AURELIA - The best facet of the Alta-Aurelia football team's game in the first half of their season-opening game against Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto here on Friday was their extra point defense.
The visiting Rams benefited from two "short field" situations in the second quarter - one the result of a mishandled punt and the other set up by a long punt return - and they scored both times, but they also missed on both of their extra point conversions, and led to a 12-0 lead at the break. The Warriors then proceeded to show everyone just how important those "extra" points can be in the second half of the game.
The Warriors started off the third quarter with a 17-play drive which resulted in a dive into the end zone by Warrior QB Ryan Friedrich. An inadvertent whistle took that score away from the Warriors, but, in the words of Coach Hammer, "the football gods were looking down on us," and the Warriors recovered a fumble on the next play, and then scored (again) one play later.
The Warriors successfully executed the two-point conversion to cut the MVAO lead to 12-8, and that's where things stood as the two teams headed into the fourth quarter.
Coach Hammer was very pleased with his team's opening game victory. "I thought our kids did a good job of sticking with our game plan," he said.
The Warriors gained 134 yards on 46 rushing attempts, led by Nathan Corlew and sophomore Garrett VanHouten, both rushing for 53 yards. Jalen Henningsen gained 30 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown. Henningsen also led Warrior receivers with six catces for 39 yards. Quarterback Ryan Friedrich ran for seven yards and a touchdown and also completed 7 of 10 pass attempts for 44 yards.
The Warriors travel to Ida Grove on Friday to face another Class 2A team, the Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove Falcons, who also got their season started with an opening win Friday, 26-19, over the Ridge View Raptors,