NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley Panthers lost to perennial Class A football power Moorefield two weekends ago, but the school still had another successful season.
The Yellow Jackets stung the Panthers 35-16 last Saturday afternoon, but TVHS Head Coach Tony Clusky said their opponent had a great team.
“We just got beat by a better team, but I’m very proud of my players,” the longtime area gridiron coach said.
Tug Valley finished with a fine 8-4 mark. They revenged a regular season loss to Man by beating the Hillbillies on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
“This bunch of seniors has made the playoffs three years,” Clusky added. “They have accomplished a lot in four years. I hope my seniors can take something from the game of football and carry it through life with them.”
Last season, Tug Valley won its first playoff game in school history and made it all the way to the semifinals. This year they returned to the post season and upset regional rival Man on the road, before losing to Moorefield after making the long trip to the eastern panhandle of the Mountain State.
Clusky, who is also the Athletic Director at Tug Valley, has helped turn the program around at the Naugatuck area school. Clusky had previously been an assistant coach at Matewan and head coach at Williamson, before having two stints as head coach at Tug Valley.
At one point in the past Tug Valley had lost 30 straight games and went through several losing seasons.
“Football at Tug Valley is in good shape,” Clusky said. “Our player’s attitude toward the game has really changed. We still have several players coming back next year, but they need to get stronger. Some of our young players have been going against some good players in practice and hopefully that will pay off for them next year.”
Tug Valley loses several seniors that have helped build the program back to respectability. They are Phillip Lucas, Tyler Conley, Calvin Blankenship, Corbin Oliver, Chandler Runyon, Tyler Workman, Ike Starr, Dusty Mills, John Hall, Dylan Dotson, Zach Davis, Pleas Brewer and Dakota Hall.
Clusky was assisted once again by Tyler Hodge, David Ledger, Justin Crawford, Dale Oliver and Joey Childers.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)