by Scott Watson
It was a night for bomb shelters, as Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (3-1) lost its first game of the year to Spirit Lake (4-0) in a 29-7 aerial assault. The Indians, ranked number three in Class 2A, totaled 274 yards in the air at an impressive 50 percent completion rate, while also managing to bring the Cardinal power run game to a grinding halt.
The GHV run defense proved as solid as ever, but its offense simply couldn’t find a rhythm.
“We made quite a few mistakes this week. We need to correct [them] and move on from this game,” said GHV Head Coach Scott VanDusseldorp.
The game began with a test of wills. Each team took turns stopping the other’s offense, until the Indians got close enough to chip in a 23-yard field goal. A fumbled onside kick put the possession back into the hands of the Indians. On the resulting drive, the GHV run defense was put to the test, but Spirit Lake found the GHV defensive front impassable; opting instead to travel by air, picking up a touchdown and PAT.
The Indians were met in the second quarter by a fighting flock of Cardinals. The teams went hit for hit for the majority of the second quarter, exchanging possessions frequently until a costly Cardinal turnover and long pass gave the Indians another six.
Spirit Lake kept the ball moving and secured another touchdown in the closing seconds of the second quarter, putting the halftime score at 22-0.
Tough defense and penalties by both teams plagued the third quarter and ended with neither team scoring.
Excellent Indian clock control kept the Cardinals on defense for most of the fourth quarter. In its first drive, Spirit Lake managed to kill half the quarter’s clock, ending the time warp with a touchdown and PAT kick. On a 75-yard mad dash for the end zone, GHV’s Braden Meints secured the lone touchdown for the Cardinals. Meints also had the PAT kick.
The Cardinals were led on offense by Meints with 84 yards on 11 attempts and one rushing touchdown.
GHV finished the game with 66 total yards of offense on 35 attempts.
Meints also led the Cardinal defense with eight tackles, followed by Shawn Murphy with seven. Nic Tusha had five and one-half, while Devora Allan had four and one-half. Jimmy Legge and Colton Knutson each chipped in another four tackles apiece. Connor Shaw contributed three and one-half tackles to the cause, while Logan Miller and Zach Scholl each had three tackles.
Meints, Murphy and Tusha each had a fumble recovery.
GHV will travel to Lake View this week, where they play the East Sac County Raiders (3-1 overall and 1-1 in the district).
“We have a very long bus ride and we have to be able to travel well if we want to do well in this district,” said VanDusseldorp. “East Sac is a very good football team.”