4-A: Valley's balance slowly wears down Johnston

4-A: Valley's balance slowly wears down Johnston

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4-A: Valley's balance slowly wears down Johnston

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Johnston High School fan Allison Klein, 17, of Johnston cheers for her team as they play Valley in the second quarter Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, during the second round of the IHSAA Class 4A playoffs at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.

There was no one single phase of Valley’s overall game that stood out Monday night — offense, defense, special teams, running game, passing game, you get the idea.

The problem for Johnston? They were all pretty darn impressive.

Class 4-A No. 3 Valley consistently chipped away at the determined Dragons, wearing them down for a 35-7 second-round playoff victory at Valley Stadium.

Valley improved to 10-1 and advanced to a Friday quarterfinal at Waukee; Johnston finished its season at 7-4.

PLAYOFF BRACKETS: Scores, pairings for all six classes

“It was a hard-fought game because we beat a good team,” Valley coach Gary Swenson said. “When you’re playing a good team, you can’t win with just a segment of your team contributing.”

Swenson got solid contributions across the board. Sophomore quarterback Rocky Lombardi threw for 139 yards and played a part in three touchdowns. Senior tailback Drew Gray had 172 yards and a score on 24 carries. And the Tigers’ defense was outstanding, too.

“We always have new guys step up every week, and our defense is phenomenal, one of the best in the state, in my opinion,” Lombardi said. “But it was an all-around great effort tonight.”

Prep football: Statewide second-round playoff scores

Valley held a 14-0 halftime lead, which was far more demoralizing for the Dragons than the score might indicate.

The Tigers took over at their own 38 with 40 seconds left in the half, up only 7-0. Lombardi found senior wideout Dominique Dafney deep down the left sideline for a 39-yard gain to the Johnston 8.

On the next play, Lombardi found Dafney in the right corner of the end zone, where he out-leaped a pair of Dragon defenders for a touchdown with three ticks left in the half.

“He’s incredible,” Lombardi said of Dafney. “For him to come down with that, I threw it up and saw him catch it — that was one hell of a catch. I was impressed.”

It was a huge momentum-changer, too.

“That score was the difference in the ballgame,” Swenson said.

Valley salted the game away late in the third quarter. The Tigers stuffed Johnston on a fourth-and-1 at its own 28, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moving the ball to the 14. Lombardi quickly cashed in, finding a wide-open Austin Hronich for a 14-yard score and 21-0 lead.

Johnston

Valley

First downs

13

19

Rushes-Yards

35-115

43-253

Passing

110

139

Comp-Att-Int

13-27-0

10-17-0

Fumbles-Lost

0-0

1-0

Penalties-Yards

3-25

2-25

Johnston

0

0

0

7

7

Valley

0

14

7

14

35

V—Lombardi 1 run (Hahn kick)

V—Dafney 8 pass from Lombardi (Hahn kick)

V—Hronich 14 pass from Lombardi (Hahn kick)

V—Salsbury 29 run (Hahn kick)

J—Seay 17 run (Zinselmeier kick)

V—Gray 42 run (Hahn kick)

Individual Leaders

Rushing—J: White 14-42; V: Gray 24-172.

Passing—J: Sinnett 12-25-100; V: Lombardi 10-17-100.

Receiving—J: Seay 2-26, Siems 2-26, Johnson 3-25; V: Dafney 4-56.

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