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Football: Prairie Valley hands WHN second loss of the season

The Prairie Valley football team took advantage of an opportunity to make a statement against a previously 5-1 Wheaton-Herman-Norcross team last Friday afternoon.

The Nighthawks went onto the Warriors' home field and spoiled their homecoming with a 28-22 win that moved them to 5-1 on the season. Prairie Valley set the tone early with a fumble recovery by Eric Ronning that stopped what looked to be a long scoring drive by WHN on the Prairie Valley four-yard line.

Those turnovers would prove to be the biggest difference in the game. The Nighthawks finished plus-four in that category as Derek Meyer added two fumble recoveries, including one he returned 50 yards for a touchdown, and Logan Riedel added an interception.

"This was a total team effort with plays being made on both sides of the ball," head coach John Sieling said. "The key was the turnover battle...The stats were pretty even with both teams having over 300 yards of offense. Wheaton had over 250 yards rushing and about 50 passing. [We] rushed for about 130 yards and passed for over 180 yards."

Riedel was efficient all night from under center. The senior quarterback hit on 11-of-16 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Arnold was also 1-for-1 as he hit Riedel on a 47-yard touchdown pass that made it 28-14 in the second half.

Prairie Valley was able to take a 12-8 lead into the break after first half touchdowns by Tyler Schlosser and Meyer's fumble recovery for a touchdown. Riedel hit Arnold on a 34-yard touchdown pass on the Nighthawks' first drive of the second half that made it 20-8.

The Warriors were able to keep things within striking distance but could never climb all the way back. They made it 28-22 with a 15-play touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter.

Prairie Valley was able to eat some clock to secure the win on its ensuing possession. The Nighthawks took over with about six minutes left in the game and kept the drive alive with a four-yard run by Meyer on fourth-and-one at the 50-yard line. After two more first downs, they faced a fourth-and-eight situation as Riedel hit Alec Alberts for a 22-yard gain that all but sealed it.

Schlosser led a strong defensive effort for Prairie Valley with 17 tackles. Luke Mock and Arnold added 11 tackles apiece. Offensively, Schlosser led the run game with 43 yards and a touchdown. Meyer added 28 yards, while Mock finished with 21. Arnold was also Riedel's favorite target all night with five catches for 73 yards.

The Nighthawks will face another tough challenge to wrap up the regular season tonight, Wednesday. They welcome in 7-0 Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley to Parkers Prairie for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Wolverines are beating teams by almost 50 points per game this season.

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.

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