The Bearcats defeated the home-standing Raiders 35-0 and led by four touchdowns once the starters took the sidelines for the night after trading offensive series to start the third quarter. Weaver, which pushed Madison Academy, the eventual Class 3A state finalist, to overtime in the first round a year ago, showed off its passing game and penchant for forcing turnovers.
Weaver starting quarterback Timothy Hawkins completed 12 of 18 passing attempts for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns while the Bearcats’ defense came up with three interceptions despite playing without Brandell Massey. The two-time All-Calhoun County linebacker, who sat out the exhibition to rest a slightly torn MCL before suiting up at home next week against Class 4A Cleburne County.
“We’re going to notice a lot on film but I like what I see,” Hamby said. “We’ve got a lot of room for improvement. The kids want to improve. It’s a great group to coach. We’ve just got to get ready. That’s a tough opponent, playing Cleburne County your first game.”
Pleasant Valley moved the ball up and down the field well all night, utilizing an option offense, something Hamby admitted his defense hadn’t practiced against, run to near perfection by junior quarterback Lucas Ford. But the Raiders struggled in the passing game throughout the contest.
Pleasant Valley gained 121 yards on the ground on 37 carries led by Dalton Bean, who carried the ball 12 times for 28 yards.
“I thought we played extremely hard at times,” Davis said. “Our offense moved the football. We stopped ourselves on three drives. We throw a pick and they run it down to the 1. It should’ve been 7-0 right there. It’s little bitty things that we can correct. You can’t correct effort and I think the effort was there.”
Pleasant Valley hosts Jacksonville in its season-opener.
A 17-yard pass from Hawkins to all-county athlete Chris English and an 11-yard scramble set up Weaver’s first score, an 8-yard run by Austin Jennings with 6:32 remaining in the first quarter. It capped a five-play, 41-yard drive. Fernando Forbes connected on the point after attempt to move the score to 7-0.
Weaver’s Deonte Monroe picked off Ford on the ensuing drive and returned it all the way down to the Raiders 1-yard line and English leaped over the line of scrimmage to help make the score 14-0.
Hawkins found English over the middle on the Bearcats next drive. The shifty junior would go to work from there, eluding defenders and racing to what looked like a sure touchdown before slipping near the Raiders’ 4 to set up a first-and-goal. However, Pleasant Valley’s defense would have it brightest moment of the night. Aided by a couple Weaver penalties, the unit hunkered down and kept the Bearcats out of the end zone, shutting down a screen pass on fourth-and-goal from the 6 to force the change of possession.
“I thought our defense rose up with our backs up against the wall down there,” Davis said.
A long interception return by Weaver’s Mike Stephens gave the Bearcats’ another possession before the half and Hawkins made the Raiders pay. He hit Mikey Homesley over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 50 ticks left in the second and the Bearcats went into halftime up 21-0.
Hawkins came out blazing in the second half.
He hooked up with English for a 31-yard touchdown with 8:31 to play in the third. English finished the game with four catches for 119 yard while rushing for 22 yards on five carries and adding a pass breakup and several stops on defense.
“We’ve got to have a good mind focus,” said Hawkins who also added a pick on defense, looking forward to next week. “Everyone has to be set and be ready to play the game we know we can play.”