Wildcats end Vikings season
After Goodhue’s defense forced a quick three-and-out, the Wildcats received the Hayfield punt at their own 48-yard line.
Goodhue’s second play from scrimmage went 43 yards for a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion gave the Wildcats an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Following another three-and-out by Hayfield’s offense, Goodhue took over at its own 37-yard line.
The Wildcats then started to impose their will by only running the ball on the ensuing drive. The 14-play drive took seven minutes off the clock and was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was good and Goodhue held a 16-0 lead.
Hayfield Head Coach Jeff Snider said the Vikings’ defense “had a couple missed assignments in the first quarter and dug ourselves a little bit of a hole. We made some adjustments and stabilized our defense which played much better in the second half.”
After yet another three-and-out by the Vikings, Hayfield’s Ethan Slaathaug stopped the bleeding by intercepting Goodhue’s first pass of the night at the Vikings’ 15-yard line.
Unfortunately, that answer only temporarily stopped the Wildcats’ offense.
Snider said the Vikings were prepared for Goodhue to focus its efforts on running the ball.
“We knew Goodhue was going to come out and run the ball against us and we were working diligently to stop it,” he said.
However, their run defense wasn’t enough as Goodhue’s offense bounced back later in the second quarter when they scored a four-yard touchdown run and a successful two-point conversion to increase their lead to 24-0 with 5:58 left in the first half.
While their rush defense struggled, he mentioned that Hayfield’s pass defense performed well.
“We had a lot of success covering their passing attack, with one exception, but we did a great job in limiting their air yards,” he said.
The Vikings’ offense finally got some momentum as quarterback Brady Nelson completed a pass to receiver Dawson Andree to get Hayfield down to Goodhue’s 10-yard line.
However, knowing that a field goal wouldn’t get them back in the game, the Vikings went for it on fourth down from the three-yard line and were stopped by the Wildcats.
Snider said self-inflicted mistakes led to Hayfield missing those scoring opportunities.
“Our offense moved the ball a little bit, but we had a couple of mistakes that hurt ourselves when we were moving the ball and subsequently cost us opportunities to put points on the board,” he said.
Goodhue took over and marched into Vikings’ territory before throwing a 33-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left in the half. Their two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful so the Wildcats held a 30-0 lead at halftime.
During the break, Snider said his team talked about making some changes on defense.
“At halftime, we told our guys to get back to doing what we know how to do as well as tweaked how we were playing them defensively,” he said.
Goodhue began the second half with a short punt and the Vikings started at the 50-yard line.
However, Hayfield’s good field position was all for naught as they lost a fumble on their second play.
The Wildcats wouldn’t hold onto the ball long either as Andree intercepted the Goodhue quarterback with 3:30 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings capitalized on that mistake when Nelson found receiver Patrick Towey in the end zone for Hayfield’s first points of the game. Nelson completed a pass to Slaathaug to convert the two-point conversion and trim Goodhue’s lead to 30-8.
Snider said the Vikings used a combination of pass and run to earn that touchdown drive.
“On our scoring drive, we were able to pass the ball around to multiple receivers as well as mix in a couple runs,” he said.
That score held until the end of the third quarter.
Goodhue punted to start the fourth quarter, but their defense intercepted Nelson to halt the Hayfield’s drive.
The Wildcats then milked the clock to beat the Vikings 30-8.
Despite the loss, Snider was proud of his team’s effort against Goodhue.
“Our team showed a lot of grit throughout the year. When things looked bad, they could have folded their tent, but instead they put together a valiant effort against a good team that has made it all to the section finals,” he said.
While this team didn’t achieve the success it wanted, he mentioned that the seniors especially were “a great group to work with.”
“They’ve been through a lot and understood the determination that it takes to be successful. This group of seniors was really a close-knit family. They’ve been together through multiple sports and multiple experiences and really stuck together through thick and thin,” he said.
The Vikings finish the season with a 3-6 record.