Spring Valley quarterback Anton Stallworth had to dodge several obstacles to run for the winning touchdown at Clark on Friday night.
The play was a microcosm of the way the game unfolded for the Grizzlies.
Stallworth secured a high snap out of a shotgun formation, shed three would-be tacklers in the backfield and raced 27 yards around the left side with 24 seconds to play, rallying Spring Valley over the Chargers 27-20 in the teams’ Southwest League opener.
“I just felt the energy from the crowd and kept moving my feet,” the senior Stallworth said. “Then when I saw the end zone, I just kept running.”
Grizzlies coach Kelly Murphy said, “It was a quarterback trap, but it was a high snap and a slow-developing play. But Anton Stallworth is a great athlete. That was all effort on his part.”
Stallworth scored twice in the fourth quarter and finished with 66 yards passing and 57 rushing. His 1-yard sneak with 6:19 to play andSedal Lott’s 2-point conversion run tied the game at 20. The plays capped a 15-play, 62-yard possession that consumed about nine minutes.
The Grizzlies outgained Clark 343-95, but trailed most of the game because of two key turnovers and a big special teams play. Elbert Garry returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Chargers a 13-6 lead in the first quarter.
Keneal Riley boosted Clark’s lead to 20-6 by recovering a fumble in the end zone. Chris Jackson made an interception in the end zone for the Chargers in the second quarter.
“We got surprised,” Stallworth said of Clark’s fast start. “But our offensive line didn’t have their heads on. In the second half we got focused and (started) executing our assignments. Our offense finally started clicking and we started marching down the field.”
Spring Valley’s Brandon Lopez scored on a 72-yard TD run 31 seconds before halftime to cut the deficit to 20-12. Nick Santos scored on a 27-yard run in the first quarter.
“My hat’s off to Clark. They came out and beat us to the punch,” Murphy said. “We just happened to be a little bit better in the end.”