MARSHALL, Mo. - Quarterback Bruce Reyes completed 18-of-31 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 3-ranked Missouri Valley to a 42-26 victory over 12th-ranked Benedictine, Saturday afternoon at Gregg-Mitchell Field in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Game of the Week. Box Score | Postgame Quotes
Reyes returned to the lineup for the first time since being knocked out of the game on September 22 against Baker in the first quarter, but was sharp from the opening moments and kept the Missouri Valley offense rolling until he was pulled from the game late in the fourth quarter. He struck with Seth Martinko on both of his scoring throws, finding the wideout open behind the Benedictine secondary for a 74-yard pass play at the 9:54 mark of the 2nd quarter, then found Martinko on a 27-yard TD pass early in the third quarter.
Benedictine (5-2, 3-2 HAAC) took its only lead on the opening possession of the game as Bill Noonan fired a strike to Geoff Akpom from 26 yards out to cap a 9-play, 70-yard drive. The Vikings responded with a quick score as a long kickoff return by LaQuentin Black put the ball at the Ravens' 22. LaNorris Dukes scored from three yards out to tie the game at the 8:45 mark of the first quarter.
The defenses dominated for almost an entire quarter before two big plays gave the Vikings a quick 14-point lead. Missouri Valley (6-0, 5-0 HAAC) followed up the long scoring throw to Martinko with a fumble recovery in the end zone by Michael Barnes on the ensuing kickoff after Colton Johnston lost the ball.
The last two minutes of the second quarter brought more big-play fireworks. Missouri Valley took possession of the ball with 1:42 left, but needed just one play to add to their tally as Zavier Steward took a stretch play off the left side 89 yards for a touchdown.
The Vikings looked like they would have a chance to add more points after the Ravens used less than a minute on a three-and-out possession, but Black muffed the punt and the Ravens recovered at the Vikings' 29. Noonan connected with Jerrin Walton on the next play for a touchdown to finish the half with Missouri Valley leading, 28-13.
The second scoring play from Reyes to Martinko came at the 11:57 mark of the third quarter, then Dukes scored again, this time from two yards out, with 3:16 left in the 3rd quarter to blow the game open. The Ravens scored twice late in the fourth quarter, aided by a pair of turnovers, but the Vikings were able to run out the clock to remain unbeaten.
Steward led all rushers with 11 totes for 140 yards while Dukes had nine rushes for 30 yards. Martinko had four catches for 111 yards and two scores while Steward also added three catches for 46 yards. Each team forced two turnovers, but the Vikings had four sacks and put both Noonan and Walton under pressure throughout the game. Noonan sat out the second half after suffering a left leg injury in the opening stanza.
Noonan completed 10-of-19 for 113 yards while Walton was 5-of-14 for 43 yards. Cameron Fore had 39 yards on 14 carries as the Ravens were held to just 76 yards rushing on 33 carries while the Vikings had 190 yards on the same amount of rushes.
Missouri Valley hits the road to take on Graceland next Saturday, October 20 while the Ravens return home to face off against 10th-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene.
Week Eight Recaps
Graceland 17, Central Methodist 14
FAYETTE, Mo. - Anthony Wood knocked through a 41-yard field goal with 4:25 remaining in the game to give visiting Graceland a 17-14 victory over Central Methodist at Davis Field. Steady rain and winds turned the game into a defensive struggle as the teams combined for just 370 total yards. Turnovers proved costly for Central Methodist (2-5, 2-4 HAAC) with three lost fumbles and two interceptions. Graceland (4-3, 3-2 HAAC) capitalized on an interception by Eric Escamilla to tie the game at 7-7 on a 8-yard run by Terrence Wells. A fumble by Eagles' QB Jacob Jackson at the CMU 25 gave the Yellowjackets the ball again with a short field and Matt Fink converted a 2-yard pass to Damon Bryant to take the lead. After Graceland punted on the first play of the 3rd quarter, Cleave Perryman tied the game on a 71-yard scoring run, a play that accounted for almost half of the Eagles' rushing total for the game. CMU had a one-yard edge (160-159), but did not complete a pass in 10 tries while Fink was 7-of-15 for 52 yards while also rushing seven times for 37 yards. Andrew Gayles carried 27 times for 99 yards for the Yellowjackets while Perryman had 16 carries for 128 yards for the Eagles.
Evangel 38, Peru State 23
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Tommy Meyer ran for 101 yards and a touchdown while Andrew Brimhall threw for 222 yards and two scores to lead 21st-ranked Evangel to a 38-23 victory over Peru State at J.F.K. Stadium. Meyer went over 2,000 rushing yards for his career as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third time this season. Brimhall completed 10-of-18 throws to run his league-leading passing total to 1,978 yards through seven games. A see-saw game swung for the final time to the Crusaders in the third quarter as Otis Brown scored from three yards out to give the Crusaders a 31-23 lead, then Cam Bruffett blocked a field goal and Stephen Swillum returned the loose ball 85 yards with 1:25 left in the third period. Ryan Ludlow led Peru State (3-4, 1-4 HAAC) with 141 yards rushing on 32 carries and a touchdown while Bo Shepard rushed for 93 yards and threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Peru State held the ball for over 40 minutes of the game and held a 33-yard edge in total offense while running 30 additional plays. Denzel Billy led Evangel (4-1 HAAC) on the defensive end with 17 tackles while Curtis Larsen paced Peru State with 14 stops.
Avila vs. Culver-Stockton (postponed)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Due to weather in the Kansas City area, Avila and Culver-Stockton had their game postponed with 8:33 remaining in the 4th quarter with the Eagles holding a 47-29 lead. The game will resume on Sunday, October 14 at 9:00 a.m. at the Zarda Athletic Complex.
Gardner-Webb (N.C.) 30, MidAmerica Nazarene 28
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Lucas Beatty hit Seth Cranfill on a 13-yard scoring pass with 6.4 seconds remaining to allow NCAA Division I-FCS Gardner Webb (N.C.) escape with a 30-28 win over MidAmerica Nazarene at Spangler Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Sean Ransburg converted a 49-yard touchdown run with 13:56 left in the game to give the Pioneers a 28-23 lead. MNU held the lead and started with the ball at its own 1-yard line with 4:51 to play. The Pioneers picked up a pair of first downs, but were held on 4th-and-1 at their own 31 with 1:11 remaining an attempt to run out the clock. The Bulldogs completed a 26-yard pass on first down and scored the game-winning touchdown after a holding penalty pushed Gardner-Webb back to the MNU 13. Gates was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season as he finished with 92 yards on 21 carries. Ransburg rushed 16 times for 100 yards while completing 17-of-29 for 205 yards and three TDs. Austin Conyers led the receiving corps with six catches for 78 yards while Brett Houchen had two of his four catches result in points. Mike McJunkins led the defense with 14 tackles, including a pair for loss.