Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn looked to not only ride the momentum of a 2-0 start to the season, but make a statement against one of the Black Diamond Conference's best the last couple of years against also unbeaten Eldorado.
To make sure the statement was made, The Red Devils put the ball in the hands of 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior Eli Gunter, who racked up 113 yards on 18 carries, but it was senior quarterback Clayton Smith who made the biggest statement with a 42-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that propelled S-V-W-W to a 22-14 win over Eldorado Friday night at Carroll Kelly Field.
Smith also had a first half pass to Lucas Gunter from 14 yards out that gave S-V-W-W a 14-0 lead, this coming before Peyton Rock (9 carries for 71 yards) had a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Smith finished with 29 yards on three carriers and threw for 55 more as the Red Devils improved to 3-0 in the league and join Fairfield as the only two unbeaten teams in the BDC.
S-V-W-W head coach John Shawdowens said afterward the game was everything he thought it would be.
"Eldorado is a two-time Black Diamond Conference champion, they fought like it and my hats off to them and our kids. "It wasn't a game we had to have as far as getting into the playoffs. Our goal is to have a home playoff game, but this is a win we really needed and we got it."
Eldorado (2-1) got on the board late in the first half to get within six when Kale Oglesby hooked up with Jacob Traxler from 23 yards out with 1:20 to play in the second quarter. Oglesby then found Braden Attebury in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
There wasn't much going for Eldorado in the second half as the Eagles struggled to sustain any drives. EHS had five possessions in the second half, the first was a three-and-out, the second, Eldorado turned the ball over on downs.
With 10:06 to play in the fourth quarter, Eldorado got back to within striking distance as Metten bull rushed his way in from two yards out, but the Eagles were unable to complete the two-point conversion.
After Eldorado's Connor Watt picked off Clayton Smith, the Eagles put another drive together, albeit, stalled out after Metten was stopped two yards shy of a first down.
Eldorado then forced S-V-W-W to punt, but in the winding minutes, Oglesby was picked off and S-V-W-W was able to run out the clock for the win.
For Eldorado head coach Joe Clark, who said he felt like his team shot themselves in the foot with missed opportunities and turnovers.
"That's football and it's going to happen," Clark said. "I wish we could have recovered from it. Credit to (S-V-W-W) kids for hanging in there, they played hard. We did too, we just needed another two or three possessions. In a close game like that against a good opponent, it comes down to about two or three plays. Sesser made them and we didn't. We were right there, we just feel short."
Traxler had 81 yards on 18 carries for Eldorado, who has a team had 142 yards on 37 carries. S-V-W-W controlled the ground game with 221 yards on 35 carries.
S-V-W-W is at Johnston City next week, while Eldorado hosts Carmi-White County with both games starting at 7 p.m.
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Harrisburg Register, Eldorado Journal & The Gallatin County Democrat. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.
Eldorado 00 08 00 06 -- 14
S-V-W-W 06 08 08 00 -- 22
S-V-W-W -- Rock 1 run, (kick failed), 5:29
S-V-W-W -- Smith 14 pass to L. Gunter (Smith to L Gunter), 5:57
ELD -- Oglesby 23 pass to Traxler (Oglesby to Attebury), 1:20
S-V-W-W -- Smith 42 run (E Gunter conversion), 7:24
ELD -- Metten 2 run (conversion failed), 10:06
First Downs 9 10
Rushes-Yards 37-142 35-221
Comp-Att-Int 5-12-1 4-8-3
Passing 61 55
Total Yards 203 276
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties 5-40 9-90
Rushing -- ELD: Watt 4-18, Jenkins 2-7, Traxler 18-81, Metten 10-41, Roberts 1-0, Oglesby 2-(-5). S-V-W-W: Malone 4-8, E. Gunter 18-113, L. Gunter 1-0, Rock 9-71, Smith 3-29.
Passing -- ELD: Oglesby 5-12-1 61. S-V-W-W: Smith 4-8-3 55.
Receiving -- ELD: Attebury 3-14, Traxler 1-23, Mayberry 1-24. S-V-W-W: L. Gunter 4-55.