CAVE JUNCTION — Illinois Valley got tested Friday night, but the Cougars responded to post their first 10-win, undefeated season and first Skyline Conference football championship.
North Valley jumped out to a two-touchdown lead before Illinois Valley rallied for a 30-24 victory.
The fourth-ranked Cougars (10-0, 5-0 Skyline) will host Marist in a state playoff contest in two weeks.
"We played a little ragtag for a while," said Illinois Valley coach Bob Thornhill. "It was a good thing to get down and have to battle back. It was good to have a game like this going into the playoffs."
North Valley (5-4, 2-3 Skyline) scored first on a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Sleight to Brandon Reyes-Johnson. Then on the ensuing kickoff, Garrett Schwietert caught a fumble in the air and rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown to give the Knights a 12-0 first-quarter lead.
The Cougars got a 30-yard TD run from Larry Ragsdale, and Jacob Ellis bulled over from the 1 just before halftime to give IV a 16-12 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, Illinois Valley put together a 13-play, 84-yard scoring drive that ate up 9:34. Ellis scored from 4 yards out, and a successful two-point conversion gave the Cougars a 24-13 margin.
The Cougars thought they secured the win when Chad Tardie caught an 11-yard TD pass from Doug Hoskins with 57 seconds left in the game. But Keith Suits returned the following kickoff for an 87-yard TD to cut the margin to 30-24.
North Valley 12 0 0 12 —24
Illinois Valley 0 16 8 6 —30
NV — Reyes-Johnson 35 pass from Sleight (kick failed)
NV — Schwietert 18 fumble return (run failed)
IV — Ragsdale 30 run (Ragsdale run)
IV — Ellis 1 run (McConico run)
IV — Ellis 4 run (Paul pass from Hoskins)
NV — Suits 25 pass from Sleight (kick failed)
IV — Tardie 11 pass from Hoskins (run failed)
NV — Suits 87 kickoff return (run failed)
HIDDEN VALLEY 48, PHOENIX 6 — At Murphy, Dustin Fox scored four touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 133 yards on just six carries as Hidden Valley clinched the Skyline Conference's No. 3 state playoff spot.
The Mustangs (5-5, 3-2 Skyline) will open the postseason at the No. 2 team from the Cowapa League next Friday or Saturday.
Phoenix (2-7, 1-5 Skyline) had 187 yards in offense, with 124 coming on the ground.
Phoenix 0 0 0 6 —6
Hidden Valley 20 15 13 0 —48
HV — Fox 35 run (kick blocked)
HV — Fox 1 run (Gotfried run)
HV — Warren 35 run (kick blocked)
HV — Woodrum 83 run (Warren run)
HV — Warren 39 run (Nielsen kick)
HV — Fox 21 run (kick failed)
HV — Fox 56 run (Nielsen kick)
P — Walker 20 pass from Kammel (kick failed)
HENLEY 47, ROGUE RIVER 6 — At Rogue River, although Rogue River was able to gash Henley for 221 yards, the 11th-ranked Hornets were too much on both sides of the ball as they eased past the Chieftains to sew up the No. 2 seed in the Skyline Conference.
The Hornets (7-3, 4-1 Skyline), who will travel to Ontario (7-1) in two weeks for the first round of the playoffs, recovered a blocked a punt in the end zone and Derek Woodland returned an interceptions 40 yards for a touchdown.
Henley 0 19 21 7 —47
Rogue River 0 0 0 6 —6
H — Evans 19 pass from Rosser (Chavarria kick)
H — Blocked punt in end zone (kick failed)
H — Anderson 6 run (pass failed)
H — Woodland 1 run (Chavarria kick)
H — Woodland 40 interception return (Chavarria kick)
H — Taylor 1 run (Chavarria kick)
RR — Reagles 2 run (pass failed)
H — Cox 21 run (Chavarria kick)