Symmes Valley beats Buffalo, barely
WILLOW WOOD, Ohio -- Symmes Valley has a new entry for its Fantastic Finishes category.
D.J. Miller's 2-yard TD run with 40.3 seconds left lifted the Vikings to a wild 21-20 Senior Night victory over Buffalo on Friday night at Viking Stadium.
The Buffalo Bison (7-2) had two chances to increase its lead to a touchdown margin in the closing minutes, but failed each time. The first was a fake field goal from 38 yards out that saw kicker/quarterback Levi Jordan complete just a 4-yard pass to Garison Erwin with 2:44 left.
But on the next snap, Symmes Valley fumbled the ball back to the Bison at the 20. However, Buffalo could muster just a yard in three snaps and Jordan lined up for 37-yard field goal try to increase the lead to four. Instead, he popped the kick up, Symmes Valley defender Quinton Bare fielded the ball after one bounce at his 20 and sprinted all the way to the Buffalo 24 as the Bison players froze briefly on the play before chasing Bare down.
With less than a minute to play, Rowe called a play-action pass and found Austin Owens open for a 20-yard gain down to the Buffalo 5. After an offside call on Buffalo, Miller went over from 2 yards out with 40.3 seconds to play to tie the game and Tyler Ferguson added the point after the home team's first lead of the night.
On its final possession, Jordan had a deep pass picked off by Miller, who returned it to the Bison 13. Symmes Valley took a knee on the final snap.
"The ball bounced right to me. Everyone was yelling take off," Bare said. "It's incredible to be the game-changer. I'm on cloud nine right now."
"We teach our kids to never quit and tonight was a perfect example," Vikings coach Rusty Webb said.
Symmes Valley (8-2) possibly secured a Division VI home playoff game when Ohio pairings are announced Sunday.
Buffalo (No. 7 in Class A in West Virginia) closes out the regular season Friday at Wahama.
Symmes Valley saw how explosive Buffalo could be when Jordan found Laythen Good for a 69-yard TD pass on the first play of the game. After a Symmes Valley fumble, Jordan went over from a yard out for a 13-0 lead.
Symmes Valley responded when Alec Herrell sprinted 56 yards for a score.
Buffalo showed its big-play magic midway through the second period to regain a two-score advantage. Jordan ran for 45 yards for a first down on a 3rd-and-34 and then hooked with Good on a 33-yard TD on a screen pass. Not to be outdone, though, Herrell dashed 61 yards for a score on the next home team snap to cut the deficit to 20-14 at the half.
Symmes Valley lost three fumbles.
"If we don't turn the ball over we're a very hard team to handle," Webb said. "Buffalo took advantage of our mistakes. That's what good teams do. We made some adjustments at the half and the kids did a good job with those adjustments."
Herrell led the Symmes Valley ground game with 211 yards on 22 carries.
"It starts up front with the line," said Herrell, one of seven seniors recognized prior to the game. "The holes were wide open, we just had to run through them."
Herrell said the game boiled down to making plays at the end.
"We stepped it up on defense," he said. "We had to respect their dual threat. The fake field goal, we had a feeling something was up. On the second one (miss), I knew he (Bare) would take right off. He's got a good mind. It feels great to win this one. It's one we had to have."
Miller, too, said the finals seconds proved draining.
"My heart was racing," he said of Jordan's popup. "I didn't know what was going on. I saw him (Bare) running. I was trying to get a block. It's an awesome end. Mistakes have killed us, but we didn't give up. We fought to the end."
Webb had special praise for the seniors, who became the winningest class in school history.
"That's awesome for them," he said. "They've done so much and helped the guys coming up."
BUFFALO 13 7 0 0 -- 20
SYMMES VALLEY 7 7 0 7 -- 21
B -- Good 69 pass from Jordan (kick failed), 11:41.
B -- Jordan 1 run (Jordan kick), 6:21.
SV -- Herrell 56 run (Ferguson kick), 4:27.
B -- Good 33 pass from Jordan (Jordan kick), 7:41.
SV -- Herrell 61 run (Ferguson kick), 7:27.
SV -- Miller 2 run (Ferguson kick), 0:40.3.
First downs 10 17
Total Net Yards 328 376
Rushes-yards 33-153 56-303
Passing 175 73
Comp-Att-Int 9-17-1 3-5-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 4-3
Penalties-Yards 5-36 4-32
RUSHING -- Buffalo: Good 14-82, Legg 10-43, Jordan 7-33, Tucker 1-5, Erwin 1-10. Symmes Valley: Rowe 17-38, Herrell 22-211, Miller 13-37, Owens 4-17.
PASSING -- Buffalo: Jordan 9-17-1, 175. Symmes Valley: Rowe 3-5-0, 73.
RECEIVING -- Buffalo: Tucker 1-13, Erwin 4-58, Good 4-104. Symmes Valley: Baldwin 1-38, Holbrook 1-15, Owens 1-20.