PINE GROVE -It's been a long road to the middle of the season for Valley.
It reached that point on a sad note, when the Lumberjacks visited Clay-Battelle, a community and a school in shock after the tragic death of Sydney Rush, a 16-year-old junior at the school.
Veteran coach Tom West agreed to play the game Monday, and the Cee-Bees won an emotional 45-22 contest.
To get to that point, however, Valley had just played three games (winning by forfeit against a Hundred team that could not play due to a lack of players) and had been off for 18 days.
"I wanted to do whatever we could to help Clay-Battelle," West said. "That team, that school and that community are going through a real tough time. We know the situation. It's a terrible tragedy."
The Lumberjacks (2-3) will start the second half of what they hope will be more typical of a football season, at St. John.
West said he feels like his team is about to turn the corner.
"Having not played a football game in a while showed (Monday)," West said. "It was almost like starting the season over as far as our play was concerned."
On the other hand, the Lumberjacks are relatively healthy, considering they've played just four games at a point where most teams are entering their sixth or seventh.
"That is a situation I think we will be able to use to our advantage, because we aren't banged up like a lot of teams are at this point," West said. "We are pretty much fresh at this point."
Expect Valley to run the football and then run it some more.
"We feel that we can run the football against them," West said. "We have some pretty good backs, and we have some backs with speed and some power backs. We are going to use them all."
Trey Streets, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound sophomore leads Valley, with more than 400 yards. Peyton Palmer checks in with close to 300 as a fullback. Others who will see action are Kale Lloyd, T.C. Long and Matt Throckmorton, a freshman.
"We have all kinds of backs," West said. "We can use speed. Or, we can move Palmer or Lloyd to the tailback and pound the football. That's what we are going to do."
St. John is off to an 0-6 start.
"They have been banged up but from what I saw scouting them they have a real good quarterback," West said. "For us, getting started again, we just have to do the things that we do."