It's apparent that Spring Valley head football coach Ryan Kapping has high expectations for his players. These high expectations are a telling factor as to why the Cardinals are now 7-0 on the season after sealing another victory on Friday, Sept. 29 against the Altoona Railroaders.
Despite Spring Valley's 35-13 win over the Rails (2-5, 2-4), Kapping described his team's performance as an "ugly game." The Cardinals came out hot scoring on their first drive of the game with a 38-yard pass completion from sophomore quarterback Aaron Borgerding to junior wide receiver Dylan Bosshart, but that was all the scoring Cardinals and Rails fans saw for the entire first half.
The rest of the first half was filled with penalties committed by Altoona and short carries from Spring Valley that couldn't be converted into first downs.
Jaydon Nyeggen helped raise his team's intensity level in the second half of the game. The senior running back scored his first touchdown of the night on a one-yard carry with 4:55 left in the third quarter to give the Cardinals a 14-0 lead, but Spring Valley's defense was unable to put away Altoona. The Rails responded with quarterback Nathan McMahon connecting with Mitchell Adrian for a 49-yard passing touchdown to end the third quarter.
To start the fourth quarter, Nyeggen once again stepped up when his team needed him and completed a 57-yard touchdown run with 10:02 left in the game. Spring Valley's extra point attempt was no good, but Nyeggen would soon widen his team's lead to 28-7 after another touchdown run with seven minutes left on the clock.
Nyeggen finished the game with 175 yards rushing on 26 carries, and credited his linemen for his success in the game. "The line did a really good job of staying low and giving us lanes to run," Nyeggen said. "We don't have a lot of depth in our lineup, so we all have to step up."
Altoona would come back to score one more touchdown after Nyeggen's third of the night, but Dylan Bosshart answered with a 45-yard touchdown run with 1:14 left to play giving the game its final score of 35-13.
"I thought Dylan Bosshart really stepped up and had a nice game," Kapping said of the junior wide receiver who replaced Brendan Williams after Williams twisted his ankle on the first play of the game. Bosshart completed 46 rushing yards on two carries, and caught two of Borgerding's passes for 33 yards. The junior wide receiver and defensive back also contributed three solo tackles.
"The big focus of ours was keeping energy up and just fighting through everything," Bosshart said. "When mistakes happened, we kept our heads up."
Defensively, Kapping thought his team made some nice adjustments after getting beat in the run game early on. "The kids put those adjustments in play, and I thought we did a good job of taking away the things that they wanted to do most."
Jarod Rielly led the team defensively with five tackles, and Santana Schlegel recorded four. Borgerding also contributed 3.5 tackles, proving to be an asset for the team offensively and defensively. Their coverage helped hold Altoona to a total of 112 rushing yards.
But Kapping knows his team still has improvements to make before their next conference game against Glenwood City Hilltoppers (4-3, 2-3).
"I told [the team] to enjoy the fact that we won, but that we have to take a look at the areas where we're not playing great," Kapping said. "Glenwood is a very talented football team; they have a lot of speed at the skill positions.
"We just have to continue to address certain areas where I feel like we may be weak, and come ready to work. I thought we had a good week of practice, but at times we're too up and down, and we have to be consistent with our approach every day."
The Cardinals will face the Hilltoppers at home on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in their second-to-last game of the regular season.