After six losses to begin the campaign, the Richwood Lumberjacks have put together a modest, but pleasing, two-game winning streak.

The Lumberjacks pounced early and often en route to manhandling host Valley, 40-0, Friday. Before being idle the previous week, Richwood had defeated Tygarts Valley, 27-12, to snap that six-game skid.

“We did some good things the last two weeks,” said coach Pat Whitlock. “Defensively, we’re hitting a lot more.”

The ‘Jacks came out hitting, helping contribute to four Valley turnovers in a first quarter that ended with Richwood up 21-0 and knocking on the door again. The Greyhounds, who have been prone to miscues all season long, fumbled the ball away twice on their first three plays from scrimmage. Another fumble occurred on the sixth offensive play, and an interception came in the latter stages of the period.

Dustin Vance set the tone with a 20-yard fumble recovery for a TD with 8:40 left in the opening stanza. The ‘Jacks’ next score, a 26-yard run by Storm Delaney, was set up by a Joseph Carr fumble recovery.

Finally, Richwood tallied its fourth score — a nifty 15-yard reverse-course TD by Noah Holcomb — following a Vance interception of a Josh Thompson pass. That left the score at 27-0 only 10 seconds into the second frame.

Whitlock said he’d explained to his players they needed to crank up the intensity level.

“We got a little physical tonight. I preached to them all week they’d have to play Valley hard,” he said. “We got those turnovers and a couple of easy scores, and that put us in a relaxed situation.”

Richwood later got a nice 72-yard scoring scamper down the left sideline by Holcomb late in the second, then closed out the assault with a one-yard quarterback keeper by Mark Tharp at the 5:20 mark of the third.

Valley’s Trey Harvey blocked two of the Richwood PAT kicks on the evening.

Holcomb finished with 105 yards and two scores on eight carries, and Delaney tacked on 78 yards and two scores of his own on a similar number of attempts.

Jack Simms accounted for 55 rushing yards for Valley before being injured and taken out in an ambulance in the third. The extent of his injures was unknown afterwards. Travis Kurpel rushed for 43 yards in a backup role.

Valley lost its best scoring opportunity after the ‘Hounds’ Evan Baker returned an interception 31 yards to the Richwood 39 in the second quarter. On fourth-and-13, Simms completed a 27-yarder to Cody Atha out of punt formation and kept the drive alive, only to see it stall on a Thompson incompletion on a fourth-and-10 from the 15.

“We were just not ready to play mentally,” said Valley coach Benny Hopkins, whose team suffered its sixth straight setback. “That’s the most helpless I’ve ever felt calling a game.

“It was three plays and out.”

And sometimes not even three.

Richwood (2-6) visits Summers County Friday.

Valley (1-7) hosts Midland Trail the same night.

— E-mail:

skeenan@fayettetribune.com

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