BLACKSVILLE - "Playing football with your feet is one thing. Playing it with your heart is another."
Those words, followed by a pink Superwoman-style "S," adorned the banner the Clay-Battelle football team burst through as it took the field for the first time since the death of C-B junior Sydney Rush last Monday in a car accident.
In their ensuing 45-22 rout of Valley on Monday night, the Cee-Bees played with both.
"We came into this game with heavy hearts, for Sydney," C-B running back Jacoby Steele said. "And each player, that's who they played for. And they all gave it their full effort, 110 percent. Some people were worried about us being sluggish, but when we play with our hearts, we are unstoppable."
The No. 11 Cee-Bees (5-0) took four plays to score to open the game and held Valley (2-3) to one first down in the first quarter to take a 19-0 lead.
Steele rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns on five carries. His highlight, and third score of the first half, was a 70-yard dash through the middle and up the sideline.
Quarterback Tristan Haught completed 8 of 9 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and added 44 yards and two touchdowns on three carries.
He weaved for a 47-yard touchdown run on a broken play on a late second-quarter fourth-down, giving the Cee-Bees their 39-0 halftime lead.
"We were very proud of the first half performance," C-B coach Ryan Wilson said. "We executed everything we wanted to do. The offensive line, they were really making the holes. It was easy for everyone to run the ball. Tristan had time to pass, receivers ran great routes. Defensively, they did their jobs. Just very proud of everything."
Tanner Bragg caught both touchdown passes, one on a 17-yard leaping rout in the end zone, and another on a WVU Geno Smith to Tavon Austin-style push pass, followed by an 18-yard scamper to the outside. Bragg tallied 82 yards on five receptions.
Braden Barr had three interceptions, and returned one 55 yards for a touchdown before it was called back for a block in the back.
Though Wilson would like to see the Cee-Bees clean up their two failed 2-point conversion attempts and their two missed PATs, his special teams came up with several big plays on the night.
Tanner Six blocked a Valley PAT, and Bragg recovered a Valley muffed punt and returned it seven yards to the Lumberjacks 24, setting up his own touchdown on the next play.
Before the game, there was a moment of silence to honor Rush and Dylan Jeffries, a South Harrison football player who died Sunday night after being injured in a recent game against Lincoln.
The Valley players released balloons as a tribute. Valley Wetzel coach Tom West also agreed to move the game originally scheduled for Friday to Monday evening.
"We thank coach West and their administration," Wilson said. "They are a class act. They knew what we were going through and were willing to work along with us. We are all small communities. None of us want to be going through what we went through. Your community pulls together and whenever you see another community having to go through that - my heart breaks for South Harrison. It's heartbreaking."