The usual suspects played key roles in Spring Valley’s first postseason win in eight years Friday night at Harry Parone Stadium.
John Miller, Christian Miller, Chris Adams and Josh Harlan did their usual good work in the Vikings’ 38-21 triumph against Spartanburg in the first round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs, but it was a play involving sophomore Ryan Lee that transformed a tense affair into a runaway in the second half.
Lee hauled in a crisp, mid-range pass from Adams that turned into a 99-yard scoring play that staked Spring Valley to a 31-21 lead at the 1:41 mark of the third quarter. The Vikings were never in trouble again.
“It was the right call at the right time by coach Bacon,” said coach Miles Aldridge, referring to offensive coordinator Robin Bacon’s calculated gamble that paid huge dividends.
“Sometimes you have to take a few risks in the playoffs,” said Bacon, the former coach at A.C. Flora.
“We were backed up to the 1-yard line and figured (Spartanburg) was going to blitz the linebackers to try and catch us in the end zone, so we went with a seam route. It’s either a great call, or I get fired.”
Adams made a quick drop on the second-down play and hit Lee on the run between the cornerback and the safety, who were both cheating up toward the line of scrimmage.
“Chris had to make the good throw and Ryan turned it on and went all the way,” Bacon said.
“That was the play that took the pressure off,” said running back John Miller, who finished with 146 yards and three touchdowns and had another 74-yard scoring dash negated by penalty.
“We knew we had it after that.”
Spring Valley posted three touchdowns and a field goal on its first four possessions but was limited to 25 yards on the next 11 plays before being burned by Bacon, Adams and Lee.
Adams had another efficient game directing the triple-option attack. The three-year starter ran for 80 yards and threw for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Christian Miller and Harlan were in the forefront of a defensive effort that blanked Spartanburg (6-6) in the second half and limited the Upstate Vikings to 103 yards in the final 24 minutes.
Miller, the Alabama-bound linebacker, blocked a kick that set up Spring Valley’s final touchdown. He also caught a 6-yard scoring pass in the Vikings’ 21-point first quarter.
“We played a heck of a lot better on defense after we gave them too much in the first half,” Aldridge said. “Spartanburg is a very good team, and we found a way to win and move on. In the playoffs, every game is championship football. It gets harder as you go, but that’s why we want to keep going.”
Spring Valley (12-0) plays host to Dutch Fork in an all-Midlands quarterfinal showdown next week.
S – Zach Kollock 11 pass from Austin Scott (Landon Kunak kick), 10:22
SV – Christian Miller 6 pass from Chris Adams (Cooper Gresham kick), 5:45
SV – John Miller 36 run (Gresham kick), 2:07
S – Tavien Feaster 65 run (kick failed), 1:23
SV – J. Miller 56 run (Gresham kick), 0:00
SV – FG Gresham 36, 7:16
S –Kollock 6 pass from Scott (Scott pass from Kollock), 0:37
SV – Ryan Lee 99 pass from Chris Adams (Gresham kick), 1:41
SV – J. Miller 10 run (Gresham kick), 9:44