SILVERTON – Vale had a chance to knot a quarterfinal football game Saturday against No. 1-ranked Kennedy but a two-point conversion attempt by the Vikings fell short and the Trojans escaped with a 14-12 victory.
“We really battled. We fought, clawed and scratched and it came down to an opportunity to tie the game and we fell short,” said Vale coach Jeff Aldred.
Meanwhile, Adrian ran into a buzzsaw against Lost River Saturday as the Raiders beat the Antelopes 44-8 in Merrill in a 1A 8-man football quarterfinal contest.
Ashton Jepheson scored the Antelope’s only touchdown on a 65-yard reception and Jace Martin recorded 11 tackles in the loss.
“We had a good year going 8-3 overall. We were league champions and I am proud of that,” said Adrian coach Bill Wortman.
Wortman said the Lopes ran into a “well prepared team that we couldn’t match up well with.”
“To summarize our season, I would say that we achieved great things both individually and as a team,” said Wortman.
In Silverton, the playoff game between Kennedy and Vale was one of two tough defenses and missed opportunities by the Vikings, who finished the season 7-3.
The late-game opportunity for the tie came after Kennedy scored two touchdowns in the third quarter for a 14-6 lead.
Vale sliced the margin to 14-12 before the end of the contest on quarterback Colten Stepleton’s touchdown.
Vale scored first on a four-yard swing pass from Eli Aldred to Brooks Haueter for a 6-0 lead in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, the Vikings drove to the Kennedy 3-yard line but couldn’t punch the ball in. Aldred elected to try to get some points on the board and opted for a field goal attempt that was blocked.
“One of their tall guys got a hand on the ball. That missed opportunity to get points on the board was a big deal,” said Aldred.
The game showcased two evenly-matched teams, said Aldred.
“We were right there. But they were a tough team to score on because of their size and athleticism,” said Aldred.
A quick glance at the game stats shows neither team gained supremacy offensively.
Vale ended the game with 180 yards of total offense while Kennedy piled up 182 yards.
“That’s a good team. We could not run on then,” said Aldred.
Stepleton paced the Viking attack on the ground with 33 yards. He also finished the day 5 of 16 for 72 yards.
“There wasn’t any huge plays or long runs because both defenses were so stout. Kennedy is not a team you are going to run all over,” said Aldred.
Vale lost momentum in the third quarter, said Aldred.
“We came out flat,” said Aldred.
Aldred said while the playoff loss stings, he is already looking to next year. The Vikings will be in the enviable position where a host of experienced starters will return, including quarterback Stepleton.
“We were relatively young this year. I think the future is bright for sure,” said Aldred.
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