Penney runst past Valle Catholic

Steve Smith/PrepsKC

By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 24, 2012 - 9:44 AM

ST. LOUIS - There was no secret to Penney's success heading into the Class 1 Show-Me Bowl. The Hornets ran, ran and then ran some more behind Derrick Hughes, Kellen Overstreet and Devan Hughes.

Early on, it was Valle Catholic (12-3), the two-time defending state champs and making its fourth consecutive trip to the Edward Jones Dome that gave the Hornets (15-0) a taste of their own medicine.

But in the end, it was Penney's passing game, ironically, that propelled the Hornets in a back-and-forth 60-34 victory and their second Class 1 state championship in four years and third title overall in that time after winning the Class 2 championship in 2010.

"They are a great team," Penny head coach David Fairchild said of Valle Catholic. "They've won 11 state championships, but we knew we weren't going to just run the ball, but believe it or not, we do practice passing the ball. We don't like to do it, but we practice it a lot so if we have to have it, then we can execute it, and it was big for us today.

Coincidentally, the last time the Hornets won the Class 1 state title was over these same Warriors back in 2009.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Valle Catholic lead 34-33. With 7:08 to play in the game, Derrick Hughes scored on a five-yard run to put Penney up for good at 39-33. Then, the Hornets exploded for 21 points in the span 38 seconds.

First, Overstreet caught a 76-yard pass for a score from Drew Finch with 2:30 left to play in the game. Just 24 seconds later, Derrick Hughes ran for a 62-yard touchdown that was set up by an Overstreet interception on Valle Catholic's previous position. Finally, Keithan Litton returned an interception 44 yards for a score 14 seconds later on Valle's next position.

The Warriors came out and immediately tried to set the tone of the ballgame scoring twice in the first quarter. Just two minutes into the game, junior quarterback Nolan Wood connected with Trevor Klump on a nine-yard score. Just five minutes later, junior tailback Tyler Fallert rumbled 27 yards to put Valle Catholic up 14-0.

"Our kids don't panic," Fairchild said. "You're probably going to see about the same expression on their face if their 14 down or 14 ahead. Valle Catholic is a great team, and we finally got them stopped at the end of the game and told the coaches we're going to try and see if we can end the thing, because I didn't want to give them the ball back."

Penney finally got on the board when Derrick Hughes scored on a five-yard run midway through the second quarter. The Warriors answered with another Fallert touchdown, this time for 30 yards. Overstreet added a score right before halftime, and Valle Catholic led 21-14 at the break.

Fallert finished the night with 262 yards and three touchdowns, but the one-two punch of Derrick Hughes (218 yards, three touchdowns) and Overstreet (129 yards, two touchdowns) were too much for Valle Catholic to overcome and gain a third consecutive state championship.

"We knew if we kept running down their throats, they were going to get tired and tired," Derrick Hughes said. That's what we did and wore them down, and they couldn't handle us anymore."