GARDENDALE — Shades Valley didn’t get the memo. Visiting teams are supposed to be pushovers at homecoming games.
But the eighth-ranked Mounties proved to be unyielding guests, as they defeated Gardendale 61-28 Friday night.
The trouble started early for the hosts, who took the opening kickoff down to the Mounties’ 5-yard line, then went backward with a false-start penalty and a quarterback sack. A 32-yard field goal attempt went wide, and the drive came up empty.
Shades Valley wasted no time in taking advantage, marching 80 yards downfield in two-and-a-half minutes with quarterback Rashad Louie finishing it off on a 5-yard touchdown run.
It was a sign of things to come from the junior passer. Louie would throw no less than six touchdown passes on the night, finishing with 20 completions on 27 attempts for 369 yards. It was perhaps Louie’s best game as a Mountie, according to coach Bill Smith.
“It was a very, very good performance for Rashad,” Smith said. “This was his best game ever. He’s accurate, he throws a really good deep ball and he knows how to stay alive in the pocket. He has a good timing mechanism — check one, check two, check three, run the ball.”
It was his checkdown ability that served him well. Few of his scoring throws were to the primary receiver, and he had the athletic ability to break open for long runs when forced. Tops among them was a 48-yard scramble on the second play of the second half that moved the ball down to the Rocket 19-yard line; he found A.J. Conwell for a 13-yard touchdown two plays after that.
Louie also didn’t waste any time applying the dagger after Gardendale made big mistakes. Twice he threw long touchdown passes on the first play after Rocket turnovers — a 35-yard strike to Jourdan Walker after a fumble in the second quarter, and a 37-yard toss to Bryan Generette after Hunter Crook coughed up an interception.