Falcons fly high; Wolverines fall to tough team

By: 
STEVE THOMPSON
Nodaway Valley vs. St. Albert
photo by Dan Dickinson
Nodaway Valley kicks off following the safety in the game against St. Albert.

The first play of the game pretty much set the table for the district opener for the Nodaway Valley Wolverines against Class A No. 5 Council Bluffs St. Albert. 

Jake Carley intercepted a Spencer Lamb pass on the first play of the game to set up a short drive by the Falcons, which resulted in a Luke Gronstal touchdown plunge from a yard out. The PAT by Lance Wright made it 7-0.

The Wolverines fumbled the ball away on their next possession, resulting in another St. Albert score, to make it 14-0 with 8:26 left to play in the first quarter.

Tragedy struck again for NV on their next possession, with Lamb getting tackled in the end zone for a safety to make it 16-0.

NV had to kick to St. Albert following the safety, and the Falcons wasted little time in turning the possession into another Gronstal score to make it 23-0.

After a defensive stop, the Wolverines were forced to punt to the Falcons, with Eli Finn returning it to the NV 10-yard line. Kyle Barnes found Tyler Blaha on the first play for a 10-yard touchdown. The PAT was good, making the score 30-0 with 5:21 left to play in the first quarter.

Jared Corder returned the next kickoff back to the 14-yard line, where the Wolverines set up shop for a drive that eventually died near midfield. The Wolverines punted the ball again, with Finn returning it to the house from 67 yards out, to make it 36-0 in favor of the Falcons.

The Falcons weren’t done yet. After a shanked punt by the Wolverines, the Falcons eventually scored on a 34-yard run. The PAT made it 43-0 with 38-seconds left to play in the opening quarter.

Luke Waters scored again less than 30-seconds into the second quarter. The PAT by Wright made it 50-0.

Nodaway Valley’s defense stepped up and stopped St. Albert on downs, giving the ball back to the Wolverines at the NV 17-yard line. Corder took a jet sweep and out ran the Falcon defense for an 83-yard touchdown run. The point after was no good.

The Falcons scored on their opening possession of the third quarter. A 54-yard rive culminated in a 16-yard run by Aiden Antisdel. The PAT made it 57-6.

The Falcons added another score and two-point conversion in the third quarter to round out the scoring on the night.

St. Albert’s deep roster took its toll on the smaller NV team.

“We were in the same position a couple of years ago,” said St. Albert coach Kevin Culjat.

“They (NV) will get back to where they need to be. They have good coaching and good kids.”

The early turnovers played a part in the lopsided win, according to NV coach Steve Shantz.

“Things just snowballed on us and went sour,” Shantz said. “Everything seemed to be played on our side of the ball, and you can’t win games that way. St. Albert had excellent field position the entire first half.”

Corder led the Wolverines with 80-yards on the ground, followed by Brody Erlandson with five and Thomas Britten and Josh Allsup with four yards apiece.

Lamb completed two passes for 16 yards. Trevor Flettre caught one pass for 14 yards, while Bray Hilpipre nabbed onto one for two yards.

“The offensive line did a great job protecting the quarterback, but they could never get a push for the run,” said Shantz.

The Falcons featured a strong ground game that was led by four freshmen accounting for 221 yards.

Max Kuhns led the NV defense with 13 tackles, including 12 solo stops. Brayden Holder had 7.5 tackles with seven solo stops, while Austin Wilson had 5.5 tackles with five solo stops. Hunter Ernst had four solo tackles for the Wolverines.

Britten, Lamb and Flettre each had three tackles. Aryll Shantz had two stops with Allsup, Corder, Tanner Ellis, Erlandson, Hilpipre, Kenny McMillan and Mitchel Scahefer all getting one tackle.

“Max (Kuhns) had a good game for us on defense,” Shantz said.

The Wolverines are now 0-3 on the year.

“We will have to get better in all phases of the game,” Shantz said.

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