VALDOSTA — The heavyweight showdown turned into a region-opening blowout.

Brookwood used a fierce defense to rout reigning GISA Region 3-AA champion Valwood 35-7 at Goddard Field on Friday night.

“Right now, people want to look at our offense, but I really think we’re very capable on both sides,” Brookwood coach Shane Boggs said.

After a quick punt on its initial possession, Brookwood (8-0, 1-0) threw an interception on its second possession to give the Valiants (6-2, 0-1) the ball in Warrior territory. However, Brookwood’s defense stood firm, throwing Valwood quarterback Zac Henry for a loss on fourth-and-inches.

“That was clutch,” Boggs said. “That was another quick-change situation and we just ran and hit and got them off the field and gave our offense a chance.”

The Valiants mustered just 20 yards rushing on 38 carries, eight on 23 attempts in the first half. For the game, Brookwood allowed just 84 yards of total offense, 23 coming in the second half.

After the early defensive stand, the Warriors’ offense got untracked. After big runs from quarterback Scott Cheney and running back Drew Balfour moved the ball into Valwood territory, Cheney connected with Rodger Walker for a 30-yard gain. Three plays later, Balfour took a direct snap and scored from one yard out.

Balfour was the first of five Warriors to score, as Brookwood spread the ball around against a Valwood defense keying on Walker outside.

“That’s one of the things that makes us very difficult to defend,” Boggs said. “For instance, they paid a little too much attention on Rodger and we hit Drew.”

Walker still grabbed a team-high five passes for 79 yards, but Cheney also hit Chase Harvard for a 10-yard score and Sean Bell from nine yards out in the first half.

Valwood pulled within 14-7 with less than four mintues in the half when all-state running back Robert Hires crashed in from one yard out. Hires led the Valiants with 16 yards on six carries.

Cheney, Brookwood’s senior quarterback, finished 20-of-31 for 264 yards, connecting with eight receivers. He tacked on 43 yards on 13 carries.

After Cheney scored on a one-yard run midway through the fourth quarter, Blair Austin intercepted a Henry pass near midfield and returned it to the Valwood 11. One play later, Ethan Howell rumbled in for the final score.

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