MANLIUS - Bureau Valley senior defensive back Ryan Hix was relegated to standing on the sideline and drinking hot chocolate Friday.
Hix separated his left shoulder last week and is out until at least the playoffs.
Storm senior Alex Franklin got the start on defense in Hix's place.
Franklin's first quarter as a defensive starter included him intercepting two passes by Sterling Newman junior quarterback Jack Hanlon.
The Storm scored touchdowns quickly after each Franklin interception.
Newman never recovered, and Bureau Valley beat Newman 34-6 in Big Rivers Conference action Friday.
"Alex stepped up huge (Friday) night," said Bureau Valley head coach Jeff Ohlson. "We needed him with Ryan being out. Alex made the plays when he needed to make plays. He's a playmaker. We knew those routes were coming. We worked on them this week with Alex, and Alex just stepped up there and picked the ball off and away he went."
Franklin said he went against the way his coaches taught him to play cornerback in order to make those interceptions.
"I read the quarterback a little bit - we're not supposed to do that, but I did -
and came up with an interception," Franklin said. "We're supposed to keep our eyes on the receiver, but I kinda took a little glance at (the quarterback)."
Franklin intercepted the second pass and the third pass of the game by Newman.
His first interception came with 7 minutes, 6 seconds left in the first quarter. He returned that pick 38 yards to the 12-yard line.
Seven points later, he made interception No. 2 with 19.3 seconds left in the first quarter. The second interception included a 14-yard return to the 15-yard line.
"They were huge," said Bureau Valley senior quarterback John King of Franklin's two interceptions. "He put us within scoring range every time. We could have probably kicked a field goal if we wanted to."
The third play after Franklin's first interception was a 6-yard touchdown run by senior Michael Weidner. The Weidner touchdown put Bureau Valley ahead 7-0 after a Logan Barnas extra point with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
Bureau Valley senior Austin Peterson scored the second touchdown.
Peterson ran 15 yards for a touchdown on the first play after Franklin's second interception. Another Barnas extra point made it 14-0 with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.
"We wanted to come out early in the game and shut them up and hit them so they don't recover," Peterson said. "That's what we did."
Bureau Valley's entire defense suffocated Newman's offense the first half.
Newman had zero yards of total offense the first quarter, and Newman managed only 20 yards of total offense the second quarter. Newman had one first down the entire first half.
"We came ready to play (Friday) night," Franklin said. "We came off a loss last week, and we really knew we had to step up (Friday) night."
More than just Bureau Valley's defense excelled Friday.
King orchestrated two long touchdown drives in the second quarter that provided Bureau Valley a 28-point halftime lead.
King started the second quarter with a six-play, 69-yard drive. The drive finished with King running 41 yards for a touchdown. King's run and a Barnas kick put the Storm ahead 21-0 with 6:47 left in the half.
King concluded the second quarter with a five-play, 82-yard drive that needed just 1:49.
King ended the second quarter by throwing a
24-yard pass to junior Caleb Baker in the end zone as time expired. Barnas made the extra point, and it was 28-0 Bureau Valley at halftime.
King's first half consisted of going 7-for-12 with 139 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 43 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
"For the most part, John took care of the ball and got the ball to where we needed to get the ball to," Ohlson said. "I thought John played real well."
King finished the game with a game-high 72 rushing yards on five carries. He went 9-for-15 passing with 157 passing yards.
Bureau Valley in the third quarter added a touchdown on a 1-yard Weidner surge. Newman blocked the extra point, and Bureau Valley led 34-0 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
Newman left its starters in the whole game, but they could not score until they faced Bureau Valley's reserves. Newman scored its only points on a 6-yard touchdown run by Hanlon with 9.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Newman's two-point conversion failed, and the game's final score was set at 34-6.
King said Friday's game provided Bureau Valley's best performance this season.
"As a team, this was our first game we played completely as a team for four quarters," King said. "We really came out and played."
Newman falls to 5-3 overall and in the Big Rivers Conference.
Friday's win gives Bureau Valley six wins this season, which clinches a playoff spot. The Storm are 6-2 overall and in the Big Rivers.
This is the second consecutive year and the eighth time in the last nine years that Bureau Valley reached playoffs.
"You just never know at 5-4," King said. "(Clinching a playoff spot) makes it easier for us, but still, 7-2 sounds a lot better than 6-3 going into the playoffs."
Bureau Valley has the chance to improve its record to 7-2 next week. Bureau Valley closes the regular season at Ottawa Marquette next week.
"We aren't where we want to be with our two losses, but we still got our ultimate goal in front of us," Peterson said.
Notes: Friday was Senior Night at Bureau Valley. â€¦ Bureau Valley senior Brandon Clark injured his left ankle early in the fourth quarter and did not return. â€¦ Hix started at safety before his injury. BV junior Tanner Schoff moved from cornerback to safety, which opened up the cornerback spot for Franklin. Friday was Franklin's first start of the season on defense.
Erik Hall can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 195, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.