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River Valley’s running back Sam Poignant (middle) runs through a tackle during the third quarter of Friday’s 34-6 victory over Mid-County in a Lincoln Trail Conference game in Varna. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
River Valley’s T.J. Vogt (No. 2) gives teammate Evan Koehler (No. 88) a pat on the helmet after Koehler returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter Friday in Varna. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
VARNA — The River Valley football team has impressed many this season with their undefeated start.
Friday’s 34-6 home win against Lincoln Trail Conference foe Mid-County not only moved the Falcons to 4-0 but dazzled even more fans in the stands as the offense proved to be dominant.
“I think it was all our line,” junior running back Sam Poignant said. “Last week, they didn’t come how they should have, but this week they were just phenomenal. On every play, they were just pushing them down the field. The (Cougar) defense couldn’t do anything against them.”
In the win, the Falcons ran 39 times for 274 yards — or 7.02 yards per carry — and four touchdowns.
Poignant — who ran for 152 yards and the go-ahead score in the second quarter — led the three-man rushing machine the Falcons have created of Poignant, senior quarterback Tom Miller and senior running back Nathan Helle.
Miller scored the first six points of the game on an 11-yard keeper with 8:35 left in the first quarter.
“It goes to our line and how we have a triple threat,” Miller said. “It’s hard to guard us. I can run and pass and our two backs are running hard all the time. I think we’re pretty good on offense.”
The contest seemed like it was going to be a hard work day for both squads as the Mid-County responded as it drove 63 yards in 12 plays over 6:45 and scored on a six-yard run from its primary ball carrier, junior running back Collin Landis.
However, the Cougars failed on the two-point conversion as the Falcons kept a 7-6 lead.
Two lost fumbles from River Valley in back-to-back offensive possessions gave the aura of a long night also.
However, the River Valley defense wanted it to be hard, but not for them, only the Cougars.
Mid-County had five first downs in the scoring drive, but it only finished with two more for the rest of the game, one of which was a penalty whistled on the Falcons.
“We pushed it hard on every play and never gave up. When they scored, we didn’t shut down.” Poignant said of the stingy defense.
With the defense stopping the Cougars and the offense only gaining yards and touchdowns — with zero turnovers after the two fumbles — it was only a matter of time before the Falcons pulled away and began to tack on the point.
Helle found his way into the end zone with 2:11 left in the third on a 24-yard blast on the outside.
After a couple of Mid-County punts, Miller found his way back in the end zone for the second time on a 1-yard keeper.
The game was officially shut closed when senior linebacker Evan Koehler intercepted the Cougars’ junior quarterback Conner Kelly for a 46-yard touchdown return and a 34-6 lead with 8:28 left.
“It was our goal to start the year out 4-0 before the Stark County game next week; we set it at the beginning of the summer,” Galen Noard said. “The kids that we have are the hardest working bunch we’ve had here. I think that’s what is making them successful.”
Bandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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