The Prairie Valley Nighthawks traveled to Murdock Thursday night to take on the KMS Saints in their opening Prairie Conference game. It was a close battle in the first half before the Nighthawks pulled away for a 36-6 win.
The Hawks were inside the 10 yard line four times in the first half, but could only cross the goal line once. A holding call stopped them at the three on the first possession. The Knights' defense kept Prairie Valley out of the end zone twice from the one on the next drive. Then in the second quarter, a 60-yard drive ended with a one-yard plunge by sophomore Joe Hewitt for the first touchdown of the season. Senior Skyler Meiners hit fellow senior Grant Yohnke for the two-point conversion.
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg came back with its own 12-play drive at the end of the second quarter. Simon Johnson scored on a four-yard run to make the score 8-6 with less than a minute in the half.
The Nighthawks came close to scoring in that final minute. A 43-yard pass to Yohnke put the ball at the 19 yard line with six seconds remaining. Meiners then threw a nice pass to sophomore Casey Peterson at the goal line, but he was stopped there for an 18-yard reception as time ran out at the one yard line.
The second half belonged to Prairie Valley’s offense and defense. A 65-yard opening drive ended with a 19-yard run by Hewitt. Meiners to Hunter McDaniel accounted for the two points and a 16-6 advantage.
The Nighthawks' defense held strong and forced a punt. A 54-yard drive ended with a Meiners to Yohnke connection for 20 yards and a touchdown. Senior Kyle Schlosser ran in the two-point conversion and the score jumped to 24-6.
Prairie Valley recovered a fumble on the Saints' next possession and two plays later senor Derek Pratt raced around the end for a 10-yard TD and it was 30-6.
The fourth quarter found the younger players getting plenty of playing time.
Nighthawks' freshman Bradley Blommel ran 30 yards to the 10 yard line and freshman Ryan Blake took it in the last six yards for a final score of 36-6.
Prairie Valley rushed for over 300 yards and had 374 yards in total offense.
The Saints were held to 153 yards on the night. Brandon Dahl rushed for 70 yards on just seven carries to lead KMS, with Johnson adding 12 rushes for 62 yards on the ground. Jordan Englers was 2-of-6 for six yards passing. Dahl and Joshua Peterson each had one reception.
Hewitt was the top rusher for the Nighthawks with 91 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Meiners was 8-for-12 and threw for over 100 yards. Yohnke, with five catches, was his favorite target.
Engler had a team high seven solo tackles. Dahl had six and added eight assists. Nick Meyer and Simon Johnson each had five solo tackles. Meyer assisting on three, while Johnson had four assists.