Valley Football grabbed its sixth straight win against Pierce College to end their season, breaking 50 points for the first time this year.
By Edward Segal, Staff Writer
The Monarchs cruised to their sixth straight victory over the Brahmas, chiming the Victory Bell in celebration.
The fight for the 56-year-old artifact continued as Pierce College (0-8, 0-3 SCFA) and Valley College football (3-7, 2-3 SCFA) went head-to-head for the first time in two years. The Monarchs won the last five matchups of the series, and it was up to the Brahmas to try and end the winning streak.
“Pierce wants to play,” said Valley coach Lester Towns before the game. “They’re hungry, and if [the Monarchs] are not prepared, [they’re] gonna get [their] butt kicked.”
On arguably their most important night of the season, Valley was prepared.
Behind sophomore quarterback Isaiah Johnson’s five touchdown passes, 412 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns, Valley triumphed over their crosstown foes 58-9, ringing the bell after the win to show the Brahmas who it belongs to.
Pierce invested in its running game and looked promising behind it, reaching the Monarchs’ 18-yard-line on their first possession to start the contest. However, the Brahmas then turned the ball over on a failed fourth-down conversion. The turnover led to Valley’s first points on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to sophomore wide receiver Cameron Lewis.
On the next drive, Pierce quarterback Andrew Young threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Parker Pelletier, giving the Brahmas their first and only six-point play of the game. After the first quarter touchdown, Valley’s defense stifled their rival’s offense for the rest of the night.
Valley scored again on its first possession of the second quarter, this time on a 65-yard pass from Johnson to Lewis, making it a 14-7 Monarchs lead.
Pierce fought back, looking to tie it up with under five minutes left in the half. The Brahmas reached Valley’s 15-yard-line, only to be sent backward by two false start penalties. Still, Young completed a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Kamron Moreno to get to the one-yard line, only to lose five yards on another false start on the next play. On fourth-and-6, Young was tackled short of the endzone, turning the ball over to the Monarchs.
However, Valley committed a penalty on the play, giving Pierce another fourth-down opportunity at the 3-yard line. The Monarchs got another stop, and from this point on, they controlled the flow of the game.
“You treat the team that’s at the bottom of the conference like they’re the number one team when we play them,” said Towns. “We make sure that we don’t play down to our opponent’s level, but that they have to play to our level.”
Johnson rushed for a 3-yard touchdown with 52 seconds left in the half, seemingly giving the Monarchs a 14-point edge heading into halftime. However, 36 seconds later, sophomore defensive back John Moore intercepted a pass from Young, leading to another touchdown pass from Johnson to Lewis.
With a 27-7 halftime lead, Valley never looked back, tacking on another 31 points in the second half and allowing Pierce only to score two more points.
Outside of the pass that scored the touchdown for Pierce, most of the Brahmas’ progress moving downfield came from rushing attempts.
“I was nervous about the [Brahmas] run game,” said Towns, “but they didn’t have a lot of depth and got tired.”
Pierce only had 29 players available, and on top of that, was led by an interim head coach.
The Brahmas had many chances to score and slow the Monarchs down, but penalties stopped them in their tracks every time they got close.
On their first offensive possession, the Monarchs fumbled the ball. It was recovered by the Brahmas, only for offside to be called on the play, giving Valley the ball back. Later in the half, Pierce got close to its endzone on multiple occasions, only for false start and delay of the game penalties to be called, undoing all of its forward progress.
Valley celebrated its victory to end the season, rolling the bell onto the field and ringing it several times with jubilation. After the team enjoyed its win, Valley coach Lester Towns gave out a handful of awards to players, including the team’s most valuable player award to sophomore wide receiver Dupree Fuller Jr.
“He [Fuller Jr.] would outwork everyone at practice and played the same way,” said Towns. “However, there is no person more valuable than the team.”
Fuller Jr. agreed that one player is not better than the team and gave a parting message to his teammates after their final game of the season.
“You [are] all family, bro. I love y’all.”