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Friday night was the opening night of football for the Raiders as they jumped on a bus and headed out northwest to Greenfield for a battle for “The Rock”.
It would be the first game under new head coach Ryan Victor.
Nodaway Valley was also under new leadership with coach Seth Comly taking the reigns. Comly, however, was the defensive coordinator from the Wolverines playoff team last season.
It turned out to be a tough night for the Raiders, who just couldn’t seem to make any big plays stick.
The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second-half.
It took six minutes for the first score to appear on the board and followed punts by both teams, but Wolverine quarterback Nathan Russell found Boston DeVault for a 10 yard touchdown. The Raiders were able to knock the ensuing two-point conversion pass down to keep the score 6-0.
The Wolverines kept the lead heading into the second, but the Raiders would soon take the lead, two minutes into the second as Jaixen Frost went back to pass but kept it himself, juking and breaking tackles on his way to a 52-yard touchdown run.
Frost would then find Keaton White in the endzone for two, putting Mount Ayr ahead 8-6.
The Wolverines would put on their first drive of the second quarter, while the Raiders would struggle on their drive and on fourth and two they were stuffed at the line for a turnover on down.
Nodaway Valley was facing a third and 11. Russell went back to the air and ultimately came up empty, but a pass interference call on the Raiders moved the chains into Raider territory on the 37-yard line.
With 5:17 to go in the half, Russell and B. DeVault connected again for a 32-yard touchdown catch. The two-point from Russell to Caelen DeVault was good. Nodaway Valley led 14-8.
The Raiders came up short on a fourth and one, after a measurment showed the spot of the ball about a foot from the first down marker.
The Raider defense came up big against the Wolverines on the ensuing drive and forced a punt with less than one minute on the clock.
Mount Ayr’s Tyler Martin busted through the line and blocked the punt, downing it on the Wolverine five.
A big opportunity for the Raiders as they were five yards from the goal line, but were out of timeouts.
Nodaway Valley’s defense stepped up to the challenge and with nine seconds on the clock and a fourth and two, the Raiders handed off to Adler Shay, but was called down short of the goal line and the half ended with the Wolverines on top 14-8.
The third quarter was much of the same, with both teams putting punters on the field and no score.
Seven minutes into the fourth quarter, Frost found Jaydon Knight open on a slant that went 80-yards for a touchdown. Austin Cole scored on the two-point conversion to put the Raiders up 16-14 in what seemed to be a huge momentum shift toward Mount Ayr.
A deep kick to Caelen DeVault on the ensuing kickoff saw DeVault break three tackles and go 78-yards for a score. The extra point was no good.
Nodaway Valley had 5:22 left to hold the Raiders and win the “The Rock” for the first time since its inception, 10 years ago.
That is what they did.
The Raiders ran the clock down as they moved down the field.
On the Nodaway Valley 30-yard line, faced a second and 20, Frost put the ball in the air and Caelen DeVault came down with the interception to put the game away.
A few kneels and the Wolverines defeated the Raiders 20-16 and will get their name on the trophy that has sat in the Mount Ayr trophy case for 10 years.
The Raiders recorded 16 first downs with Nodaway Valley recording five.
The Raiders rushed the ball 62 times for 261 yards and threw the ball 13 times with six completions for 125 yards and two interceptions.
The Raiders recorded 386 yards of total offense, compared to Nodaway Valley’s 111.
Adler Shay was a workhorse for the Raiders, rushing 24 times for 123 yards, while three Raiders caught passes, including Drew Ehlen, Riley Stark and Jaydon Knight.
On defense, the Raiders saw Kade Dugan collect one interception, while Kight led the team in tackles with seven and a half attributed to him.
Coach Victor spoke to the team after the game, giving a passionate speech and crediting the Wolverines as the best Nodaway Valley team he has ever seen.
“You’ve got to give credit to Nodaway Valley,” said coach Victor. “They had a good gameplan, especially just going off scrimmage film and they have some players, holy cow they have some players. Our kids played hard. We knew it would be a battle. You don’t win anything from blowouts. I know our kids will come back better. I could see it in their faces.”
Coach Victor wished they could convert on third and fourth downs, saying those could have been the difference maker.
“We needed to convert on third and fourth downs, I think that really killed us. Turnovers, obviously that’s a huge deal, but we exchanged it on a blocked punt and timely penaties that hurt them, but honestly it’s the third and fourth downs that killed us. We’re inside the redzone on fourth and short and we don’t get it. I feel like when we’re in the redzone we should be 60 percent.”
Moving forward, coach Victor would like to see a more physical Raider team.
“Moving forward I would love to see us more physical. As much as I think we played physical, I’d like to see more hats around the ball,” said coach Victor. “We had a lot of missed tackles. DeVault is a good player. He stiff-armed probably five of our kids to the ground, that’s a credit to him, but also, we need to tackle low and offensively we need to clean up execution-wise and that comes with time. They’ve been in this offense for four weeks. There’s going to be growing pains.”
This Friday, the Raiders come home to host Central Decatur.
“We are a tough football team and I think we are on our way to be a tougher football team. We are going to move on and be ready,” said coach Victor. “I know these guys will come back with fire and energy and make sure we are on the right page.”
1 2 3 4 F
MA 0 8 0 8 16
NV 6 8 0 6 20
4:09 – NV – Russell to DeVault. 2-pt No Good.
10:14 – MA – Frost 52-yd run. 2-pt Frost to White good.
5:17 – NV – Russell to B.DeVault. 2pt Russell to C.DeVault good.
5:22 – MA – Frost to Knight 80-yd pass. 2pt Austin Cole run good.
5:22 – NV – C.DeVault 78-yd kick-off return. 2pt No good.
1st Downs MA NV
Total 16 5
Rushing 13 0
Passing 3 4
Penalty 0 1
Attempts 62 19
Gained 302 15
Lost 41 25
Net 261 -10
Completions 6 12
Attempts 13 28
Percentage 46 43
Intercepted 2 1
Net 125 121
Total Offense 386 111
Punts 2 6
Average 18.5 32.8
Punt Return 28 9
Kickoff 65 110
Int. Returns 0 24
Fumble Ret. 0 0
Fumbles 0 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 7 6
Yards lost 57 54
Comp Att Yds
Frost 6 13 125
Att. Gain Avg
Frost 13 100 7.69
Ehlen 4 -9 -2.25
Dugan 1 3 3
Shay 34 123 3.62
Cole 10 44 4.4
Rec Yds Avg
Ehlen 1 5 5
Stark 1 10 10
Knight 4 109 27.3
Frost 2 0
Ehlen 1 1
Stark 0 1
Dugan 2 1
Shay 1 2
White 1 1
Knight 2 3
Cole 1 0
Swank 1 1
Larson 1 0
Yoder 1 2
Willis 2 1
M.Larson 2 1
Swietlik 2 0
Cole 3 38
Stark 2 19
Shay 4 16
Martin 1 0
Dugan 1 0