By Staff for

            LINDSBORG – In an evenly fought battle on Friday, the Smoky Valley football team opened their 2022 season with a heart-breaking late game loss to Halstead 42-40.

            After neither team put points on the board in the first quarter, the Vikings traded scores with Halstead in the second stanza with the visitors putting points on the board first before Karson Pihl scored on a 14-yard run with just over five minutes left in the first half. After Pihl completed a two-point conversion pass to Braxton House to give Smoky Valley an early 8-6 lead.

            Halstead came right back with a long drive for a score, but the Vikings countered with a scoring pass from Pihl to Vincent Pickering with just 1:19 left in the half to take a four-point 16-12 advantage into the break.

            Late in the third quarter Kade Blanchat ran in from four yards out and then followed up with a run for the two-point conversion to give the Vikings a 12-point, 24-12 lead with four minutes to go in the stanza. Halstead hurried back though a scored on a 19-yard pass play to pull back within four at 24-20.

            After Smoky Valley moved out to another 12-point advantage on a dazzling 40-yard run touchdown run by Justice Autry, Halstead rattled off three straight scoring drives and suddenly had a 10-point, 42-32 lead over the Vikings with a hair under three minutes to go in the game.

            Smoky Valley put together one more offensive drive that was finished off with a nine-yard pass from Pihl to Blanchat to pull back within two but could not get the ball back again and took the heartbreaking two-point loss.

            As close as the game was on the scoreboard, it was equally as close in the stat numbers as Smoky Valley ran 60 plays for 421 yards while Halstead ran off 59 plays good for 438 plays. While Halstead had more passing yards, 169-97, the Vikings out rushed the Dragons 324 to 269 with both teams having one turnover.

            For the Vikings, Justice Autry had a huge game running the ball as he covered 157 yards on 18 carries while Kade Blanchat had 11 totes good for 73 yards and Trystan Stambaugh added 70 yards rushing on a dozen attempts.

            On the defensive side of the action, Caleb Gustus topped the Vikings with 11 tackles including one for a loss of yardage while Ethan Able recorded 8.5 tackles and both Max Bieker and Nolan Dauer accounted for six stops. Justin Holt made a pair of tackles for losses.

            Next up for the Vikings will be their first road trip of the season on Friday, September 9 when they go south to battle with Haven.


SCORING:     1          2          3          4          FINAL

Halstead         0          12        8          22        42                   

VIKINGS           0          16        8          16        40                   

(Team, Player/Scoring Play, Extra Point Attempt, Overall Score)


No Scoring


Halstead (9:43) Scored on a 3-yard run (Kick no good) 6-0

VIKINGS (5:13) Karson Pihl scored on a 14-yard run (2-Point Conversion Karson Pihl pass to Braxton House) 6-8

Halstead (3:25) Scored on a 1-yard run (2-Point Conversion Failed) 12-8

VIKINGS (1:19) Vincent Pickering scored on a 19-yard pass from Karson Pihl (2-Point Conversion run by Kade Blanchat) 12-16


VIKINGS (4:21) Kade Blanchat scored on a 4-yard run (2-Point Conversion run by Kade Blanchat) 12-24

Halstead (:28) Scored on a 19-yard pass play (2-Point Conversion Run is Good) 20-24


VIKINGS (11:52) Justice Autry scored on a 40-yard run (2-Point Conversion run by Karson Pihl) 20-32

Halstead (10:11) Scored on a 7-yard run (2-Point Conversion Run is Good) 28-32

Halstead (7:12) Scored on an 8-yard run (Kick was Good) 35-32

Halstead (2:58) Scored on a 32-yard pass play (Kick was Good) 42-32

VIKINGS (1:41) Kade Blanchat scored on a 9-yard pass from Karson Pihl (2-Point Conversion run by Karson Pihl) 42-40

TEAM STATISTICS:                         Halstead         VIKINGS          

1ST Down                                             22                    25                   

Total Offense (Plays-Yds)                   59-438             60-421            

Passing (Comp/Atts-Yds-Tds-Int)       8/13-169-2-1   6/10-97-2-0    

Rushing (Atts-Yds)                              46-269             50-324

Turnovers (Total-Fumbles-Int)           1-0-1                1-1-0   

Penalties (#-Yds)                                 5-40                 4-45    

Time of Possession                             26:48               21:12  


Passing (Comp/Atts-Yds-Tds-Int): Karson Pihl 6/10-97-2-0.

Rushing (Atts-Yds-Tds): Justice Autry 18-157-1; Kade Blanchat 11-73-1; Trystan Stambaugh 12-70-0; Karson Pihl 8-24-1.

Receiving (Rec-Yds-Tds): Kade Blanchat 2-39-1; Vincent Pickering 2-30-1; Justice Autry 1-14-0; Braxton House 1-14-0.

Defense (Tackles-Solo-Assisted-Sacks-TFL): Caleb Gustus 11-4-14-0-1; Ethan Able 8.5-4-9-0-0; Max Bieker 6-4-4-0-0; Nolan Dauer 6-4-4-0-0; Kade Blanchat 5-3-4-0-0; Justin Holt 4-1-6-0-2; Trystan Stambaugh 3-1-4-0-0; Gus Griffith 2.5-1-3-0-0; Braxton House 2-0-4-0-0; Alex Grosland 2-0-4-0-0; Gavin Stambaugh 1.5-0-3-0-0; Vincent Pickering 1.5-0-3-0-0; Richard Zeller 1.0-1-0-0; Evan Roberts 1-1-0-0; Ezekiel Baker .5-0-1-0-0; Giovanni Luis .5-0-1-0-0.

(The Staff covering McPherson County Activities can be reached by email at