It was everything you could want from a regional championship game. Beautiful facilities and great crowds on both sides creating an electric atmosphere befitting of a high school playoff game.
Unfortunately, the final score was not what most of us wanted as Sun Valley fell to A.C Reynolds, 28-25 in a heartbreaking loss that will be talked about for years.
The game started much like last week’s win versus Mt. Tabor. Sun Valley takes the kickoff and gets on the scoreboard with an impressive opening touchdown drive on the road. This game started even better for the Spartans as A.C. Reynolds offense was sputtering and committing penalty after penalty in the first half.
At halftime, Sun Valley built a 19-10 lead on three Sam Howell touchdowns. On the Spartans' last two first-half drives, both extra points were blocked. You hate to leave points off the scoreboard especially in a playoff game, and these points would impact the play-calling late in the game which resulted in a bad call by the referee.
A.C. Reynolds took the second half kickoff and scored quickly on a 68-yard touchdown connection, pulling them within two points of Sun Valley, 19-17.
The penalty bug hit Sun Valley hard in the second half erasing offensive gains and slowing momentum.
However, the Spartans fought through their second-half malaise when Howell hit Anthony Marple in the end zone late in the third quarter to make the score 25-17. The next play would be controversial not in the play-calling, but the actual missed call by the referee.
After the Marple TD, Sun Valley attempted the 2 pt conversion to make up for the blocked field goals in the first half. Howell took the snap and angled in, reaching out for the pylon for the apparent two points. The referee did not agree, thus turning the ball over to Reynolds. Photos shared on the sidelines of the play proved the crucial missed call.
It was the game’s turning point. Reynolds scored a touchdown and two-point conversion thirty-two seconds to tie the game at 25.
One last head-scratching ref's decision that pushed momentum in Reynolds’ favor, a questionable spot on a short 4th down yardage play with Sun Valley on the doorstep for a touchdown or field goal.
A.C Reynolds broke the tie with a field goal late in the fourth quarter that would be the eventual game-winner.