ELIZABETHTON — It was pretty clear after the first possession of the game Happy Valley was in trouble.
It didn't get much better for the Warriors.
Sullivan South completely dominated, earning a 41-0 victory while outgaining the Warriors by a whopping total of 349 yards to 24 in the Three Rivers Conference football opener for both teams at Happy Valley's field.
The Rebels, a former Class AAA team in their first season of Class AA, improved to 3-0 overall while Happy Valley fell to 1-2.
Coming off a pair of tight victories, Rebels head coach Sam Haynie said he was well pleased with the response of his team in a heavy favorite role.
“I was extremely proud of the kids,” said Haynie. “They battled, ran the ball well, and played good run defense. That was the challenge, to come out and keep getting better.”
For the Warriors, it was a night to forget. They gained only 14 yards on 42 carries while completing 1 of 2 passes for 10 yards.
Twenty of Happy Valley's 44 plays from scrimmage went for no gain or a loss.
“We didn't offer up much resistance,” said Warriors' head coach Larry Shively. “But we will learn from this. We've got a great group of kids.”
South didn't have flashy individual stats, but didn't need them. Quarterback Dylan Wieger completed 7 of 16 passes for 121 yards and rushed three times for 33 yards. He was efficient and effective, accounting for four of the Rebels' six touchdowns — one rushing and three passing.
Running back Blake Christian had 11 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown.
But one of the real stories of the game was South's absolute manhandling of Happy Valley at the line of scrimmage. Dropping back to pass for the Warriors was like going to Food City: There was an excellent chance of getting sacked. The Warriors got just two passes off while getting sacked six times.
Included in the sack attack was a fumble recovery by Cody Shipley. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle scooped up the loose ball and thunderstruck his way 29 yards for a touchdown.
“That was obviously an exciting play for us,” said Haynie. “It got us charged up. Any time you see a 300-pound guy score a TD, it's pretty fun.”
The Rebels wasted little time taking advantage of their superior athletic ability. On the fourth play of the game, Wieger capped a 55-yard drive by tucking the ball under his arm and going around the end for an 18-yard battle-through-tackle-attempts romp to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
On South's next possession, Wieger pitched a nice soft toss toward the back pylon and Christian Comsa used his 6-foot-4 frame to outleap the defender for a 12-yard touchdown.
Two plays later, the Rebels clobbered Happy Valley freshman quarterback Sage Haun and forced a fumble. Shipley scooped it up and rumbled into the end zone for a lightning quick 21-0 lead.
In the second quarter, South was at it again. Evan Headrick took a little slot swing pass and got to the sideline, eventually racing 32 yards for another Rebels' touchdowns.
South wrapped up the first-half scoring as Wieger rolled out and tossed a flat-pattern pass to Tommy Morris for a 34-0 halftime lead.
Quickly enacting the 35-point mercy rule, the Rebels scored on their first second-half possession. Christian finished it off with a two-yard dash to paydirt.