Blazers win with defensive stand

Valley View's Reid Tyler pulls in a pass reception despite the defense of Rivercrest's Mike Sharp (2) during the first quarter of Friday night's game.

JONESBORO — A late defensive stand helped Valley View earn another close victory Friday night.

The Blazers held off Rivercrest 25-19 at Central Dealerships Stadium after stopping a late drive by the Colts. Senior end Mario Crawford’s quarterback sack on fourth and goal from the 10-yard line clinched Valley View’s victory inside the final minute.

Valley View (2-1) stopped a two-point conversion in the final minute last week to edge Harding Academy. The Blazers led by 10 points in the second quarter Friday night, only to see the Colts (0-1) rally to take a 19-17 lead in the third period.

A defensive touchdown gave Valley View the winning points. Sophomore Brian Huff scored on a 6-yard interception return with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter. Quarterback Carson Turley, who left the game with an injury in the first quarter, returned to score the two-point conversion for a 25-17 Blazer lead.

Rivercrest mounted a lengthy drive late in the game to reach the Blazers’ 10, but the Colts stalled there. Crawford, who was considered unlikely to play because of a shoulder injury, sealed the outcome with his sack for a 10-yard loss on fourth down.

Valley View finished with 253 total yards, including 82 yards rushing on 37 carries. Turley was 6-of-8 passing for 77 yards, while Keats Grantham was 5-of-9 for 94 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Jackson Harmon had three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.

Rivercrest finished with 308 total yards, including 50 rushing yards on 27 attempts and 258 passing yards. Quarterback Mike Sharp was 18-of-30 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Mike Rainer led the Colts in receiving with five catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Koby Turner caught three passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Rivercrest’s Brandyn Brownlee finished with three sacks and a forced fumble, while Braydyn Brownlee recovered three fumbles for the Colts.

Valley View drove 69 yards in 11 plays for Jose Mendoza’s 26-yard field goal with 6:27 left in the first quarter. Lejavian Ervin’s fumble recovery and return set up a 36-yard drive, capped by Cameron Davidson’s 1-yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left in the quarter for a 10-0 lead.

Rivercrest answered on the next play from scrimmage after Turner took Sharp’s pass across the middle 75 yards for a touchdown. Josh Johnson booted the extra point for the Colts.

Grantham’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Harmon gave the Blazers a 17-7 lead in the first minute of the second quarter.

Valley View was unable to capitalize on Dekwon Gallaway’s interception, turning the ball over before Rivercrest scored on Rainer’s 4-yard run with 4:05 left in the second quarter. The extra point missed, leaving the Blazers with a 17-13 halftime lead.

Rivercrest took the lead for the first time on Sharp’s 59-yard pass to Rainer with 7:26 left in the third quarter. The Blazers blocked the extra point to keep the score at 19-17.

Valley View is off next week before opening 5A-East play Sept. 24 at Paragould. Rivercrest visits Brookland next Friday.