HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Hurricane High School football team needed a win to earn a berth in next week's Class AAA playoffs.
And while it wasn't pretty, that's exactly what the Redskins did in a gutsy, come-from-behind 20-17 win at chilly Spring Valley Friday night.
Hurricane (6-4), expected to secure a place in the 16-team playoff field, will hit the road for its first contest, as will Spring Valley (6-4).
After having just fallen behind 17-14 late in the fourth quarter, senior quarterback Austin Hensley connected with sophomore Caperton Humphreys for a 62-yard scoring strike to give the Redskins a 20-17 lead with three minutes to play.
Hensley, who entered as the state's leading passer, had just 6 passing yards before the completion to Humphreys, and finished 6 of 8 for 70 yards.
"I don't really care about stats," Hensley said. "I just want to be a team leader and lead these guys in to the playoffs and that's what we did tonight. We knew if we could get our tight end on their safety, we'd have the middle of the field and we did and Humphreys executed it perfectly."
After not recording a first down in the third quarter, Humphreys' score was the second of the fourth quarter, following a 1-yard TD run by Hensley that gave the Redskins a 14-10 lead with 8:46 to play.
Spring Valley answered Hensley's score with a five-minute, 62-yard scoring drive, capped by a 9-yard pass from Tyler Brown to Trevor Maynard with 3:46 to play.
The Redskins' defense stiffened down the stretch in holding the Timberwolves to a four-and-out on its final desperation drive.
"Hats off to our defense," Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor said. "Defense won this game for us. Our staff did a heck of a job and we shuffled a couple of people around on defense, and they made difference."
Junior linebacker Bradley Hodges moved to the defensive line position, Humphreys moved from fullback to linebacker and John Francis was also solid at linebacker.
"John Francis was the man tonight," Taylor said. "We went to more of a 52 look and John Francis and Humphreys were great tonight. The whole defense was great tonight. They won this game for us."