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Hidden Valley stuns Cascade Christian

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If history has shown us anything, it’s that it was going to take a pretty special effort to knock off Cascade Christian in a conference football clash.

On Friday, Hidden Valley came up with just that on a crisp fall night at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The top-ranked Mustangs forced three turnovers and managed a 21-0 surge during a six-minute span to close out the third quarter, and the No. 3 Challengers’ hopes to boot, to secure a 42-14 triumph in a clash of Class 3A District 2 South undefeated teams.

Cascade Christian’s loss was the first-ever in league in the 10-year tenure of head coach Jon Gettman, whose team trailed only 14-7 midway through the third quarter when Hidden Valley (5-0, 1-0 Dist. 2) turned the game on its ear.

“Hidden Valley is the team,” said Gettman. “Athletically and execution-wise they absolutely beat us in every area. They’re the team to beat.”

For the Mustangs (5-0, 1-0 Dist. 2), the magnitude of Friday’s huge win was not lost on the players as they leaped into each other’s arms after the post-game handshake to celebrate their historic moment.

“It’s a huge win,” said Hidden Valley junior Tobias Powers. “We just played with heart and fight and we just took the game over. It was a great game by everybody.”

And, boy, how true that was for the Mustangs.

The aptly named Powers was an undeniable force, racing to three touchdown runs and 173 yards on 25 carries to propel a ground game that managed 213 yards. That effort help complement junior quarterback Sam Vidlak, whose quick strikes and occasional deep passes amounted to 216 yards through the air with one TD and one interception by Elijah Smith.

Overall, the Challengers (4-1, 0-1) were outgained by 220 yards on offense (429-209).

“They were expecting our pass, which we’ve been scoring and doing really well with, but they were not expecting our pro-formation and that we could run on them,” said Powers. “It’s the franchise blocking, just great guys on the line. If we didn’t have them, the score would’ve been completely different.”

Kiegan Schaan’s 7-yard touchdown late in the second quarter seemed to give the Challengers momentum heading into halftime down only 14-7 despite a host of dropped passes and missed opportunities.

Smith’s interception then allowed Cascade Christian to take over near midfield early in the third quarter, but the ensuing drive stalled at Hidden Valley’s 28-yard line before Mustangs senior Nathan Bragg stepped in front of a pass for the first of what would become three straight turnovers by the Challengers.

“We had our opportunities and just never capitalized on the opportunities that we had,” said Gettman. “That pick in the second half on our second drive really kind of killed the momentum and then they went and seized it. They capitalized on the momentum that they got and we didn’t.”

Powers capped the ensuing 47-yard drive with a 23-yard TD run and, on the third play following the kickoff, Bragg again found the ball in his waiting hands for another interception after Matthew Iwamizu tipped a screen pass attempt by Schaan.

Three plays later after taking over at the Challengers’ 23, Powers again used a blend of speed and power to score from 15 yards out to make it 28-7 seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Things went from bad to worse seconds later when Smith had the football dislodged on a kick return and the Mustangs were in the right place at the right time to pounce on the fumble.

On the next play, Vidlak lofted a 23-yard TD pass to 6-foot-4 junior Lawrence Matusik to give Hidden Valley full control at 35-7 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter. Matusik finished with five catches for 103 yards.

“You can’t turn the ball over,” said Gettman. “When you do that it really takes a game and it gets it out of hand in a hurry.”

Schaan added a 9-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, but the damage had already been done.

“We just kept making mistakes and it kept taking the life out of our team, out of our offense and defense,” said Schaan, who ran for 33 yards and was limited to 7-for-19 passing for 77 yards. “That’s just on me. We had missed opportunities and just shot ourselves in the foot. I threw those two interceptions and that kind of took life out of our drives.”

Smith led his team with 85 yards rushing on 16 carries, caught three passes for 15 yards and joined Titus Miller in posting six tackles.

Definitely disappointed after Friday’s showing, the Challengers vowed to come back with a renewed vigor for the second half of their schedule.

“We’ve just got to come and work harder,” said Schaan, who guided Cascade Christian to the state championship game one year ago and posted a team-high 11 tackles against the Mustangs. “We’ve got to hit the weight room harder, hit practice harder and execute better. This is Week 5 so we’ve got a long way to go. I’m looking forward to next week.”

Even Gettman wasn’t willing to make too much out of Friday’s outcome beyond the fact that it served as a great training ground.

“You need adversity throughout the season, that’s how you’re going to grow,” said the coach. “You’ve got to play great teams like them and find out where you are. We’ll find out Monday how much we want it when we get back to work.”

Hidden Valley77217—42

Cascade Christian0707—14

HV — Noble 4 run (S. Vidlak kick)

HV — Powers 4 run (S. Vidlak kick)

CC — Schaan 7 run (Knobloch-Scott kick)

HV — Powers 23 run (S. Vidlak kick)

HV — Powers 15 run (S. Vidlak kick)

HV — Matusik 23 pass from S. Vidlak (S. Vidlak kick)

CC — Schaan 9 run (Knobloch-Scott kick)

HV — Noble 1 run (S. Vidlak kick)

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Cascade quarterback Kiegan Schaan scores a touchdown in the first half against Hidden Valley. Photo by Denise Baratta
Elijah Smith, (9), looks to out run a pack of Hidden Valley defenders. Photo by Denise Baratta