Smoky Valley opened up the season in Halstead, KS tonight, looking to best a team that handled them easily last year.
In 2020, Halstead prevailed with a 45-0 win over the Vikings. The game opened up with a ton of defensive play. After multiple defensive stops, three fumbles (1 from Smoky and 2 from Halstead), the first quarter ended 0-0. Finally, with 7:23 left in the first half, Smoky marched downfield on a 74-yard offensive drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back, Kade Blanchat. The Vikes followed with a successful 2-point conversion run by Justice Autry.
After handing the ball back and forth a few times, Smoky finally added another 6 on a 49-yard touchdown run by Trystan Stambaugh with 9:28 left in the third quarter. The point-after attempt failed, leaving us at a 14-0 score in favor of the Vikings. Smoky Valley followed up with a strong defensive stop that ended in a fantastic punt by senior Halstead quarterback and punter, Jackson Swift. Swift pinned the Vikings on their own 1-yard line. This proved to be a huge play for the Dragons, as the Vikings fumbled the next snap, only to be recovered by Halstead in the endzone for their first score.
After a Conner Boyd grab on the point after, the Vikings still led 14-8. The Dragons marched downfield to end the third quarter, looking to find the end zone. Just 7 seconds into the final quarter, Jackson Swift punched it in for a 1-yard touchdown run. Swift kept rolling with a successful 2-point conversion pass to Adler Davison, putting the Dragons on top 16-14.
The Vikings and the Dragons then traded a pair of fumbles to set up the deciding offensive drive. The Vikings marched down the field on a 4-play, 66-yard drive to go up 20-16 with only 1:27 left in the game. Halstead looked to rally and come back, but a Max Bieker interception stopped them in their tracks. Carson Pihl, in his first varsity start at quarterback, kneeled out the final two plays to seal the Smoky Valley victory. The Vikings follow up with Haven next week, looking to roll out to a 2-0 start to the season.
The Vikings run attack was extremely efficient tonight. They rolled out 3, 100+ yard rushers tonight with Kade Blanchat having 115 yards on 16 carries, Trystan Stambaugh with 113 yards on 19 carries, and Justic Autry with 101 on 15. Haven Lysell-Stewart led the receiving core with 2 catches for 24 yards. Defensively, Kade Blanchat led the Vikings with 4.5 tackles, Lysell-Stewart added 4 tackles, and Justin Holt had 4 himself. Max Bieker sealed the game with an interception.