SESSER — The message during the week of practice leading up to Friday’s game was simple for Sesser-Valier/Waltonville/Woodlawn: "Do your job.”
The Red Devils stymied future SIU Saluki Jacob Traxler to 75 yards as SVWW stayed undefeated with a 22-14 victory over the Eldorado Eagles in a Black Diamond Conference contest.
“Anytime you hold a [Division I] recruit to under 100 yards, you’ve got to take your hat off to your defense there,” said Red Devils coach John Shadowens. “Our defense did everything we asked of them and more tonight.”
SVWW’s defense held Eldorado to 145 yards on the ground.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Eagles’ coach Joe Clark. “That’s football; it’s going to happen. I wish we could have recovered, but credit to their kids.”
A one-yard run into the end zone from Eldorado’s Dawson Metten made it a one-score game with 10 minutes left. The two-point conversion failed as SVWW held to a 22-14 lead.
The Eagles were driving and in the red zone facing a fourth-and-5 from the SVWW six-yard line. That’s when the Red Devils’ defense stepped up and shut down Metten, one yard short of picking up the first down.
“The momentum was going their way and they kind of ran over us the drive before,” said Shadowens. “It looked like they weren’t going to be stopped. We got things straightened out, told them to just play football and they got their feet back under them.”
The stop was a definite turning point, according to Clark, even with almost six minutes still remaining on the clock.
“Players make plays,” said Clark. “Their kids made some plays. We were right there. It was just a couple inches. That’s life.”
The Red Devils never trailed in the game after Peyton Rock rushed from one yard out in the first quarter to make it 6-0. Rock finished with 12 carries for 93 yards.
A connection through the air from SVWW quarterback Clayton Smith to receiver Lukas Gunter made it 14-0 after the two-point conversion with 5:57 left in the first half.
“The kids did a good job of being coachable and listening,” said Shadowens. “We knew Eldorado would give us some things and it played out the way we thought it would.”
The Eagles found the end zone right before the half. A 23-yard pass from Kale Oglesby to Traxler with 80 seconds left made it 14-8 at the half after the two-point conversion pass from Oglesby to Braden Attebury.
“We just needed another two or three plays, but our kids played hard,” said Clark. “In a close game like that, it comes down to a handful of plays and they made them and we didn’t.”
The only score in the third quarter was a quarterback draw from Clayton Smith, who scored on a 42-yard scramble to put the Red Devils on top, 22-8, with 7:24 left after a two-point run from Eli Gunter.
The Eagles picked up one last touchdown with 10 minutes left, but the SVWW defense held Eldorado the rest of the way to improve to 3-0 on the season.
SVWW is back on the road Friday night when they travel to Johnston City to take on the Indians.
The Eagles (2-1) will return home the same night to welcome Carmi-White County. Both games are scheduled to kickoff at 7 o'clock.