GOLDTHWAITE — Goldthwaite routed Valley Mills, 48-7, at home Friday night, riding a tremendous effort from junior running back Quaid Seward to victory in the battle of the Eagles.
Seward finished the night with 223 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns for Goldthwaite. The victory leaves Goldthwaite undefeated at 2-0 in District 7-2A Division I play and 5-1 overall. Valley Mills dropped to 4-2 and 1-1 in district with the defeat.
The game was characterized by tough battles at the line of scrimmage as both teams sought to establish their running games. A handful of long runs provided most of the scoring for both teams, as Seward’s 44-yard touchdown run on the first play of Goldthwaite’s second drive set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Valley Mills took the opening kickoff, but fullback Lane Montgomery lost a fourth-down handoff and fumbled the ball to Goldthwaite. Valley Mills lost yet another fumble two drives later, after Seward’s touchdown, when running back Ramon Median lost the handle at the Goldthwaite 33 to end a threatening drive.
Two plays later, Seward took a second-down handoff 58 yards to the Valley Mills 10. Jaydan West finished the drive with a 10-yard rush on the next play, putting Goldthwaite up 13-0 after a missed extra point.
Kicker Leo Garcia struggled at times during the game, hitting only one of his first four extra point opportunities.
Goldthwaite head coach Greg Proffitt said he still had confidence in Garcia after the shaky night.
“He hadn’t missed an extra point up until tonight,” Proffitt said. “I think we’re 3 for 3 on field goals, and certainly if we need a field goal I’m going to send him out there to kick.”
After Valley Mills scored its first touchdown on a 74-yard reverse handoff to senior Branden Owens, Seward responded yet again with a one-play drive that put Goldthwaite in the end zone on a 56-yard run.
Valley Mills had an opportunity to make it a five-point game after Garcia missed another extra point and they drove deep into Goldthwaite territory. Valley Mills quarterback Chase Keeton’s pass at the 5-yard line was tipped and then intercepted by junior McKennan Jones, who returned the ball to the Goldthwaite 30-yard line to end the Valley Mills threat. Seward hurt his shoulder on the play but returned to the Goldthwaite offense after missing just one drive.
Goldthwaite scored two more touchdowns before the half, one of them on a 44-yard pass to senior Aris Shelton that marked quarterback Christian Valencia’s second completion of the night. Valencia finished the evening 4 of 10 for 119 yards.
Valencia’s third completion helped seal the victory for Goldthwaite, as he opened the third quarter by finding junior receiver Kyle Schwartz for a 64-yard completion. Goldthwaite went up 39-7 when Valencia scrambled 13 yards into the end zone. The next Valley Mills drive ended with more Goldthwaite points as a botched snap sailed over the punter’s head and through the end zone to give Goldthwaite a safety and a commanding 41-7 lead.
Goldthwaite was able to rest many of its starters in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Proffitt praised Seward and the offensive line for his big night.
“He’s a pretty good little running back,” Proffitt said. “He was hurt last year. He had a broken leg, and he’s done a good job coming back. His success starts up front with our offensive line, and we really hang our hat on the offensive line and their ability to play physical.”
Proffitt said his offense was happy to take the big plays that defined the evening, but was built to sustain drives as well.
“That’s not a part of our offense,” Proffitt said. “Yeah, we have some home runs here and there, but not very often do we call those things. We just want to be consistent … and be solid on first downs.”
Goldthwaite returns to action next week, traveling to San Saba (0-5, 0-1) to take on the rival Armadillos in “The Battle of the River” at 7:30 p.m. Friday.