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The Braves get 39 first half points en route to a blowout victory over the Valiants, improving to 5-0 on the season

COURTESY PHOTO STEWART MONROE PHOTOGRAPHY - Banks' Gunnar Partain carries the ball during the Braves' game versus Valley Catholic Sept. 29 at Valley Catholic High School.A season that started as a bit of mystery for Banks is potentially inching toward something special.

The Braves dismantled Valley Catholic 48-7 last Friday, Sept. 29, at Valley Catholic High School, and in the process improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Cowapa League.

Banks scored first just minutes into the contest and after Valley tied it — and then took a 7-6 lead on a Daniel Pruitt to Trey Eberhart 54-yard pass play — it was all Braves all the time as the visiting Cowapa League rival beat the Valiants into submission with a 39-7 halftime lead.

The Braves were led by junior quarterback Hayden Vandehey, who finished the night completing 12 of his 15 pass attempts for 166 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 151 yards and two scores, including an 86-yarder to ice the game in the second half. The first-year starter has been phenomenal in his five starts, averaging 235 yards through the air and more than 70 on the ground per game. He's also completing 62 percent of his passes and has 15 touchdown throws to just four interceptions.

Banks seemed to have more trouble with conversion attempts han they did with the Valiants, with three kicks blocked in the first half alone.

After surrendering the early lead, the Braves retook it when they drove 49 yards in six plays with the help of a costly Valiant unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a horse-collar tackle and capped by a 10 yard touchdown pass to receiver Blake Gobel. The two-point conversion attempt was good and Banks had a 14-7 lead.

That's when things got ugly.

After a quick three-and-out, the Braves got the ball back on their own 37-yard line and used a couple screen plays to set up a 15-yard touchdown toss to Blake Markham to make it 21-7 near the end of the first quarter. After the two teams traded three-and-outs, Valley took over at their own 42. Pruitt started the drive with a nine-yard run, then an incomplete pass set up a third and short where Pruitt tried a quick pass across the middle and had it intercepted by Banks' Gunnar Partain. The speedy Partain took the opponent's gift and sped seamlessly through the Valiant players and in for a Braves score and subsequently a 27-7 lead.

The damage appeared done — but not entirely.

Valley fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up a Bret Cameron three-yard touchdown run to make it 33-7. Then Vandehey made it 39-7 with 5:51 before the half when he took the ball on a quarterback keeper and scampered 36 yards to pay dirt.

Banks tacked on eight more points in the second half and cruised uneventfully to the win.

The Braves hit the meat of their schedule starting this Friday when they host Scappoose in their homecoming game. After that Banks faces the defending Cowapa League champion Astoria Fishermen Thursday, Oct. 12, at Banks High.

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