Rodney Summers nearly got out of bed Thursday night to start studying more film after hearing a few media members pick Spring Valley to win its regular season finale.
It would have been hard to blame the Westwood football coach had he done so. His Redhawks lost the Region 4-4A championship the week before, when an undefeated season went for naught after a 33-3 thrashing at the hands of Dutch Fork. But Summers stuck with his plan and kept the faith in a team that’s steadily guided through an impressive season.
“I said, ‘You know what? I’m not going to do it,’ ” Summers recalled of his near-midnight study session. “… We got a good week of practice in, and we just let everything come out tonight.”
Westwood proved its recent doubters wrong, dismantling Spring Valley 34-0 at Harry Parone Stadium. The win gave the Redhawks (10-1) at least one home game to begin next week’s Class 4A playoffs.
“The stats show, we all know and some people in the community know, that we’re a better team than 33-3,” said junior tailback Andrew Plante, who led Westwood with 95 yards and three touchdowns Friday. “We could have put a lot more points up than that, and we could have stopped them a lot more than that.”
Their fortunes reversed against the Vikings (6-5, 2-3), who fell behind early and never recovered. Spring Valley allowed touchdowns on three of Westwood’s first four possessions and sputtered from there thanks to a hapless offense.
The Vikings were outgained at halftime 167-80, finished with 126 yards of offense, turned the ball over three times and were shut out for the first time this season.
“It was kind of sorry,” coach Jerry Brown said. “We just didn’t do enough through the year, and then this was our worst game on offense by far.”
Spring Valley entered the night with a chance at a playoff bid, needing a win and potentially a Blythewood loss – depending on how the points system played out – to keep its season alive. But any postseason shot was doomed thanks to a Redhawks defense eager to atone for last week’s mistakes a week ago.
“They did a good job,” Brown said. “But we made it awfully easy. We shot ourselves in the foot time after time. We just weren’t ready to play on offense tonight.”
The Westwood front seven was aggressive, forcing 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and never allowed the Vikings’ triple-option to take hold.
“It was real important because of the last game we just had,” said corner Anthony Douglas, who recorded a first-quarter interception to set up Westwood’s first score. “We bowed our backs up and showed that we’re 10-1.”
The Redhawks now set their sights on the playoffs, hoping to build on last season’s first-ever playoff win. Summers expects Westwood to earn the No. 4 seed and at least a pair of home games. Not bad for a team questioning itself a week ago.
“It was a lot of anxiety, I guess,” Summers said. “Just thinking, ‘Are we that team? Are we that good or are we not that good?’ It’s a question there after losing last week.”
It’s a question no longer.
WW -- Andrew Plante 1 run (Brandon Howard kick) 5:01
WW -- Plante 1 run (kick failed) 1:39
WW -- Plante 10 run (Howard kick) 9:26
WW -- Willie McConnell 6 catch from Nick Leveretter (Howard kick) 4:19
WW -- Rudy Mitchell 24 run (Jonathon Dyarmett kick( 2:49
Rushing: WW -- Andrew Plante 17-95, Nick Leveretter 16-57, Rudy Mitchell 1-24, Terrell Vaughn 6-20, Jalen Smith 1-(-1); SV -- Ryan Lee 19-37, Alec Koon 9-29, Kristion Glover 1-17, Kevin Owens 3-17, Kadarius Bunch 1-6, Bryson Jones 1-5.
Passing: WW -- Nick Leveretter 4-7-0-62; SV -- Ryan Lee 2-10-1-15, Kevin Owens 0-1-1-0.
Receiving: WW -- Adonus Lee 2-56, Willie McConnell 1-6; SV -- R.J. Bacon 1-12, Bryson Jones 1-3.