Lions football earns first win over Valiants


Cottage Grove football pulled off its first win of the season against Valley Catholic over the weekend before heading into conference play.

After running into an officiating issue on Friday, Sept. 24, the game between the Valiants and the Lions was moved to Saturday.

The two teams have seen their struggles this season as both were looking for their first victory of the season. Cottage Grove and Valley Catholic were averaging 10 points per game heading into Saturday’s bout. 

Valley Catholic got the ball to start the contest with Cooper Moissant catching a pass from Ryoma Lane for a gain of 25 yards to the Cottage Grove 30-yard line.

After a holding penalty against the Valiants, the ball moved back 10 yards and Valley Catholic was unable get a first down, forcing them to punt.

Cottage Grove muffed the punt and was scooped up by the Valiants who then had excellent field position at the Lions’ 13-yard line.

Lane scored on a quarterback keeper, but was negated by a holding penalty on the offense. The Lions stopped the Valiants on fourth down getting the ball at their own 10-yard line. After failing to get a first down, Cottage Grove punted back to Valley Catholic.

The Valiants were able to take advantage of a short punt from the Lions and converted their chance to score. Valiants wide receiver Luke Howes ran the ball in from five yards out for the first score of the evening (6-0 Valley Catholic).

Cottage Grove found themselves in a dangerous spot again as they were deep in their own territory after two penalties made it 3rd and 19 at the Lions own three-yard line. Brayden Crump tried to make a play but ended up throwing an interception to Valley Catholic.

The Valiants returned the interception for the score, growing their lead before halftime (13-0 Valley Catholic). 

The Lions offense started to get rolling in the second half as they came out of the locker room moving the ball aggressively down the field.

Crump found Chase Cordin for a 21-yard reception, which moved the Lions down to Valley Catholic’s 15-yard line. Crump then capped off the drive with a 15-yard quarterback keeper for the score (13-7 Valley Catholic).

After stopping Valley Catholic on a fourth down, the Lions had all the momentum on their side getting the ball back on offense. Parker Nelson was able to rip off a few runs in a row helping set up Lions first and goal at the Valiant 10-yard line.

Crump kept the ball again and started to run right, but cut back to find an open lane to the left for another Lions score, tying the game (13-13). 

With just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Valley Catholic tried to convert a fourth and four attempt on their own side of the field, but after a mishandled snap, the Valiants lost 16 yards, giving the ball back to Cottage Grove.

As the Lions set up their series at the Valley Catholic 28-yard line, Crump was able to find a hole in the Valiants’ defense for a gain of 19 yards down the Valley Catholic six.

Curtis Tucker was able to gain five more yards by moving the ball to the Valley Catholic one-yard line. Crump punched in the final yard for the touchdown and ran for a successful two-point conversion, taking the lead for Cottage Grove (21-13). 

With under two minutes left in the game, Cottage Grove was knocking on the door again and after Crump ran in another score from six yards out, the Lions’ lead grew to two touchdowns (27-13) with under a minute left in the game.

The Valiants caused some last-minute drama as they made two tremendous long passes to set them up for a 30-yard passing score from Lane to Henry McCarthy, which cut the Lions’ lead to eight (27-19). Valley Catholic had one last hope as they tried an onside kick that was recovered by Cottage Grove. The Lions then ran out the clock and secured their first victory of the season. 

Cottage Grove will look to keep their positive momentum rolling as they travel next week to face the Falcons of Elmira on Friday Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

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