By Larry Duling
DOWNS – Blake Cowden ran for over 200 yards and two touchdowns to lead Tri-Valley to its first playoff victory in school history with a 42-7 triumph over Havana in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs Friday night.
Tri-Valley moved its record to 9-1 and advances to the second round next week against the winner of today's game between Clifton Central and Watseka. Havana ended the season with a 6-4 record.
Cowden led a potent running attack that rushed for 450 yards and six touchdowns, three in the first quarter as the Vikings ran to a 21-0 lead. Freshman Payton Roop had runs of 9 and 12 yards before Cowden scored his first touchdown from 35 yards on the last play of the first quarter.
Brett Schenkel added a 4-yd score just before halftime for Havana’s only score, an 85-yard run by Dakota Moog.
With the Vikings leading 28-7 at the half, Cowden and Caleb Wilson went to work controlling the game while rushing for a combined 150 yards and two more touchdowns.
Tri-Valley’s defense held Havana to 139 yards total offense, 85 of which came on the Ducks' only score.
"We had kids step up and come forward tonight," said Tri-Valley coach Josh Roop. "I'm proud of our football team. I'm proud of the way they've stepped up all year. Different kids have gone down and different kids have stepped in. They believe in one another and they play for one another."
Cowden finished with 202 yards on 25 carries while Wilson added 153 yards on 23 carries.
"We worked harder than ever," said Cowden in preparation for the game. "That LeRoy week (a 34-0 loss last week) was kind of a wake-up call for us. We just executed very well tonight."
TV - Peyton Roop 9-yd. run (Aaron Tagala kick)
TV – Roop 12-yd. run (Tagala kick)
TV – Blake Cowden 35-yd. run (Tagala kick)
H – 85 yd run Dakota Moog Michael Myland kick
TV – Brett Schenkel 45-yd. run (Tagala kick)
TV – 13 yd run Cowden Tagala kick
TV – Caleb Wilson 5-yd. run (Tagala kick)