Marvin Ridge stops Sun Valley 28-20 to remain undefeated

Marvin Ridge running back Caleb Woodley scores a touchdown against Sun Valley. (Photo by Greg Arthur)

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By the Numbers

2 Marvin Ridge forced two Sun Valley fumbles.

3 Marvin Ridge scored on three-straight possessions in the second half.

213 Marvin Ridge rushed for 213 yards in the game.

254 Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell passed for 254 yards.

Marvin Ridge kept Sun Valley’s high-octane offense in check and the Mavericks scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions in the second half to defeat the Spartans 28-20 in a Southern Carolina Conference game on Oct. 27.

The win keeps Marvin Ridge undefeated at 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the conference and sets up a Southern Carolina Conference showdown with Charlotte Catholic at home on Nov. 3. Catholic moved to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the SCC with a 49-10 win over Cuthbertson on Oct. 27. The winner of Friday’s game will win the SCC title.

Sun Valley (7-3, 3-3 SCC) entered the game averaging 42.6 points a contest but the Marvin Ridge defense came up with big play after big play. The Mavericks forced Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell to fumble twice in the first half and Mavericks junior defensive back Marcus Robitaille saved a touchdown when he batted away a Howell pass that was a sure touchdown late in the first half.

Marvin Ridge also came up with a key fourth down stop early in the fourth quarter while leading 21-12. Howell rushed for 107 yards in the first half as Marvin Ridge took a 7-6 halftime lead but the junior had just 18 yards rushing in the second. Howell was 17-of-27 passing for 254 yards.

“To hold that offense to 20 points, that means you have done some good stuff,” said Marvin Ridge head coach Aubrey Carter. “We had a good game plan and we limited some of the stuff they like to do. I thought our defensive line played very well and the secondary stayed disciplined and did a good job. Our linebackers did a good job tackling in space.”

Marvin Ridge finished the game with 213 yards rushing. Senior Caleb Deveaux 16 times for 99 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Bryce McLain rushed for 74 yards but the senior had 7 carries for 66 yards in the second half. McLain was 7-of-15 passing for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Sun Valley took a 12-7 lead with 6:24 left in the third quarter when Don McLendon scored from the three. But Marvin Ridge would counter with three-straight scoring drives.

Marvin Ridge twice converted on third down before McLain capped a 50-yard scoring drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Devin Powell with 3:26 left in the third quarter. Robitaille’s two-point conversion run gave the Mavericks a 15-12 lead.

Marvin Ridge’s defense then forced Sun Valley into a three-and-out and Mavericks went 52 yards in eight plays and took a 21-12 lead with 11:50 left in the game when Caleb Woodley scored from the nine. Woodley carried five times for 30 yards on the drive.

Marvin Ridge’s defense came up with another big defensive stand when they stopped the Spartans on downs at their own 45. Six plays later, Deveaux gave the Mavericks a 28-12 lead with a four-yard touchdown run with 6:36 left in the game.

Sun Valley cut the lead to 28-20 with 4:17 left in the game when McLendon scored from the three but that would be the Spartans last snap from scrimmage as the Mavericks held on for the win.

“Offensively, we did a better job in the second half,” Carter said. “With our offensive line playing extremely well, we trust our running game. Obviously, Bryce can run and our two backs (Deveaux and Woodley) ran the ball well and we were able to sustain drives in the second half.”

Marvin Ridge will be seekings its second outright conference championship when Catholic visits Friday.

“We are excited about where we are right now, but we know Charlotte Catholic is a good football team,” Carter said.

Scoring Summary

Marvin Ridge 28

Sun Valley 20

Marvin Ridge 7 0 8 13 — 28

Sun Valley 6 0 6 8 — 20

First Quarter

MR — Brown 17 pass from McLain (Lopez kick), 7:10

SV — Howell 2 run (Kick failed), 3:40

Third Quarter

SV — McLendon 3 run (Run failed), 6:24

MR — Powell 15 pass from McLain (Robitaille run), 3:26

Fourth Quarter

MR — Woodley 9 run (Kick failed), 11:50

MR — Deveaux 4 run (Lopez kick), 6:36

SV — McLendon 3 run (Howell run), 4:17

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at