The showdown of powers in the LCL–Big School Division turned out to be one-sided as host Licking Valley delivered a 33-14 victory over Licking Heights at Randy Baughman Field on Oct. 18.
The Panthers bolted to a 14-0 first-quarter lead as quarterback Grant Garber connected on his first nine passes for 95 yards. Licking Valley — which has lost only one home league game since 2005 — scored on two of its first three possessions as it improved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the league. Licking Heights dropped to 7-1 and 1-1.
“I think we threw them off guard early and surprised them,” Garber said. “I really liked our game plan. We worked toward this and everyone was on the same page from the start and that got (Licking Heights) on their heels.”
Garber connected with Ty Griffith on a 17-yard touchdown reception midway through the first quarter for the first of his three scoring passes
Tyler Nethers then recovered a Hornets’ fumble near midfield and Garber found Griffith for a 5-yard touchdown pass six plays later. Nethers had four receptions for 31 yards and also had an interception.
Tanner Nethers made four catches for 113 yards, and Griffith had six for 88 yards.
“(Garber) did a great job passing and our receivers ran great routes all night long and found the seams and windows,” Licking Valley coach Randy Baughman said. “It all starts up front. Our offensive line did a great job picking up the games they threw at us.”
Hunter Hartshorn added a 1-yard touchdown run and Garber threw a 45-yard scoring pass to Mason Baker to make it 26-0 midway through the second quarter.
The Panthers dominated in all aspects, limiting the Hornets to 3 yards or fewer 13 times on Licking Heights’ 22 first-down plays.
“Getting them behind schedule by winning first down is a big plus and something we stressed all week because of their pound-it-at-you style,” Baughman said. “I thought our entire defense came ready to play. We were focused and it showed. We put them in uncomfortable positions.”
Licking Valley also won the field-position battle, as Licking Heights started drives outside their own 30 yard-yard line just three times.
“We wanted to make sure they had to drive the length of the field,” Baughman said. “We knew they have some game-breakers, but if we could limit their big plays and stop them on first downs and just make them work, we felt we had a much better chance.”
Quarterback Martell Davis led Licking Heights with 41 yards rushing on nine carries. Running back Ron Carruthers-Kimball had 36 yards on 11 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown just before halftime to make it 26-7. He also scored on a 55-yard punt return.
LV – Griffith 16 pass from Garber (Harlow kick)
LV – Griffith 5 pass from Garber (Harlow kick)
LV – Hartshorn 1 run (kick failed)
LV – Baker 45 pass from Garber (pass failed)
LH – Carruthers-Kimball (Christian kick)
LV – Tanner Nethers 59 pass from Tyler Nethers (Harlow kick)
LH – Carruthers-Kimball 55 punt return (Christian kick)