MAXWELL — Medicine Valley raided Brittenham Field with a ground game that outlasted the Wildcats’ on Friday.
Led by Sam Heapy’s 23 carries for 207 yards and five touchdowns, the Raiders offense churned out over 372 yards of total offense to open district play with a 50-25 win on the road against Maxwell.
"It’s a big win for us to kind of get that foot started," Raiders head coach Scott Johnsen said. "We’re two pretty even teams, but we just made some plays tonight and they didn’t."
Heapy and the Raiders offense fueled their attack with a few early stops to jump ahead early.
After the Wildcats’ opening drive, which ended in a turnover on downs, Medicine Valley found themselves in scoring position at the Maxwell 25-yard line. The Raiders parlayed the stop into a 20-yard touchdown run by Heapy to make it 8-0 after the two-point conversion.
Maxwell, however, answered with a 65-yard drive, taking nearly seven minutes off the clock but only coming away with a field goal from Caden Messersmith — the closest Maxwell would come to Medicine Valley.
"I thought our defense did a very good job of holding down the edge and not letting them get to the outside," Johnsen said of Maxwell’s run game. "We gave up some in the second half and let down a bit, but I thought our kids played hard for the most part."
The early defensive stand by Medicine Valley held the Wildcats to 11 points and just 109 of their 327 total yards in the first half, while capitalizing on all five of their
offensive drives in turn.
The Raiders opened the second quarter with a 41-yard drive that was punctuated with a nine-yard quarterback scramble by Kaden Bonini. With 6 minutes, 25 seconds left in the half, the Raiders extended their lead to 24-3 on a 45-yard touchdown run by Lane Lenz.
They weren’t done.
Right before halftime, the Raiders turned to Heapy twice more for an eight-yard and nine-yard touchdown runs.
"He’s that senior leader and we rely on him a lot," Johnsen said of Heapy. "He was our quarterback last year and we asked him to move to running back this year to make us better, and I think every week he gets better as a result."
The Wildcats’ most successful drive came with less than five minutes in the half — a 50-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown run by Jack Meyer to cut Medicine Valley’s lead to 38-11 at halftime.
The Wildcats, despite allowing Medicine Valley to score within the first three plays of the third quarter, tightened their defense and mustered a balanced attack on both sides of the ball to outscore the Raiders 14-12 in the second half.
"When you’re playing decent teams, you have to play all four quarters," Maxwell head coach Ryan Jones said. "I thought we played outstanding in the second half by making some adjustments defensively."
After a pair of empty drives from both teams, including an interception thrown by Maxwell, the Wildcats found the end zone with a 40-yard touchdown run by Jacob Gholson.
Gholson, who led the Wildcats with 34 carries for 195 yards and two touchdowns, found a groove in the second half — and the team followed.
Consecutive defensive stops led to offense, and the Wildcats lifted themselves off the canvas, scoring again on a 69-yard run by Gholson with 32-seconds in the third period to further chew Medicine Valley’s lead.
Unfortunately, the clock did not wait for Maxwell.
"Our counter game started working a little bit more towards the end, and I think that allowed us to wear them down," Jones said. "I thought our kids were playing hard to get back in it, but it was just one of those things where time ran out on us."
Trailing 44-25 and with little room for error to start the fourth quarter, Maxwell came up empty twice, watching as a Medicine Valley 24-yard touchdown run by Heapy closed the door.
Both teams return to action on the road next week. Maxwell (1-3) plays undefeated Sandhills/Thedford (4-0) on Thursday, while Medicine Valley (3-1) travels to take on the Mullen Broncos (1-3) on Friday.
Maxwell (1-3) 3 8 14 0 — 25
Medicine Valley (3-1) 8 30 6 6 — 50
MV: Heapy on a 20 run (2pt conversion is good)
M: Messersmith on a 25 field goal
MV: Bonini on a 9 run (2pt conversion good)
MV: Lenz on a 41 run (2pt conversion good)
MV: Heapy on an 8 run (2pt conversion no good)
M: Meyer on a 29 run (2pt conversion good)
MV: Heapy on a 9 run (2pt conversion good)
MV: Heapy on a 6 run (2pt conversion no good)
M: Gholson on a 40 run (2pt conversion good)
M: Gholson on a 69 run (2pt conversion no good)
MV: Heapy on a 24 run (2pt conversion no good)