ADAIR – Not rain or mud or a lengthy delay could break the focus of the Vian Wolverine football team.
Vian’s Gray Cloud and Javyn Wright combined for nearly 200 yards rushing and five touchdowns as the fourth-ranked Wolverines pounded fifth-ranked Adair, 45-0, in a Class 2A quarterfinal contest Friday night at Gene Winfield Stadium.
Vian (12-1) will face Kingston (12-1) next week as the Wolverines advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2013. The victory avenged last year’s 38-27 loss to Adair. Kingston defeated defending state champion Sperry, 14-7.
“You’re always concerned when you have delays, especially dealing with high school kids,” said Vian coach Gary Willis. “But it helped my nerves knowing they appeared to be focus.”
Vian had taken a 7-0 lead on a 39-yard run by Wright. The Wolverines then took over after a short punt at the Adair 37. That’s when lightning in the area forced the game to be halted in what would eventually be a delay of over an hour.
“This was kinda crazy,” Wright said. “Coach got on us about staying focus in the locker room. We went in with momentum and we came out with momentum.”
The delay and heavy rains took its toll, as field conditions became deplorable — so much so that Vian went away from its normal shotgun formation.
“It fell into our favor,” Wright said. “We were able to run the ball. We went into a power-I. We were able to pound it and then pop a long one.”
Vian took control late in the second quarter when Gray Cloud, who finished with 109 yards rushing, scored on a 21-yard run to make it 15-0.
The Wolverine defense, who held the Warriors to just 29 total yards in the first half and 52 for the game, came up with the big play when Solomon Wright sacked quarterback Nate Ratcliff at the 10. Then a partially blocked punt gave Vian the ball at the Adair 13 with 2:18 remaining.
On fourth and 2, Javyn Wright scored the second of his three touchdowns on a 5-yard run to give Vian a 23-0 lead at halftime.
“I was proud of the way we controlled both sides of the line,” Willis said. “That is our strength. We ran well and we took care of the football. I’ve seen games in conditions like these where both teams fumble the ball eight times.”
A failed onside kick attempt put Vian in great field position to start the second half. It took Vian just three plays to go 48 yards and take a 29-0 lead on a 34-yard run by Wright.
Vian’s next possession was much of the same. The defense forced a stop on fourth down and the offense took over at the Warrior 40. Three plays later, Cloud outran the Adair defense on his way to a 34-yard run to make it 37-0 with 8:16 to go in the third.
“We have three or four backs that can run the ball,” Willis said. “They all do a good job blocking for each other. I’m sure the conditions were more harmful to Adair’s passing but it didn’t slow down our run game.”
Adair averaged just 17 yards on five punts. Vian was able to block one midway through the third quarter and Will Lyons picked it up and ran it in to give the Wolverines a 45-0 lead.
That was all the damage the Vian starters would do as reserves finished the final 16 minutes. Adair was able to move to the Vian 19 early in the fourth quarter, but losses of 14 and six yards quickly force a punt. Vian would keep the ball the final 9:43 of the game.
VIAN 45, ADAIR 0
Score by quarters
Vian 7 16 22 0 – 45
Adair 0 0 0 0 – 0
VIA – Javyn Wright 39 run (Elijah Mendoza kick) 8:29
VIA – Gray Cloud 21 run (Cloud run) 3:38
VIA – J. Wright 5 run (Elijah Wright run) 0:44
VIA – J. Wright 34 run (run failed) 10:54
VIA – Cloud 34 run (J. Wright run) 8:16
VIA – Will Lyons 5 blocked punt return (J. Wright pass to Gunnar Griffith) 5:56
First downs 12 5
Rushes-yards 41-273 30-25
Passing yards 0 27
Passes 0-1-0 4-13-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Punts-average 2-26 5-17
Penalties-yards 7-55 0-0
Rushing: Vian, Gray Cloud 11-109 2TD, Javyn Wright 10-84 3TD; Adair, Jacob Lappe 10-20.
Passing: Vian, Javyn Wright 0-1-0 0; Adair, Nate Ratcliff 4-13-0 22.
Receiving: Vian, none; Adair, Garrett Long 1-15.