The Edgewood-Colesburg football team’s playoff plans suffered a tough blow when the Vikings lost to Easton Valley, 60-14, in their eight-man District 5 game played in Preston, Oct. 8.
The two teams were involved in a back-and-forth affair until Easton Valley scored 12 points in the final 3:17 of the first quarter to grab a 26-14 lead that the River Hawks turned into a 54-14 halftime advantage.
“They are a good football team. They have a couple of really good players, but their team speed was crazy,” said James Rochford, head coach. “We couldn’t run outside and Cael (Funk) was running for his life anytime we had him out of the pocket and even when we didn’t. They were right there. They closed very fast. We had trouble running anything constantly against them.”
The home team struck first when Charlie Simpson plowed his way into the end zone on a six-yard run. The extra point was good and Easton Valley took an early 7-0 lead.
The Vikings quickly answered with a 36-yard run by Ike Jones, but the two-point conversion was no good keeping them down by one, 7-6.
Aiden Gruve received the kick-off at the two-yard line and returned it 78 yards for an Easton Valley touchdown. Ethan Farrell’s try for extra point bounced off the upright, down off the crossbar and finally rolled through for a 14-6 lead with 8:29 left to play in the opening quarter.
Jones tried to respond with a kick-off return for six of his own, but he got tripped up at the River Hawks’ 12-yard line. The Vikings’ offensive line had difficulty controlling the line of scrimmage, but on fourth and 12 from the 14 they held off the rush long enough for Funk to find Jack Wiskus in the end zone who went up and over the defender to come down with the football. Funk converted the two-point play to tie the game at 14-14.
Wiskus made the game’s next big play when he stripped the ball away and Westin Rowcliffe recovered at the River Hawks’ 32. But the Vikings were unable to move the ball turning it over on downs when Wiskus was unable to come up with the pass from Funk on fourth and five.
Simpson scored two quick touchdowns, one from the eight and the other from the one, as Easton Valley shifted into another gear to take over the game. The River Hawks closed out the first quarter up 26-14 and scored four more touchdowns in the second quarter to hold a comfortable 54-14 lead at halftime.
With the win, Easton Valley stayed undefeated as they improved to 7-0 for the year and 6-0 in District 5 play.
The loss might have been the Vikings’ second in a row and might have knocked them down to 4-3 for the season and 4-2 in the district, but they still have a chance of locking up a playoff spot if they beat the Midland Eagles (3-5, 3-3) in a winner-move-on contest at Community Field in Edgewood Oct. 15.
“There is a reason this team is ranked fourth in eight-man. They are a talented team. I don’t think we faulted on effort, sometimes on execution, but not on effort,” said Rochford about his team’s loss to Easton Valley. “The kids didn’t give up or quit trying, we just made some coaching decisions that we thought would give us a better chance to win Friday night against Midland, a game that we have to win to get into the playoffs. The big picture is we still have a chance to make the playoffs and that’s what we had to do to make it. We just have to execute and get after it against Midland. I know the boys will be ready for Friday.”