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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Jefferson was anxious to see if 2016 would be a year of reconstruction or merely a reload.
Against an experienced Pleasant Valley team, the J-Hawks learned they have a ways to go.
Pleasant Valley senior quarterback Terry Saul ran for 115 yards, including first-half touchdown runs of six and 56 yards, as the visiting Spartans blasted Jefferson, 31-7, in a Class 4A non-district football opener last night at Kingston Stadium.
“We didn’t execute at a high level,” Jefferson Coach Brian Webb said. “Whether that was the game plan, whether it was whatever. Football is about execution and we didn’t execute at a high enough level to beat a team like Pleasant Valley.”
Last season, the J-Hawks averaged 50 points per game in their seven victories and qualified for the playoffs for the second year in a row. Graduation dealt blows throughout the varsity unit and it showed as Jefferson managed just seven points last night.
“I like our team,” Webb said. “We’ve just got to get better.”
Junior Noah Vawter made his first start at quarterback for the J-Hawks, while senior Dylan Hart took over after two ineffective drives.
By contrast, the first two possessions of the game ended with scores for Saul, the second on 3rd-and-10 from his 44 on the first play of the second quarter.
“I think we kind of wore them down a little bit with our option attack,” Pleasant Valley Coach Rusty Van Wetzinga said.
Pleasant Valley tailback Arthur Braden ran for a game-high 165 yards, including a 38-yard score that put the game out of reach at 24-0 midway through the third quarter.
“They did a great job,” Van Wetzinga said of Saul and Braden. “They’ve got a lot of tools. They’ve got some speed, they’ve got some agility out in the open field and they’re tough. They run hard. They’ve positioned themselves to have great years this year.”
Hart threw for 100 yards and twice drove the J-Hawks deep into Pleasant Valley territory, only to be intercepted both times by DaJour Lester.
A four-yard TD by Vawter in the closing seconds avoided a shutout.
AT KINGSTON STADIUM
Pleasant Valley 7 10 7 7 — 31
Cedar Rapids Jefferson 0 0 0 7 — 7
PV — Terry Saul 6 run (Camden Glenn kick)
PV — Saul 56 run (Glenn kick)
PV — Glenn FG 25
PV — Arthur Braden 38 run (Glenn kick)
PV — Dermot Weldon 47 run (Glenn kick)
CRJ — Noah Vawter 4 run (kick good)
RUSHING - Pleasant Valley: Arthur Braden 23-165, CJ Carter 3-16, Terry Saul 21-115, Dermot Weldon 2-51, Will Mask 1-4, Michael Meyer 1-0; Cedar Rapids Jefferson: Tavian Rashed 11-39, Noah Vawter 5-28, Dylan Hart 7-9, Tyler Unkel 1-4, Keenan Stewart 1-11, Matthew Moore 2-41, Joshua Furrow 2-5, Rhett Thompson 1-2, Brody McShane 1-3.
PASSING — Pleasant Valley: Terry Saul 5-12-0-53; Cedar Rapids Jefferson: Noah Vawter 2-6-0-21, Dylan Hart 7-12-2-100.
RECEIVING — Pleasant Valley: Arthur Braden 1-6, Carter Christisen 1-16, Nick Jordahl 1-12, Nick Acri 1-9, Dakota Snyder 1-10; Cedar Rapids Jefferson: Tavian Rashed 2-8, Devonte Taylor 2-71, Tyler Unkel 1-4, Keenan Stewart 1-8, Dylan Hart 1-13, Joshua Furrow 2-17.
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