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Turnovers plague Vikings in playoff loss to Malvern

MALVERN — The nearly five-hour bus ride was bad enough, but the fumbles made things even worse.

The Symmes Valley Vikings lost three fumbles and the Malvern Hornets took advantage of the turnovers as they won 43-0 Saturday night in the Division VI Region 23 quarterfinals.

“Malvern was a good team and we dug ourselves an early hole. We tried to fight back. Our kids never quit, but we did not play our best,” said Vikings’ coach Rusty Webb.

“They’re a good veteran club. They had nine seniors on offense and eight on defense. They played in the semifinals last year and it showed. They were comfortable and we showed our nerves.”

Malvern — a state semifinalist last year — scored on the opening drive of the game when Maurice Johnson ran 3 yards for a touchdown to make it 6-0.

The Vikings had three penalties on their first possession and the Hornets capitalized by scoring on a 4-yard pass from Doug Wood to Nick Palleschi and it was 12-0.

Both touchdowns came on fourth down plays.

Malvern (10-1) recovered a Vikings’ fumble at midfield and scored on a 32-yard pass from Wood to Travis Tucci. Wood ran for the conversion and it was 20-0.

‘Everything that could go wrong did, but then we settled in and put together one of our typical drives,” Webb said of an 18-play, 78-yard drive to the Malvern 5.

But a penalty derailed the drive and it stalled as the Vikings were 3 yards shy of the first down marker at the 2-yard line.

“We made a mistakes and they did a good job. Our kids kept playing hard, Malvern just kept making plays,” said Webb.

The Hornets then went 95 yards in nine plays capped by a 2-yard pass from Wood to Tucci.

Symmes Valley (8-3) fumbled at their 45-yard line after receiving the second half kickoff.

Wood hit Tucci with a 13-yard pass on fourth down and the lead was 36-0.

The Vikings went down to the Malvern 3-yard line thanks to a 56-yard run by Justin Payne, but another fumble ended the threat.

Payne finished with 79 yards on five carries. Kyle Bowen had 54 yards on 13 tries.

Webb said the team was disappointed, but appreciated the fan support.

“I’d like to thank the fans and the community. We had a nice turnout for such a long trip. We had a lot of support all year,” said Webb.

Sym. Valley 0 0 0 0 = 0

Malvern 12 16 8 7 = 43

First Quarter

Ma — Maurice Johnson 3 run (run failed) 8:33 opening drive

Ma — Nick Palleschi 4 pass from Doug Wood (run failed) 2:47 SV had 3 penalties on its first possession

Second Quarter

Ma — Travis Tucci 32 pass from Doug Wood (Doug Wood run) 10:17

Ma — Travis Tucci 2 pass from Doug Wood (Maurice Johnson run) 0:15

Third Quarter

Ma — Travis Tucci 13 pass from Doug Wood (Nick Palleschi pass from Doug Wood) 6:16

Fourth Quarter

Ma — Doug Wood 4 run (Eric Hain kick) 11:13

——

SV Ma

First downs 16 21

Rushes-yards 42-187 46-300

Passing yards 31 144

Total yards 218 444

Cmp-Att-Int 3-4-0 12-13-0

Fumbles-lost 5-3 2-0

Penalties-yards 5-35 1-14

Punts-average 2-24.0 0-00.0

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING—Symmes Valley: Justin Payne 5-79, Kyle Bowen 13-54, Cody Myers 7-10, Evan Herrell 4-15, Jacob Patterson 4-12, Tyler Easthom 6-19, Jordan Fulford 2-5, AlecHerrell 1-6. Malvern: Maurice Johnson 15-100, Doug Wood 17-147.

PASSING—Symmes Valley: Cody Myers 2-3-0 28, Scott Dial 1-1-0 3. Malvern: Doug Wood 12-13-0 144.

RECEIVING—Symmes Valley: Evan Herrell 2-28, Jordan Fulford 1-3. Malvern: Tucci 7-95, Palleschi 5-49.