HUMBOLDT — The signs all pointed to Caney Valley stealing a win from Humboldt, which held its home opener Friday night.
Ominous clouds rolled over the Humboldt Sports Complex as the Bullpups returned the opening kickoff to the Cubs’ 38-yard line.
Thunder bellowed from the depths of the darkening sky as Caney Valley scored on a 38-yard touchdown run in the game’s first play from scrimmage.
But unfortunately for the Bullpups, Cubs’ head coach Logan Wyrick doesn’t scare easily — even after lightning forced officials to delay the game midway through the second quarter.
Humboldt (2-1) bounced back from a quick 7-0 deficit against Caney Valley (2-1) to win 22-20.
But the victory was anything but certain for the Cubs after each team threatened to give away the game via turnovers.
Two Caney Valley giveaways in the first quarter — one interception and one fumble — allowed Humboldt to take advantage of a short field. The Cubs made the most of both opportunities by scoring touchdowns immediately following the turnovers.
Senior Anthony Doran pitched the ball to fellow senior Bryce Isaac for the first score, and senior Rhett Smith recorded a 2-yard touchdown run for Humboldt’s second score.
But the Cubs were bitten by the turnover bug late in the first half, throwing two interceptions in the final 1:19 of the second quarter.
Humboldt’s offense was bailed out by the defense, which picked off Caney Valley with 31 seconds left. Then the clock saved the Cubs after turning the ball over again with just eight seconds left in the half.
the clock saved the Cubs after turning the ball over again with just eight seconds left in the half.
But unfortunately for Wyrick’s squad, the Cubs continued their ball security problems in the third quarter.
In fact, Humboldt didn’t take long to turn the ball over after halftime.
The Cubs coughed up the ball on the kickoff to start the second half, which allowed Caney Valley to tie the game with a 20-yard touchdown run.
Humboldt’s kickoff team didn’t let its last turnover affect them long, however.
On the subsequent kickoff from Caney Valley, Isaac ran the kick back 82 yards to the end zone to put Humboldt back on top 22-14 following the successful two-point conversion.
An eight-point victory seemed all but sealed with the way Humboldt’s defense had been stalling Caney Valley’s offense.
But the Bullpups surprised the remaining crowd by putting together a 55-yard drive that ended with a touchdown to cut the lead to 22-20. With 8:30 left in the game, Caney Valley head coach Criss Davis decided to go for two to try and tie the game.
But the Cubs’ defense came through when it needed to and the Bullpups failed their two-point conversion.
And when Caney Valley had the ball with 4:35 left in the contest and still down by two, Humboldt’s defense stepped up again.
The Cubs brought down the Bullpups quarterback for a sack on a crucial 4th-and-6. The turnover on downs gave Humboldt the ball and a chance to run out the clock.
But the Cubs were unable to pick up a first down and faced a punting situation with just more than two minutes remaining.
Rather than give the Bullpups the chance to win, however, Wyrick called a fake punt pass, which was executed perfectly for a first down. The risky call paid off as Humboldt never gave up possession and survived the back-and-forth contest.
Isaac led the Cubs to victory with a touchdown run in the first quarter to tie the game and an 82-yard kickoff return in the third to retake the lead.
And Doran was Humboldt’s other MVP after guiding the Cubs offense throughout the game and also converting that crucial 4th-down fake punt pass late in the fourth quarter.
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