mustangs engineered a scoring drive to take a one-point lead late in the game.

Quarterback Marquette Carr found Niko Hatcher for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 9:48 left in the game to give Midland Valley its first lead of the night. Both teams struggled to move the ball on a wet, soggy field, but the Midland Valley score capped a crushing 19-play, 78-yard drive that took more than nine minutes off the clock.

"Our offensive line came up big on that drive," Robinson said. "I heard about last year, and they were talking about it. We wanted to get our revenge."

Robinson, who said he was at only 60 percent because of his ankle injury, rushed for 73 yards. Carr added 47 yards on the ground.

The Bulldogs (3-1) took a 6-0 lead at halftime on a pair of field goals from placekicker Kyle Mackey, who was good from 36 and 32 yards for Silver Bluff's only points. Midland Valley's defense shut out Silver Bluff in the second half for the first time this season and picked off Silver Bluff quarterback Austin Pollock three times.

"They're a big-play team that can score at any time," Knight said. "We emphasized that and told our guys to hold on."

The win was a signature moment for Knight, who was a coach at Silver Bluff before moving to Midland Valley.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or


PLAY OF THE GAME: Midland Valley senior Darian Curry played the defensive hero late in the fourth quarter when he hit Silver Bluff quarterback Austin Pollock as he threw the ball on the Bulldogs' attempt at a comeback. Curry's hit forced the throw to go straight up in the air, where it was caught by Wesley Meyer for the interception.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Midland Valley senior Alex Carl , who had at least four tackles for loss, led an effort that kept Silver Bluff out of the end zone.

WHY MIDLAND VALLEY WON: The Mustangs' 19-play, 78-yard scoring drive in the second half gave them the lead and took more than nine minutes off the game clock.

WHY SILVER BLUFF LOST: The Bulldogs' offense failed to establish any kind of rhythm and settled for only two first-half field goals.

WHAT'S NEXT: Silver Bluff at Strom Thurmond; Midland Valley vs. Batesburg-Leesville.

From the Saturday, September 19, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle


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