The Tug Valley Panthers rallied from a halftime deficit to pick up a big homecoming win over the East Ridge Warriors on Friday in Naugatuck.
The Panthers (4-0) jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter before the Warriors (2-2) lit up the scoreboard with 22 points in the second quarter. East Ridge took a 22-19 advantage into the intermission after two Dylan Burdine touchdown passes and a touchdown run from Isaiah Adkins. However, that would be all of the scoring the Warriors would be able to muster on the night.
The Panthers outscored East Ridge 14-0 in the second half and clinch a huge win over a Kentucky foe that is considered Class AA in West Virginia for the WVSSAC rankings.
Bryson Elia was a workhorse for Tug Valley. For the game, he carried the ball 36 times for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 8 yards.
Quarterback, Elijah Fluty connected on 4-of-9 passes for 23 yards. He also had 26 yards and a touchdown rushing. Adam Slone added 63 yards on 10 carries and 1 touchdown. Noah Canterbury added 5 yards on a carry.
Ashton Davis added 2 receptions for 8 yards, and Brady Brewer had a catch for 7 yards.
Defensively, Austin Smith had 7 total tackles. Davis had 4 tackles, including 3 for a loss and 1 sack. Elia had 4 tackles, with 1 going for a loss. Slone added 4 tackles. Hubert Marcum had 3 tackles, with 1 going for a loss, and a fumble recovery.
East Ridge’s attack was led by Burdine. He was 11-of-18 for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns while adding 40 yards on 9 carries.
Adkins led the running game with 125 yards on 12 carries. Nathan Martin added 22 yards on 3 carries. Steven Layne finished with 4 yards on 3 carries.
Zack Mason led all receivers with 100 yards and a touchdown on 7 catches. Brad Howell had 1 reception for 29 yards and a touchdown. Adkins added 3 catches for 26 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Layne led the way with 12 tackles, with 2 going for a loss. Bobby Taylor had 10 tackles. Howell added 9 tackles. Burdine added an interception.
Tug Valley came into the game tied for 2nd in the latest rankings, and this win should help maintain their position leading into next week. Up next for the Panthers is a trip to Virginia for a match up with the Hurley Rebels. Hurley enters the game with a 3-1 record, including a 52-26 win over River View on Friday.
With the loss, East Ridge falls to 2-2. The Warriors return home next week, for a showdown with the Prestonsburg Black Cats. Prestonsburg heads into the contest with a 5-0 record after a 33-28 win over Floyd Central on Friday.
Kickoff for both contests is set for 7:30 pm on Friday.
Photo by Karen Watts