What a game. Southwest and Wallace battled the elements, adversity, and each other on Friday afternoon in a pivotal game for both teams. The Roughriders though came away victorious in a thriller, 20-14.
We go to the first quarter, Southwest struck first and quickly. A team that primarily uses the pass game, used the ground to get on the board first with a 17-yard run from Nathan Rippe. The two-point conversion kick attempt was no good and Southwest led 6-0.
We went to the second quarter with that score and the Roughriders ahead.
In the second quarter, Wallace countered with some tough running, Ivan Aceves scored on an 11-yard touchdown run. Their two-point attempt was no good and we were knotted up at 6-6.
The score remained that way going into the intermission.
In the third quarter, the teams traded possessions for about six minutes. Wallace then took possession and was able to score on a 26-yard touchdown run from Riley Strawder. The two-point conversion kick was good and Wallace led 14-6 with 2:40 to go in the third.
Southwest though, had something to say on their next possession as Mitchell Stritt ran in from 39 yards away with 1:48 remaining in the third quarter. The two-point conversion was no good. Wallace led 14-12 going to the fourth quarter.
Wallace had a big opportunity in the fourth quarter to take a commanding lead as they blocked a punt on the Southwest 11-yard line with 6:21 to go in the game. But penalties and negative plays forced the Wildcats to give the ball back.
A few minutes later, it was a monster play for the Roughriders as they were able to get a pass to cut through the heavy wind, Houston Billeter found Rippe, on a 45-yard pass and a score. The two-point conversion kick was good and the Roughriders led 20-14 with 3:13 to go in the game.
Wallace though had a chance in the final moments of the game to tie the game. They had the ball on the Southwest one-yard line in the final minute. The Roughriders stopped the Wildcats twice, and then Head Coach of the Wildcats Eric Miller took a timeout with one second to go. Wallace attempted a pass on the right side of the endzone from Matt Lungrin. to Conner Kennicutt, but Nathan Rippe was there to swat it away and secure the win for Southwest as time expired.
We caught up with Head Coach of the Southwest Roughriders, Christian Arterburn after the win, and needless to say, he was proud of his team.
Head Coach of the Wildcats, Eric Miller had this to say about the game. "Southwest played good defense, as we struggled to move the ball consistently. After the first drive of the game, our defense played pretty well. I give credit to Southwest for being prepared and playing hard."
For the Wildcats, they had 199 yards of total offense with 68 passing and 131 rushing. Riley Strawder had 80 yards rushing and a touchdown prior to coming out with an injury. Ivan Aceves had 58 yards and a touchdown in the game. The wind was a factor as we mentioned and the Wildcats' Matt Lungrin was 4-13 passing.
For Southwest, they had 291 yards of total offense, 113 passing and 178 rushing. Houston Billeter was 8-17 passing with 113 yards and a score. Nathan Rippe did it all with 71 yards rushing, 109 yards receiving, and a pair of touchdowns. Mitchell Stritt had 98 yards and a score on the ground. The Roughriders had four players with 10 tackles too, Jakub Walz, Trenton Williams, Hunter Blume, and Nathan Rippe.
Wallace is 3-4 and will have to knock top-three rated off Arthur County next week on Friday for any chance of making the playoffs.
Southwest is 5-2, has clinched a playoff spot, and is looking for more, as a win next week could propel them to hosting a first-round game. They will take on Paxton at home.