Talk about a turnaround.
A 30-point loser to Halstead last season, the Smoky Valley Vikings avenged that defeat on Friday with a season-opening 24-22 victory over the Dragons, keeping Halstead from converting on a 2-pointer with 3 minutes to go in the game that would have tied it.
The game was tied at 16-all at the half, but the Vikings inched ahead 24-16 with 10 minutes to go before the Dragons scored late. The Vikings were able to hold on, as they are hoping to make this a special season with a senior-laden team.
The difference in the game was the Vikings converting 2-point conversions after each of their three scores.
Kyle Anderson, Tim Lambert and Cort Elliott all scored TDs, Lambert catching a pass of 68 yards from Brett Heitschmidt.
Anderson, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, pounded out 105 hard-earned yards as the Vikes pierced the Dragons for 219 on the ground. Heitschmidt, highly efficient last year, was pinpoint by completing 7 of 9 for 127 yards. Lambert had three catches for 93 yards.
The Vikings dominated the time of possession by running 67 plays to just 32 for the Dragons.
• Little River 50, Centre 42 — Chad Lafferty’s head football coaching debut was successful as the Redskins won a crazy shootout with Centre.
Little River led 30-16 at the half and had to hold off a 20-point Cougar fourth quarter.
Levi Swenson, who missed last year with an injury, ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Peyton Harvey ran for 86 yards and three scores and also had an interception return for a score.
Centre actually had a 441-319 edge in total offense, running 72 plays to Little River’s 46.
• Marion 36, Moundridge 26 — The Wildcats put up a spirited battle, but couldn’t quite get the defensive stops.
Mason Dyck threw for 152 yards and two scores, both to Noah Eichelberger, who had eight catches for 105 yards. Dyck also ran for a score, while Jerod Kaufman had 101 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Dyck rushed for 61 more yards.
Jack Schneider ran for 153 yards for the Warriors and had a TD, while Corbin Wheeler ran for 139 yards and three scores as the Marion ground game was punishing.
Damion Calderon had 10 tackles to lead the MHS defense.
• Garden Plain 28, Hesston 24 — The Swathers led late, but Garden Plain scored for the come-from-behind win.
Hesston certainly had enough offense to win. Parker Roth pounded out 188 yards and three touchdowns to lead the ground game, while first-year starting quarterback Cameron Cox threw for 261, with Reese Nebel catching nine for 133 yards. Landon Spencer had 86 yards in receptions and a TD.
• Trinity Catholic 38, Inman 7 — The Celtics looked like a real deal in handing the Teutons a season-opening loss.
Inman scored early on, but couldn’t dent the Celtics defense after that.
• Solomon 66, Canton-Galva 34 — The Eagles certainly scored enough to win, but they could never stop the Gorillas.
No game information was available.