Caleb Riordan | Ameritime Sports Writer
The Valle Catholic Warriors Varsity Football team took care of business in the district semi-finals this Friday and beat the Ste. Genevieve Dragons 69-35.
The score reads like a blowout, but this game was competitive for all of three and a half quarters. The Dragons ran up against the Warriors previously this season and Valle crushed them 46-0. It was much different this time around. The Dragons came into this game with something to prove and made the Warriors sweat at least a little bit.
The energy in this one was noticeably different on both sides. The Dragons knew they had their work cut out for them and their season was on the line, and their team and fans held a high energy throughout the night. All of the same things were at stake for Valle, but it felt a bit different. It felt like the Warriors knew what was at stake, but it was business as usual.
The scoring came fast and often in this one. The first points were put on the board by the Warriors when Grant Fallert tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Aiden Heberlie to go up 7-0. Ste. Gen answered a short time after with a 24-yard touchdown run themselves. That would set the tone for most of the game. It was haymaker after haymaker and the game was going to come down to which team could get the most stops on defense. Valle scored again when Bryce Giesler punched in a three-yard touchdown that gave his team back the lead. That was the first of many on the night for Bryce. A short time later, Aiden Boyer led Ste. Gen. down the field and scored on a 22-yard carry that tied the game at 14.
The second quarter started with the score knotted but Valle changed that quickly. It was again Heberlie who found the end zone when he fought off a Dragon defender and reeled in the 30-yard pass Fallert delivered to him. That made it 21-14. Ste. Gen wasted no time evening the score again when they ran in another eight-yard touchdown. However, Valle ran down the clock at the end of the half and scored just before the half ended. Giesler found the end zone for the second time on the night and gave the Warriors a 28-21 lead at the half.
It was apparent now Ste. Gen wasn’t going to lie down. Valle needed to assert themselves if there was any hope of quieting these roaring Dragons. Giesler scored once again on his team’s first drive of the half and made it a two possession game. Ste. Gen continued to fire back when they ran in an 80-yard touchdown pass that was caught behind the line of scrimmage. The slight defensive lapse didn’t slow the Warriors down though. They traveled the distance of the field and Giesler punched in another one yard touchdown to make the score 42-28. Shortly after, Valle got a much needed stop on defense and scored once again. That made it 49-28 Valle heading into the fourth.
Whatever hope Ste. Gen had of beating the Warriors was crushed in the final quarter. They did score to open the fourth, but the Warriors scored two more touchdowns and put the game too far out of reach. They secured the 69-35 victory and kept their undefeated season alive.
Giesler had what could be argued as his best game as a high school football player. He racked up a whopping 39 carries for 283 yards and SIX touchdowns. Safe to say, he couldn’t be stopped. Heberlie also had himself a night. He caught six passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown to boot. Alex Viox had a touchdown on the ground as well while Fallert threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Giesler commented on the game with this, “It’s always fun beating our crosstown rivals but doing it twice in a season is a great feeling. For St. Mary’s we really need to focus this week of practice and glue into the game plan. We obviously have to stop Kevin Coleman too.”
Josh Bieser led the Valle defense in tackles with nine. Two of his tackles were for a loss and he also recovered a fumble. Giesler racked up eight tackles and Michael Okenfuss and Carson Tucker were just behind with six each. Okenfuss was a nightmare for the Dragons all night on the defensive side of the ball. He had five tackles for a loss and a sack. Isaac Roth and Noah Elbert each had five tackles as well.
Okenfuss was pleased with the effort, saying, “I think we played an overall good game against SG. I thought our run game stood out. For St. Mary’s we will have to have a great week of practice and we will need to play our hardest every play.”
This was a much tighter contest than the Warriors may have accounted for coming into the night. Nonetheless, they got the job done. It is probably good for them to battle a little adversity against a high-energy team like Ste. Genevieve this early in the playoffs. It should help prepare for what’s to come in their future playoff games. Next, the Warriors will battle it out with St. Mary’s on Friday, November 12th for the District Championship.