BV Southwest outlasts BV Northwest

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 28, 2017 - 11:41 PM

With a little more than four minutes left before halftime it looked like Thursday night’s Blue Valley Southwest-Blue Valley Northwest game would be a game that might be decided in the final minutes or at least the fourth quarter, as the two teams were all tied at 14.

Turns out, the Timberwolves decided the game over the course of their next five drives.

Southwest would score four touchdowns in their next five drives to build a 42-14 lead, on its way to a 52-27 victory.

“In the second half, we started to get some confidence,” said Timberwolves quarterback Will Eldridge, who accounted for five touchdowns - four through the air and one on the ground. “We had some good drives going in the first half and then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot. Once we eliminated those negative plays we started to light up the scoreboard.”

The drive that seemed to turn things for the Timberwolves was their final one of the first half. They put together a methodical 65-yard drive with three third-down conversions, a fourth-down conversion, and, finally, a 3-yard touchdown from Eldridge to Billy Bartlett with the clock running as time expired. Just like that, it was 21-14 at the half.

“We were going (for the touchdown) all the way,” Eldridge said. “Their defense wasn’t set, so we wanted to attack now and see if we could get a touchdown.”

Northwest head coach Clint Rider wasn’t surprised the Timberwolves went for the touchdown over spiking the ball and trying the field goal attempt.

“I expected them to run a play,” Rider said. “They were coached up well there to know what to do.”

From there it turned into the Eldridge and Bartlett Show, with some impressive cameos from the defense.

That defense forced a turnover on downs to start the second half, which the offense quickly turned into a touchdown when Eldridge found Bartlett on a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-14.

Two possessions later for the Huskies, Southwest’s Eli Dickerson sacked Payton Hartman and forced a fumble, which the Timberwolves recovered. Four plays later, Eldridge found Bartlett again, this time from 12 yards out for a 35-14 lead.

The next Timberwolves defender to make big play was Nate Adamson, as he picked off Hartman. This time it only took two plays for the offense to strike, as Eldridge found Bartlett for the fourth time on a 46-yard touchdown and a 42-14 lead.

“We’ve been a good duo since eighth grade,” Eldridge said of him and Bartlett being so in sync. “He’s always been my guy. And the o-line was great tonight. They gave me plenty of time to make those throws.”

As for the defense, they forced six turnovers for the game - four interceptions and two fumbles.

“The defense the last two games has been lights out,” Southwest head coach Anthony Orrick said. “They have found their mojo. We have a lot of young kids in the secondary and they’ve had to get their feet wet and figure it out.”

Added Eldridge, “Those turnovers get us going, too. Everyone has confidence in what we’re doing and the momentum starts going our way.”

For Rider and the Huskies, now 1-4, they were left trying to make sense of a disappointing offensive performance.

“We were too inefficient on offense,” Rider said. “We didn’t have any turnovers last week. We have to do a better job responding when things don’t go our way. … We’re averaging about 2 yards a carry. That’s not going to cut it. I have to do a better job of preparing our offense and our team in general.”

The Timberwolves improved to 3-2 with the win and have now won two straight, as they get ready to finish the regular season against the trio of Blue Valley, St. Thomas Aquinas and Blue Valley North.

“We knew the last two games were must-wins if we wanted to get back rolling,” Orrick said, “because we have three tough teams coming up.”