EUFAULA — The Eufaula Ironheads opened their regular season schedule at Paul Bell Stadium Friday night looking to avenge last year’s week 0 loss to Vian, but the top 10-ranked Wolverines came out on top 14-2 in a defensive battle.
The fireworks started early when Elijah Wright returned the opening kickoff 81 yards for a Vian score. That touchdown would be the only scoring in the first half with both defenses dominating play.
Vian held the Ironheads to 35 yards of offense in the opening half. Eufaula kept the power running Wolverines to 56 first-half yards.
On the very first play of the second half, Vian forced a fumble by Noah Alexander at the Eufaula 30 but the scoring threat ended with a missed 35-yard field goal attempt by Elizah Mendoza.
Near the end of the third quarter with Vian’s back near its own endzone, the Ironhead defense again came into play when it forced a bad snap that resulted in Mendoza downing the ball in the end zone for a safety.
With 2:49 remaining in the contest, Javyn Wright ended a Wolverines drive with a 10-yard scamper into the endzone for a 14-2 Vian lead.
On the final Ironheads drive, Joe Glass intercepted a Jacob Fitzer pass on second down to end Eufaula’s final threat with 2:16 left on the clock.
“Tough game, sloppy at times,” said Vian coach Gary Willis. "We challenged them at halftime there’s times we weren’t proud of the effort. That isn’t Vian football.
“Eufaula is a tough, a tough place to play. Were proud of our guys the way they responded.”
Eufaula coach Larry Newton had a reason for his team’s performance, but no excuses.
“We had several kids sick this week and it showed. They didn’t get any reps in – that’s not an excuse. They just lined up and played defense," Newton said.
“We knew it coming in. It was defensive struggle both ways. You find out what your kids are made of after it all.”
The Wolverines will remain on the road next week to take on 3A Lincoln Christian. Eufaula will travel to Holdenville to take on another team of Wolverines.