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September 21, 2014

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Vikings light up Liberty in 48-38 win

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Kyle B. Hansen

Valley quarterback Kerwyn Williams runs the ball during Friday’s game against Liberty.

Liberty vs. Valley

Valley's Gidion Tesfai celebrates a teammate's touchdown during Friday's game against Liberty. Launch slideshow »

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Early Friday afternoon, Valley High football coach John Elwell predicted, almost promised, electricity against Liberty on Friday night.

He couldn’t have been more accurate. A couple of tweaks in the Vikings’ offense ignited them past Liberty, 48-38, at Valley’s Piggott Memorial Stadium.

Senior quarterback Kerwynn Williams scored five touchdowns, which includes running a kickoff back for an 86-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that sealed the game.

Track star Garic Wharton, a 6-foot junior, caught one of Williams’s passes for a 33-yard touchdown and took the opening kickoff of the second half 83 yards for a score.

Williams played all over last week in a defeat to Del Sol, and Wharton didn’t play.

They provided the fuel for the 37-year-old Elwell’s first victory as a head coach. Drenched from a Gatorade shower and hoarse, Elwell was awarded the game ball by his players.

He will have them sign it for him when they gather at Valley on Saturday.

“I’m really excited for the kids,” said Elwell, an eight-year assistant for the Vikings before taking over the program this season.

“We made a couple adjustments, and they kept their composure. Wharton and Williams made some great plays. We were looking to put some pressure on them with our speed.”

Liberty (1-1) struck first in that department, as 5-foot-8 junior Shawn Murray returned the opening kick of the game 90 yards for a touchdown.

After the first drive of the second quarter -- which Murray capped with a 36-yard touchdown run through the middle -- Liberty had a 20-6 advantage.

But, as Elwell said, the Vikings kept their composure. Wharton, on the right side, caught a gorgeous 33-yard touchdown pass from Williams on a third-and-8 call that cut Valley’s deficit to 20-13.

Wharton’s return of the kickoff to open the second half knotted the score at 20-20, and jolted the Patriots.

“I never had a performance like this,” he said. “I’m pretty good at track, but there were some questions about the football field. Tonight, I proved myself.”

The Patriots lost some punch when Murray left the game for good with a sprained right ankle after Liberty’s fifth play of the third quarter.

Wharton showed he can take a licking. Toward the end of the third quarter, he got clocked by Michael Reveles just as he tried to field a punt.

Wharton writhed on the ground in pain, then turned on his stomach and puked. After a couple of minutes, he gathered himself with a Valley trainer by his side and sprung to his feet.

A diligent janitor cleaned up the mess with a broom, a metal receptacle and two bottles of water.

Three plays later, Wharton stung Liberty again with a 22-yard run around his left side on a third-and-14 play. Senior running back Malcolm Wilks ended that drive with a 52-yard touchdown run to make it 41-26.

That capped 21 consecutive points by the Vikings. Williams threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jim Videaux-Deaguila and Williams scampered 29 yards for a touchdown to set up Wilks.

Williams threw for 128 yards and ran for another 110. Two touchdowns came through the air and two on the ground. The 86-yard kick return for a score was the icing.

“I owe it all to my offensive line,” he said. “We really jelled as a team. We came out all as one. I was real comfortable; I’ve been playing quarterback all my life, so it’s not new to me.”

Does he envision more five-touchdown games?

“Oh, yeah,” Williams said. “Next week. Be ready.”

Liberty coach Lou Markouzis said he saw Williams playing all over the field on video of Valley’s loss to Del Sol a week ago.

“That was a hell of a move by their coach to make him quarterback,” Markouzis said. “He did a great job putting them in the right places. They made tremendous adjustments. If they played Del Sol again, they’d beat Del Sol.”

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