Rider picks up first win as BVNW downs BVW, 35-28

The varsity football program picked up their first win under head coach Clint Rider, beating Blue Valley West 35-28 in a road game at the DAC Friday Sept. 15.

BVNW celebrates their first win of the season by dousing head coach Clint Rider with water at the DAC Sept. 15.

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-Chief

Early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s EKL contest between Blue Valley Northwest and Blue Valley West, the Huskies found themselves in a hole. Despite leading BVW 21-14 after three quarters of play Friday night, the Huskies found themselves trailing 28-21 after a fumble by sophomore running back Edward Thomas and an interception by senior quarterback Payton Hartman led to two BVW touchdown drives.

On the ensuing Northwest offensive series, Hartman found senior tight end Jackson Heath for a 38 yard touchdown pass, his second receiving touchdown of the season. Heath said the route he ran was something the Huskies saw developing early in the night.

“We had been running the hitch all game and noticed they were biting on it, so we just set it up and we kept running it,” Heath, who finished the night with seven receptions for 76 yards and the game-tying touchdown, said.

We had some guys like Garrett Parks [who were] lights out tonight, just unbelievable.”

— Clint Rider

Hartman said his ability to make throws such as that is due in large part to his 6-foot-5, 215 pound tight end.

“I am confident with that route and throwing to Jackson,” Hartman said.

After Heath’s momentum-changing grab, the Huskies defense was able to force a BVW punt and get the ball back into the hands of Hartman and the offense with just under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Head coach Clint Rider said the ability of the Huskies defense to swarm to the ball lead to them forcing three turnovers, and having success late in the game.

“Both defenses made some adjustments and they kind of figured out some tendencies of what the offense likes to do,” Rider said. “We had some guys like Garrett Parks [who were] lights out tonight, just unbelievable.”

With 2:17 left in the fourth quarter, freshman wide receiver J. Michael Sturdivant caught his first career touchdown pass, a game-winning 17 yard reception which gave the Huskies a 35-28 lead.

Hartman finished his night going 21/41, with 229 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The senior quarterback also added a one yard touchdown run on the night. Rider said he thought Hartman’s execution of the offense has improved greatly from week-to-week this season.

“We’re just getting more comfortable in the system,” Rider said, “and I think everybody’s kind of got a better idea so we’re on the same page a little bit more.”

“There were only a few times tonight where maybe the quarterback went one way, [and the rest of the offense] didn’t. I thought Payton did a good job leading the offense.”

The first two offensive series for the Jaguars took little time off the scoreboard before tying the game at 7-7, and giving BVW a 14-7 lead on two quarterback rushing scampers. Rider said the athletic ability of Blue Valley West quarterback Keaton Goodale was a large factor in the problems the Huskies defense faced all night.  

“We had to stay at home and their quarterback is so mobile, so nimble that he could leak out of the back side,” Rider said. “We shored up some things and had guys come on the back side and make some really tough tackles.”

Thomas rushed for two one yard touchdowns on the night, increasing his touchdown total on the season to four.

With the win, the Huskies improve to 1-2 on the season. Blue Valley Northwest will take on St. James Academy Friday Sept. 22 at the DAC in their next game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.