When the Pleasant Valley marching band wrapped up their halftime performance Friday night, a firework show ensued.
It was foreshadowing and recapping what the Pleasant Valley football team did to Davenport North in a pivotal week 8 matchup.
Max Slavens completed nine of 12 passes for 212 yards with three touchdowns to propel the Spartans back to .500 with a 44-6 blowout of the Wildcats at Spartan Stadium.
At 3-1 in District 4, PV is in the driver's seat for an at-large playoff spot in Class 4A and can clinch a berth with a win over Linn-Mar next week.
Not bad for a team that started out 1-4 and averaged 17 points per game.
“We want to play the best teams, and that definitely prepares us for later on in the season,” senior defensive back Drew Guinn said.
Slavens continued his torrid pace since the loss to a ranked Iowa City West squad.
With North (5-3, 2-2) stacking the box, it forced the Western Illinois baseball commit to throw the pigskin.
Slavens and the Spartan offense happily obliged.
He didn’t complete his first pass, but he then completed his next seven and showed precise touch in the direction of his wideouts on the way to 15 first downs.
The senior right-hander threw three straight touchdowns on three straight passes, a 25-yarder to Ben Royer and back-to-back TDs to Peyton Lindmark for 35 and 41 yards, respectively as PV jumped out to a 28-0 advantage early in the third.
Inactive last week against Iowa City High with a concussion, Lindmark caught four passes for 94 yards.
“Our o-line gave our quarterback time, and he found me,” Lindmark said.
The senior wide receiver got high praise from Rusty VanWetzinga.
“Peyton’s got tremendous hands, he knows exactly what he’s doing, he runs precise route,” PV’s head coach said. “He’s mobile in the open field, and he’s got some giddy-up.”
Caden Kipper scored on a 5-yarder to send the game into a running clock late in the third quarter. Kipper, a sophomore, finished with 69 yards on 12 carries. Slavens scored the first touchdown of the game on a 2-yard keeper as PV finished with 163 yards on the ground.
Winner of three in a row, the Spartans have eclipsed 35 points in each game during the streak. If not for a last second touchdown by North running back Isaac Stolmeier, they would’ve had their first shutout of the year.
Against two of the Davenport public schools this year, PV allowed a total of 13 points.
“We wanted to prove that we truly are a good defense,” lineman Carlos Rivera said. “That we’re strong, we’re consistent and that we can bring the heat when we want to.”
Outside of a couple big catches from Priest Sheedy and a 35-yard scamper by Stolmeier, the Spartans held the Wildcat offense in check, under 175 total yards.
They sacked West in the end zone for a safety after fumbling the ball away inside the 5-yard line, and Guinn came away with his second pick of the season.
“I think overall, we’ve just been getting better every week,” Guinn said.
They have one final test before they can think about the postseason, but since the setback to the Trojans, VanWetzinga said his team has been in playoff mode.
One more win and they’ll be back in a spot that’s all too familiar for them.
“We’re playing well, and that’s what you want this time of year,” VanWetzinga said. “We got to come ready to work.”
In salute to our 104th Season, the concert commences with Haydn’s exuberant and surprising “London Symphony,” No. 104. We then travel to the Coast of Suffolk for Britten’s surgingand unrelenting Four Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes, before pianist Wei Luo shows off her pianistic b…