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The Mount Ayr Raiders took advantage of six Nodaway Valley turnovers in the 2023 season opener for both football teams, to win in week 1, 39-12.
The win was the second in a row over Nodaway Valley and 15th in the last 17 meetings between the two schools.
Mount Ayr scored four of their six touchdowns in the game off of those turnovers including all three first-half touchdowns.
The Raiders led 13-0 after the first quarter and 19-0 at halftime. Mount Ayr put up 20 points in the third quarter to take command of the football game. The victory also captured the Battle For The Rock Trophy for the second straight season.
“You have to start fast and keep your foot on the gas. You want to get out early. We knew that they had an improved line play, but getting the turnover early and scoring a few plays later, was really big for us getting momentum,” said Mount Ayr head coach Ryan Victor.
A lot of the Raiders touchdowns came by having a short field to work with.
“We felt good about scoring when we have a short field. When you get a short field you have a better chance to score. The more plays in a drive, the more that can happen and it usually isn’t good,” said Victor.
Nodway Valley came into the game with a new coach, all of eight days old after newly hired coach Ryan Kissell was let go due to a recent arrest in Adair County for incidents occurring in Union County.
“We take care of ourselves first. When it comes to week one, with a team with a new coach, you just go with stuff off of what you did in the past. We were able to see what they did in a couple of scrimmages, but what they did Friday was different due to their coaching change,” said Victor.
Victor said that winning the Battle for the Rock was special this year.
“The Rock represents two great coaches who coached at both schools and what they did for their programs. Two years ago was my first year here and we lost up there (in Greenfield). Last year, we won it back. This year we got to exact some revenge up there again. It was good to take it back home after winning last year,” said Victor.
The week was full of adjustments due to the heat around the state last week. The Raiders moved their practices up to the early morning hours, starting at either 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. most days. Those preparations also included plenty of water and hydration. Heat indexes last week mid-week were as high as 120 degrees in Greenfield as the whole state was under an excessive heat warning for multiple days.
Mount Ayr rushed for 222 yards on 30 carries in the game and passed for 73 more yards. The Raiders had 12 first downs in the game. Nodaway Valley had only six first downs and 101 total yards.
Junior Tyler Martin had a game.
Martin had seven carries in the game and scored touchdowns on four of them. He had scoring runs of 14 and three scores from two yards out while totaling 42 yards.
Senior quarterback Jackson Ruggles passed for 73 yards and rushed for a team-high 94 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. Martin and Jaize Frost each caught two passes to lead Raider receivers.
Defensively, the Raiders were led by Dalton Barnes and Martin with eight and seven tackles. Martin recovered three fumbles while Tate Dugan and Frost each had one. Ruggles and Frost each had interceptions in the game.
Mount Ayr scored on their first possession of the game on a Jackson Ruggles 26-yard run on a speed option play. Big blocks by Rowan Sackett, Louden Main, and Dyson Thompson downfield helped free Ruggles for the score.
The touchdown came after a fumble by the Wolverines on the third play of the game. The same script happened on the second Nodaway Valley drive as another fumble set up the second Mount Ayr score, a 14-yard run by Tyler Martin. That run gave Mount Ayr a 13-0 lead, one they would hold after the first quarter.
Mount Ayr and NV had four and three drives in the second quarter, but only one of those was six plays or more.
The only points came with 9:43 left before halftime on a Martin 2-yard run to extend the Raiders lead to 19-0 by halftime.
Mount Ayr scored on their first three second-half possessions. Three short scoring runs including a 15-yard Tate Dugan run, and a pair of Tyler Martin 2-yard runs put the score at 39-0 Mount Ayr with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
Nodaway Valley scored their points in the final 2:25 of the game. Titus Hamer scored on a 2-yard run and after a Raider fumble inside the 5-yard line, Eli Harris added a 3-yard scoring run with nine seconds left in the game.
The Raiders will hit the road again this week, traveling to Corydon to face the Wayne Falcons. Wayne beat Colfax-Mingo 42-8 to win their first game in over four seasons.
The Raiders, however, have beaten the Falcons in four straight games coming into Friday going back to 2008. The two schools have not played since the 2011 season.
Falcon quarterback senior Boudyn White passed for 116 yards and two touchdowns and was 10-for-14 in the game. He also nearly rushed for 100 yards, gaining 98 yards on 15 carries and scoring twice.
The Falcons rushed for 267 yards with sophomore Fischer Buckingham leading the way with 161 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns. Karter Murphy was the top Wayne receiver with five catches for 58 yards. Defensively, Wayne was led by Buckingham and White who had six and five tackles.
Victor said that his team had some work to do.
“Having the first game done now allows us to see what we need to work on more. We have to clean up. We have some things that we can be better at. That’s the exciting part of this. We will go back this week and get back to work and keep getting better,” he said.
Mount Ayr 39, Nodaway Valley 12
Mt. Ayr 13 6 20 0 39
N. Valley 0 0 12 12
1st Qtr – MA (9:39) – Jackson Ruggles 27-yard run (Tyler Martin kick)
1st Qtr – MA (3:36) – Tyler Martin 14-yard run (Tyler Martin kick no good)
2nd Qtr – MA (9:43) – Tyler Martin 2-yard run (Conversion no good)
3rd Qtr – MA (10:44) – Tate Dugan 15-yard run (Tyler Martin kick)
3rd Qtr – MA (8:54) – Tyler Martin 2-yard run (Tyler Martin kick)
3rd Qtr – MA (3:41) – Tyler Martin 2-yard run (Tyler Martin kick no good)
4th Qtr – NV (2:25) – Titus Hamer 2-yard run (Conversion no good)
4th Qtr -NV (0:09) – Eli Harris 3-yard run (Conversion no good)
Rushing: MA – Tate Dugan 10-52, Jackson Ruggles 8-94, Tyler Martin 7-42, Dyson Thompson 3-34, Evan Weehler 2-0. NV – Ashton Honnold 13-39, Eli Harris 8-(-8), Titus Hamer 3-23, Bradley Gebbie 2-19, Dax Kintigh 2-10, Keyin Steeve 1-(-4), Kasen Hansen 1-(-4).
Passing: MA Jackson Ruggles 5-for-9 73 yards, 0 TD’s, 0 INT’s. NV – Eli Harris 1-for-5 12 yards, 0 TD’s, 2 INT’s.
Receiving: MA – Tyler Martin 2-38, Jaize Frost 2-21, Tate Dugagn 1-14. NV – Ashton Honnold 1-12.
Tackles (S-A-T): Mount Ayr – Dalton Barnes 4-3 7, Tyler Martin 1-5 6, Matt Larson 2-2 4, Colton Dredge 3-1 4, Adan Trujillo 2-1 3, Ethan Jones 1-2 3, Tucker Larson 0-3 3, Tate Dugan 0-3 3, Trevin Victor 3-0 3, Bracken Collier 0-2 2, Aiden Murphy 0-2 2, Tucker Knox 0-2 2, Dylan Graham 2-0 2, Jaize Frost 1-1 2, Garrett Walter 1-0 1, Rowan Sackett 1-0 1. Nodaway Valley – Carmine Shaw 4-2 6, Ashton Honnold 3-2.5 5.5, Trent Warner 4-1 5, Dax Kintigh 1-3 4, Zack Gebbie 3-0.5 3.5, Keyin Steeve 2-1 3, Caleb Christensen 2-0.5 2.5, Remington Woosley 0-2.5 2.5, Tucker Bruns 2-0 2, Eli Harris 1-1 2, Lawson Jackson 1-0 1, Garrett Welsch 1-0 1, Bradley Gebbie 1-0 1, Bryan Gonzalez 0-0.5 0.5.
Tackles For Loss: MA – Matt Larson 2, Dalton Barnes 1, Bracken Collier 1, Louden Main 1, Tyler Martin 1. NV – Trent Warner 1.5, Carmine Shaw 1, Ashton Honnold 0.5.
Sacks: MA – none. NV – none.
Fumble Recoveries: MA – Tyler Martin 3, Tate Dugan 1, Jaize Frost 1. NV – Trent Warner 2, Carmine Shaw 1, Ashton Honnold 1.
Interceptions: MA – Jackson Ruggles 1, Jaize Frost 1.
Kick-Offs: MA – Tyler Martin 6-206 yards, 34.3-yard ave.
Kick-Off Returns: MA – Tyler Martin 1-22, Jackson Ruggles 1-16, Dyson Thompson 1-(-3).
Punts: MA – None.
Punt Returns: MA – Dyson Thompson 2-21.
PAT’s: MA – Tyler Martin 3-of-5.