Unheralded Blythewood erupted in the fourth quarter to secure a 42-27 win over Spring Valley on Friday at Blythewood District 2 Stadium in the Region 4-4A opener for both teams.
The unranked Bengals (6-1) are riding a six-game winning streak since opening the season with a loss to South Pointe. Maybe it’s time for Reggie Kennedy’s team to get a little love in the polls.
“We are under the radar, but I like where we are right now,” Kennedy said. “The thing I like most is we find ways to win games. We put a lot of work into all three phases of the game, and we want to win at least two of them in every game. Tonight, we got two scores off the special teams that really made a difference.”
The Bengals turned a close game into an easy win with a series of big plays in the fourth quarter.
The first was a 95-yard kickoff return by Shyheim Brown that came seconds after the Vikings cut the lead to 21-13 with 11:06 to go in the fourth quarter after a 64-yard touchdown by Malik Wilson.
Next, Ben Ruiz had a 62-yard scoring dash to boost the Blythewood lead to 35-13 with 5:47 to go.
Long runs by quarterback Kylen Binn (32 yards) and Ruiz (31) set up Binn’s 4-yard touchdown with 1:55 remaining to put the game out of reach.
Spring Valley won the statistical battle, outgaining the Bengals 413 yards to 299, but the Vikings were cursed by red-zone breakdowns and kicking woes. Spring Valley had three red-zone chances in the first half and came away with zero points. The Vikings had a punt blocked and missed two field goals.
“Blythewood has an outstanding defense, and we just could never get ahead,” said Vikings coach Miles Aldridge, whose team has lost two in a row after getting out to a 5-0 start. “We gave up too many big plays, and that kickoff return was the biggest of all. We’re better, but we’re just not mature enough to play at this level yet.”
Ruiz was the Blythewood offensive leader with 93 rushing yards on four carries — all in the fourth quarter. Lynard Jamison had a 53-yard scoring run on the first play of the second half, and he blocked a punt that Javon Smith scooped and returned 18 yards for a score in the first half.
Fullback Desmond Poole had a big game for the Vikings with 157 yards rushing on 11 carries, including a 69-yard scoring run.
B – Dean Beckford 29 run (Greg Huegel kick), 11:00
B – Javon Smith 18 blocked punt return (Huegel kick), 6:01
SV – Christian Miller blocked punt recovery in end zone (Cooper Gresham kick), 0:27
B – Lynard Jamison 53 run (Huegel kick), 9:52
SV – Malik Wilson 67 run (kick blocked), 11:06
B – Shyheim Brown 95 kickoff return (Huegel kick), 10:49
B – Ben Ruiz 62 run (Huegel kick), 5:47
SV – Desmond Poole 69 run (Dominique Taylor pass from Chris Adams), 4:52
B – Kylen Binn 4 run (Huegel kick), 1:55
SV – John Miller 62 pass from Adams (run failed), 1:37