Inches, at the end of a tough, hard fought game that is all that separated #1 ranked Ralston Valley from what may be the state's best 2-2 team, Dakota Ridge. In a Thursday night Mountain Plains League matchup, Ralston Valley converted a last second field goal that hit the uprights and went in, to defeat Dakota Ridge 15-14.
In the first quarter, both teams were able to get seven points on the board. Dakota Ridge was the first to hit pay dirt scoring on a thirteen yard run. Ralston Valley soon countered with an eight yard Nick Grenfell run.
In the second quarter, Ralston Valley got the only score as quarterback Cameron Wright hooked up with favorite target Brandon Ribble for a thirty-seven yard touchdown. Dakota Ridge was unable to counter, making the score at half 14-7 Mustangs.
Early in the second half, Dakota Ridge took the lead after a sixty-yard drive. After running in the score, the Eagles converted the two-point conversion making it 15-14. The remainder of the game belonged to the defenses of both teams as no points would be scored until late in the fourth. Later in the third, the teams exchanged turnover and Ralston Valley snagged two interceptions to halt Dakota Ridge scoring threats.
The defensive dominance by both squads continued into the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Late in the game Ralston Valley was able to get the ball moving. Converting multiple fourth down plays, the Mustangs got the ball deep into Eagle territory but with downs and time running low, Ralston Valley opted for an eighteen yard field goal try. On the kick, the ball hit the upright and as they crowd watched, the ball fell over the goal post for three points. With the field goal, Ralston Valley secured their 17-15 win and #1 ranking.
Sometimes #1 teams need to be lucky rather than good. For whatever reason, the football gods smiled on the Mustangs tonight and the final field goal dropped in. With that said, the Mustang defense held a good Dakota Ridge offense in check and helped secure the win. Both Cody Schafer and Colby Allen of Ralston Valley had big second half interceptions to stop Dakota Ridge scoring drives. As stated above, Dakota Ridge may be the best 2-2 squad in Colorado. Their losses are at the hands of a good 5A Overland team and 4A #1 Ralston Valley. Things will not get easier for the Eagles as they take on a hot Golden team and perennial power ThunderRidge over the next two weeks. Speaking of ThunderRidge, the Grizzlies will be the next foe Ralston Valley.
In a game where yards came tough having a go to guy was very important. Ralston Valley quarterback Cameron Wright found receiver Brandon Ribble, his 6-4 200 pound security blanket, eight times on the evening for 147 yards and a score.