In a game in which 78 points was scored it was the Medicine Valley defense that propelled the team to victory last Friday night in Wallace in a thrilling 42-36 win. The Raider defense showed it had what it takes to secure a victory with the game on the line, stopping the Wildcat offense on eight consecutive plays within the Medicine Valley ten yard line in the final two and half minutes of the game. The win improved Medicine Valley’s record to 6-1 and kept the teams’ hopes of hosting a playoff game alive. The loss was Wallace’s fist on the season, dropping their record to 7-1 and spoiling their hopes of an undefeated regular season in their last game..
The game became an instant classic for Medicine Valley fans. In a showdown of top ten ranked teams the Raiders saw an opponent of a caliber it should expect to see in the playoffs. Wallace came into the game ranked number five by the Omaha World Herald and fielding an offense averaging 55 points a game and a defense allowing just over six points a game.
But the Medicine Valley defense was up to the task recording five takeaways on the night, three by interception and two fumble recoveries.
The game did not start in the Raiders favor with Wallace opening up a 16-6 first quarter lead. Two of the Wildcats points coming after a poor Medicine Valley snap which led to a safety. The Raiders only score coming on a three yard run by senior Quinten Chancellor. It was his first of three touchdowns on the night.
In the second quarter the Raiders offense got on track scoring twice. Unfortunately the Wildcats also scored twice, one on a blocked punt with the ball recovered in the end zone.The first Raider score in the second quarter came on a 44 yard pass play from junior Chase Barthel to Chancellor, Barthel ran in the conversion. The second Raider score came on a six yard pass from Barthel to junior Cody Aspenleiter, and at the half the Raiders trailed by 10, 20-30.
Medicine Valley opened the scoring in the second half on an 11 yard run by Barthel. Barthel then ran in the conversion and the Raiders were just two points behind, with 8:13 left in the third quarter. Wallace answered with a touchdown of their own, but Barthel followed that up with his second touchdown of the night, a two yard run and at the end of the third quarter the Raiders trailed 36-34.
The final points of the night came on a four yard touchdown run by Quinten Chancellor, Barthel ran in the conversion, and with 10:32 left in the game the Raiders took their first lead of the night 42-36. But the end of scoring was not the end of excitement in the game. With 2:30 left in the game the Wildcats were on the Medicine Valley six yard line, with a first down and goal to go.
The Raiders defense stiffened and stopped all four attempts by the Wildcats to move the ball into the end zone. But a roughing the passer penalty on fourth down gave Wallace another shot at wining the game. But again the Raiders held and with 16 second remaining the Raiders took over on downs. Perhaps the highlight of the goal-line stand was a tackle for loss by Sage Schmidt on a sweep play. Barthel took a knee on the final play of the game and Medicine Valley came away with the victory.
On defense the team was led by junior Keaton Lenz, who recorded 15 tackles, eight of them solo. Also having a big night on defense were Chase Barthel, Quinten Chancellor, and Cody Aspenleiter, all of whom had interceptions in the win.
On offense Chase Barthel led the team in rushing with 58 yards and two touchdowns. Joining Barthel with two rushing touchdowns was Quinten Chancellor, who also had a receiving touchdown. The leading receiver on the night was Cody Aspenleiter who had 44 yards in receptions and a touchdown. Aspenleiter also had a big not on special teams with three kick-off returns for 86 yards, an impressive 28.7 yards per return.
The win moved the Raiders up one spot, to number seven in the Omaha World Herald rankings, with one game remaining in the season.
The team next plays this Thursday night at home at 7 PM when they face Hayes Center (2-5).