Versatility leads the Wolves to No. 1
HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley High School is No. 1 this week in the Class AAA state football ratings after a 21-13 win at previously top-rated Capital.
Given that the Timberwolves were thought of as one of the state’s top teams heading into the season, it wasn’t really a surprise when they rose to the top of the ratings.
What has been a surprise, though, is how the Timberwolves got there.
Offensively, Spring Valley has consistently intermingled three quarterbacks into its arsenal while running the gamut of formations. That versatility is something head coach Brad Dingess boasted of last week.
“We did a little bit of everything,” Dingess said. “We got in the spread and, heck, we were in an eight-man line there to end the game.”
In the second half of the win over Capital, Spring Valley went to the eight-man front and started seeing holes with Graeson Malashevich — normally a wingback — lined up at quarterback with running backs Owen Chafin or Isaac Howard flanking him. Malashevich had touchdown runs of 39 yards and 12 in the second half to propel the win.
“We just felt like we could run with the quarterback,” Dingess said. “It gave us an extra guy in there. I’d be crazy if I didn’t put the ball in No. 7′s hands. We were getting a great push.”
When it came to crunch time, the power attack was back with Malashevich, Chafin and Howard each making big runs as the Timberwolves grinded out the final 7:13 of action, executing on third-and fourth-down plays to keep Capital’s high-powered offense off the field.
The funny aspect to it was the second half was a stark contrast to the Timberwolves’ first scoring drive of the game late in the first half.
On that drive, the Timberwolves went to the spread look with 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterback Will Adkins completing a 26-yard reception to Malashevich that helped set up Chafin’s 9-yard score. With the defense spread out, Chafin got the handoff in space and won a one-on-one battle, running over a Capital defensive back en route to the end zone.
That spread attack also proved to be vital the week before against George Washington when Adkins finished 9 of 13 for 302 passing yards and five touchdowns while Malashevich lined up at receiver and caught four passes for 178 yards and three scores. The GS Patriots tried to take away the run, daring Spring Valley to throw and the Timberwolves took on the challenge.
The one constant for Spring Valley is its massive offensive front that includes Ohio State commitment Doug Nester, Louisville commitment Zach Williamson and sophomore Wyatt Milum, who already has Power 5 offers despite only playing in a half dozen games on the offensive line in his high school career.
No matter what looks are thrown at the Timberwolves, the offensive line has made sure the play is executed in both run and pass situations.
“We’re not like everybody else, so we don’t get the traditional defense that everybody else plays,” Dingess said. “They throw funky stuff at us all the time. I think our kids adjust to it and once we got it figured out, we’re able to get positive yardage.”
This week, the Timberwolves host Riverside (1-4) that is allowing just less than 20 points per game and has only one win to show for it.
Dingess isn’t sure what look the Warriors will show Friday, but to this point Spring Valley has shown it has weapons to match whatever is thrown at it.
RIVERSIDE (1-4) AT SPRING VALLEY (6-0)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
RADIO: 92.7-FM and 98.5-FM The Planet