Victoria Tops Wheatland-Grinnell, Advances to 8-Man Div. II Semifinals

Victoria beat Wheatland-Grinnell 44-26 in the quarterfinals of the 8-Man Div. II playoffs in Grainfield on Friday, November 13. (Photo courtesy USD 432 Staff.)
Victoria beat Wheatland-Grinnell 44-26 in the quarterfinals of the 8-Man Div. II playoffs in Grainfield on Friday, November 13. (Photo courtesy USD 432 Staff.)

GRAINFIELD-Jayvon Pruitt rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns and Grant Schoenrock ran for three scores and passed for another as the third-ranked Victoria Knights pulled away late for a 44-26 victory over Wheatland-Grinnell Friday night in the 8-Man Division ll Quarterfinals.

The Knights got off to a slow start in the first quarter.  On their opening drive, Victoria drove deep into Thunderhawk territory but back-to-back false start penalties led to a turnover on downs.  On their second possession, Carson Werth fumbled deep in Knight territory but Wheatland-Grinnell was unable to take advantage.

Victoria got on the scoreboard with 5:05 left in the first quarter on Pruitt's 18-yard run and the two-point conversion made the score 8-0 after one quarter.  Schoenrock's first touchdown of the game, a 16-yard run made the score 16-0 with 5:26 left in the second quarter after the successful conversion.  The Thunderhawks then punched in their first tally on a 50-yard run by Issac Mendez who went over 1,500 yards rushing for the season, cutting the Knight advantage to 16-6.

Victoria however responded just before halftime on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Schoenrock to Werth, widening the lead to 24-6 at intermission.

Wheatland-Grinnell scored on their first possession of the second half when Quarterback Trey Vincent connected with Ryan Heier for a 24yard touchdown pass, the conversion was no good and Victoria's lead was 24-12.  The Knights then answered on Pruitt's nine-yard run to lead 30-12 before the Thunderhawks fought back with a 47-yard scoring strike from Vincent to Heier who caught the pass over a leaping Lucas Klein and this time, the two-point conversion was good and the score was 30-20 after three quarters.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Schoenrock scored from three yards out to increase the margin to 36-20 after the two-point play failed.  After Wheatland-Grinnell was victimized by a touchdown called back by a penalty and a short four-yard punt, the Knights appeared poised to take control of the game but Victoria turned the ball over on downs  giving the Thunderhawks some life.  On Victoria's next drive, Pruitt fumbled for the second time and Wheatland-Grinnell's Jett Vincent scooped up the ball and returned it 42 yards for the score but Victoria still led 36-26 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.

The Knights then used a five-play 51-yard drive to slam the door on their next possession with Schoenrock capping it off on a 20-yard run and the two-point conversion provided the final margin of 44-26.  Victoria's defense then put the exclamation point on the victory as Seth Schwien sacked Vincent on back-to-back plays and Schoenrock intercepted a desperation fourth down pass for the only turnover committed all night by the Thunderhawks.

Victoria rushed for 413 yards and registered 447 yards of total offense as they qualified for the State Semifinals for the 10th time in their storied history.  Wheatland-Grinnell (8-3) was playing its first Quarterfinal game one year after making the playoffs for the first time since the two schools combined in 2007.

Victoria (11-0) will play St. Francis (10-0) in the semifinals on Friday at 6 PM in Victoria. St. Francis beat Caldwell 48-0 on Saturday. In the other two quarterfinal games played on Friday, Hanover rolled over Colony-Crest 48-0 and Frankfort won a wild game over Lebo 46-40.

Friday's game in Victoria will be broadcast on KRSL 95.9 and streamed on KRSL.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 PM.