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The Nighthawks' Mark Hewitt went to the air while making a cut against a Chargers' defender last Thursday. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

Prairie Valley football: New team, new attitude

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Tyler Schlosser couldn't hide his enthusiasm over how the first game in the history of the Prairie Valley football program unfolded last Thursday night.

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After all, it was just a year ago that Schlosser and his Parkers Prairie teammates were on the receiving end of a lot of games that got out of hand early. Now, after the merger of the Panthers and Eagle Valley programs, it was Schlosser and a new-look team that delivered that punishment in a 48-0 win for the Nighthawks over Brandon-Evansville.

"It's awesome," Schlosser said. "Our whole team is getting to the ball on defense. We're just smacking guys. The offensive line is making huge holes, and it really feels good to get a win."

It's a feeling the Panthers felt just once last season but one their new teammates got used to after going 10-1 in 2011. Just three starters are back from that Rebels team in quarterback Logan Riedel, Derek Meyer (WR/LB) and running back/linebacker Luke Mock.

All three of those guys bring with them an idea of what it takes to win. They just needed that to rub off on their new teammates from Parkers Prairie after they had suffered through four straight one-win seasons.

"We got to practice well," Riedel said after throwing for 137 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. "That's where it starts. We had kind of talked during the off-season about what it was like. We just wanted to bring over the winning mentality because last year we had an awesome season...that was the biggest thing the first week of practice - we had to get a better mentality."

Many of the same players who suffered through that 1-7 season with Parkers Prairie played with a renewed confidence against a young Chargers team. The offensive line, consisting mainly of Parkers Prairie kids, paved the way as five different backs scored for the Nighthawks.

Prairie Valley marched right down the field without the help of a pass on its opening drive. Meyer scored the first touchdown in program history when he scampered in from 10 yards out.

The Nighthawks' commitment to the running game set up a perfectly executed play-action pass on their next possession. Riedel sold the handoff beautifully before hitting Hunter Arnold in stride down the right sideline for a 43-yard touchdown.

"We knew that they ran a 4-2-3 with man-to-man coverage," Riedel said. "So we knew run, run, run, play-action pass. I faked the handoff and Hunter stutter stepped and the kid [bit]. I knew I had him right away, and I just put it in a spot where he could get it."

Prairie Valley went on to take a 40-0 lead by the break. The Nighthawks added a touchdown from Mock in the second half before they handed things over to their junior varsity players to finish off the shutout.

Mock led a balanced backfield with 101 yards on 16 carries. Mark Hewitt added 73 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. Schlosser ran 10 times for 58 yards and Bryce Looker added a four-yard touchdown run as well.

Riedel looked like the experienced quarterback that he is while completing 8-of-11 passes for 137 yards. Arnold had two catches for 60 yards, while Alec Alberts and Meyer combined for four catches and 67 yards.

Those numbers didn't come as a shock to longtime Eagle Valley coach John Sieling. He has seen how these players gelled in camp and was happy to see them do exactly what he thought they could.

"They came out and played hard, but they practiced hard," Sieling said. "It went really well these first two weeks...as far as me being surprised, no. We have some good athletes and some good kids."

His first-team defense was in complete control against an inexperienced Brandon-Evansville roster. They allowed just one first down and 24 yards through the first three quarters. Schlosser led that charge with eight tackles and one of his team's three forced fumbles. At 220 pounds, he's an imposing linebacker in the middle of this defense.

"He made some good hits tonight," Sieling said. "Some actual crushing blows, and as a blocker, he kicks out that end pretty good [on offense]. He's very valuable to the team."

Schlosser has put up big numbers after leading the Panthers in rushing and in tackles as a junior. Now his focus is on winning with a team that has an entirely new outlook to the season.

"Our coaches are just pushing us in practice and everybody is really high spirited it seems," Schlosser said. "We'll keep doing this. I expect us to be good. We got to keep moving forward every day at practice, getting ready for our next opponent and getting better."

GAME STATISTICS

B-E 0 0 0 0 - 0

PV 14 26 8 0 - 48

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE OFFENSE - Rushing - Skyler Quinn - 5-47; Cody Walker - 5-25; James Huisman - 4-17; Josh Barsness - 6-9; Evan Bedore - 1-2; Zach Carlson - 1-(-1); Tom Bosek - 3-(-6); Passing - Billie Juul - 3-10, 13 yards; Bosek - 0-1; Receiving - Zach Carlson - 3-13

DEFENSE - Brandon Venis - 11 tackles, 8 assisted, 1.5 TFL; James Huisman - 8 tackles, 8 assisted, .5 TFL; Craig Campbell - 7 tackles, 6 assisted; Devin Roers - 6.5 tackles, 9 assisted; Josh Barsness - 5.5 tackles, 7 assisted; Blake Satterlie - 3.5 tackles, 5 assisted; Brad Challes - 3.0 tackles, 2 assisted; Christian MGaffey - 2 tackles, 2 assisted, 1 TFL; Tyson Thorstad - 1 tackle; Cody Walker - 2 tackles, 2 assisted; Brandon Christianson - 1 tackle, 2 assisted, 0.5 TFL; Jeremiah Bettermann - 1 tackle; Evan Bedore - 1 tackle; Robbie Juul - .5 tackles, 1 assisted

PRAIRIE VALLEY - Offense - Mock - 16-101, TD; Hewitt - 6-73 2 TD; T. Schlosser - 10-58, TD; Bryce Looker - TD; Derek Meyer - TD; Passing - Riedel - 8-11, 137 yards, TD; Receiving - Arnold - 2-60, TD, 2-pt conversion; Alec Alberts - 2-37; Meyer - 2-30

DEFENSE - Kyle Schlosser - fumble recovery, 7 tackles; Quentin Uran - fumble recovery; Meyer - fumble recovery, sack; Riley Springer - sack; T. Schlosser - 8 tackles, fumble caused; Dylan McCallson - 4 tackles

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Eric Morken
Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
(320) 763-1229
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