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by Marlys Kruger
SPRING VALLEY — The Colfax Vikings’ football team traveled to Spring Valley Friday Oct. 2 for their second game of the shortened season. For Spring Valley, it was their first game and they were more than ready to get things going as they used a huge first quarter to take a 52-6 win.
After making it to the Level 3 playoff game a year ago and having several members of the team returning, the Cardinals were picked by most of the coaches in the area to win the newly aligned Dunn-St. Croix Conference this year. And it didn’t take long for them to show everybody why.
The Cardinals used a squib kick on the opening kickoff and for some reason nobody on the Colfax team wanted to pick the ball up. Spring Valley recovered it and a few plays later, Brayden Wolf scored on a 36-yard run. Brady Bednarek added a two-point run, and with less than a minute taken off the clock, it was 8-0
Colfax was forced to punt from its own end zone and the ball was mishandled, resulting in a safety for a 10-0 Spring Valley advantage. Shortly after, the Cardinals increased the lead to 18-0 on a 35-yard jaunt by Nathan Fensenmaier and a two-point conversion pass from Conner Ducklow to Wolf.
Meanwhile, the Colfax offense was struggling, much like they did against Boyceville last week. The Vikings’ running game was stuffed by the Cardinals and when quarterback Drew Gibson attempted to pass, he was on the run most of the time, resulting in a couple of interceptions in the quarter. In what must have seemed like the longest quarter in history for the Vikings, Spring Valley scored two more times to make it 33-0
“Spring Valley is a very talented and fast team,” said Colfax head coach Matt DeMoe. “Every movement they make is well executed on offense and defense. They were able to get the edge several times on us and we didn’t have an answer defensively and on special teams.”
Colfax picked up a first down on a roughing the kicker penalty by the Cardinals, but four plays resulted in just a gain of three yards.
Spring Valley continued to pour it on, scoring on a 60-yard punt return by Tyler Bowman and an 11-yard run by Wolf to finish off the half ahead 46-0.
With a running clock in motion, Thomas Drees broke through to tackle the Cardinal ball carrier for a 10-yard loss, but on the next play, Justin Reilly broke loose on a 66-yard TD run for the Cardinals’ final points of the night at the 8:56 mark of the third quarter.
Colfax put their best offensive drive together in the fourth quarter. Starting at the 50-yard line, hard runs by Hunter Rebak and Aiden McKee gave them a first down at the Cardinals’ 39. Gibson then threw his first touchdown pass of the season, hitting Max Knudson for the score with 8:31 left in the contest. The two-point conversion run was stopped, however.
The Vikings picked up their defense when Josiah Harder, Mark Solberg and Ashton Greenwell took turns stuffing the Cardinal ball carriers, and they took over on downs with just over a minute left. A dropped pass by a Colfax receiver was followed by a pass completion from Gibson, under duress, to Rebak to the 20-yard line as the clock ran out.
“Our offensive line did a better job sustaining our blocks, but we can still get better,” DeMoe said. “Our goal was to score in the second half and we did. Now, we will work to build on that,” he added.
Rebak led the Vikings in rushing with 31 yards on 11 carries. Gibson completed six of 13 passes for 95 yards with Tanner Hoffman and Rebak each snaring two of them. After 16 penalties were called on them last week, the Vikings cleaned things up and did not have any called on them in this contest, while the Cardinals had only two.
Spring Valley finished with 265 yards rushing and another 34 through the air.
Colfax (0-2) will host Turtle Lake, a new member of the conference, this Friday night, October 9.