RANDOLPH — Friday night had the makings of a game that could have gone wrong for the Blue Valley Rams.
It was homecoming, and they were seeking to get to a five-win mark that has eluded them, especially over the last two years, against the rival Frankfort Wildcats to open district play.
But after a shaky start, the Rams forced a key fumble and returned it for a touchdown and never looked back in a 46-20 win at home. Blue Valley coach Matt Schreiber said his team went into Friday’s game considering it a whole new season.
“The last two seasons we’ve been 4-5 and I told our guys, the four games you’ve played are the easiest you’ll play,” he said. “Throw those four out and play the next five with a fresh season. They started the second season well for us.”
The Rams (5-0) trailed 12-6 early in the first quarter when a hit on Frankfort quarterback Jake Rose jarred the ball loose. Marshall Carey scooped it up and ran down the Wildcats’ sideline to tie the game at 12-12. Blue Valley went on to score the next 20 points to take a 32-12 lead early in the third quarter.
By then, it was too late for the Wildcats to mount a comeback, and the Rams tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to ensure a win by at least 21 for district play.
“Every week’s a new week,” Schreiber said. “You fight for your life in district play. Anytime you can start off on a positive note, that’s great. It’s big, especially in our district. Anytime you can get those points, you have to do it.”
The Rams will go on the road for a tough game at St. Johns-Tipton next week, but then return back to district play with Axtell, Baileyville B&B and Hanover.
Schreiber said his team wouldn’t have long to celebrate getting over the .500 mark too long, as there is still work to be done this season.
“It’s pretty exciting, the guys are playing well right now,” he said. “Anytime you can be 5-0 and 1-0 in district, you’ve got things going for you, but I told our guys at the end of the night to enjoy it, because Sunday we’ve got to come back and get ready.”
Frankfort got on the board first with a three-play scoring drive, capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by Lucas Adams. The Rams followed with a two-play drive and a 46-yard touchdown run by Carey. Rose scored on the next play from scrimmage on a 65-yard run to put the Wildcats up 12-6.
After Carey’s fumble return tied the game, he threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Carey to put the Rams up 18-12. It was the fifth different way he scored a touchdown this seasons.
Marshall Carey would finish the game with 138 rushing yards, 13 passing yards and five total touchdowns.
“Marshall’s just a guy that does a great job for us,” Schreiber said. “He’d be the first one to tell you it’s those seven guys around him, but he’s a special player, you’ve got to have the ball in his hands just to make some things happen.”
Blue Valley closed the second half with a 12-yard touchdown run from Carey with 10 seconds to play. On the Rams’ first possession of the second half, Chase Carey caught a 57-yard screen pass from Zach Rootring to cap a string of 26 unanswered points by Blue Valley.
Frankfort scored on a 5-yard run by Jase Suther in the fourth quarter to cut the score to a 12-point deficit. But the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs at the Blue Valley 6-yard-line on their next possession.
Blue Valley fullback Bill Sumerour put the game away with a 25-yard touchdown run with 1:43 to play, and Marshall Carey ran it in from 3 yards out with 24 seconds to play to put the game over the 21-point mark needed for district play.
Schreiber said his team did plenty of damage in the ground game.
“I really liked the way we ran the ball,” he said. “We made adjustments, and our offensive line was great. We’ve got great backs, but they wouldn’t be able to do what they do without those guys up there.”