Irlbeck scores three touchdowns and passes for another as Redwood Valley holds off Blue Earth Area

A missed 25-yard field goal attempt with under 30 seconds remaining helped visiting Redwood Valley escape with a 27-26 victory over Blue Earth Area Friday night in a South Central (White) District showdown.

A wild fourth quarter nearly cost the Cardinals (2-0) a victory as a pair of late turnovers (one fumble, one interception) gave Blue Earth Area (0-2) a chance to win the game.

With under a minute to play, the Bucs took advantage of a Cardinal fumble to move the ball to the Redwood Valley 4-yard line with a chance to win the game. The Bucs would lose four yards on third down to put the ball on the eight yard line and from there would attempt a 25-yard field goal that would sail wide left.

The Cardinals – who will host winless Luverne on Friday night – took the early control, as Mitch Irlbeck scampered 48-yards for a touchdown and shortly thereafter hit junior Cole Woodford on a 29-yard touchdown strike to put the visitors up 13-0 in the second quarter.

The Bucs answered back, however, with a pair of touchdowns, and the two teams would head into the break tied at 13. Irlbeck would add two more short touchdown runs in the second half, and Tommy Amberg would hit two key extra points.

The Bucs, meanwhile, also scored twice, but on their final touchdown in the fourth quarter would go for two to take the lead. The Cardinal defense would hold.

Irlbeck would finish with 24 carries for 112 yards and three scores and was 11-of-25 passing for 143 yards and a score. Woodford had five catches for 100 yards and a score, Kyle Huhnerkoch had two catches for 21 yards and Tayte Harazin had two catches for six yards.

Logan Josephson had 14 carries for 51 yards and two catches for 16 yards. Redwood Valley survived despite turning the ball over five times. The Bucs would turn it over four times.

Each team had 18 first downs, and the Bucs outgained the Cards 299-296.

Josephson paced the defense with seven tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Logan Prouty and Spencer Quast each had six tackles, Huhnerkoch added four tackles and an interception, Corbin Wabasha had five tackles and Travis Rebstock and Irlbeck both recovered fumbles.

Redwood Valley 27,  Blue Earth Area 26

First Quarter RV - Irlbeck 48-yard run (Amberg kick) Second Quarter RV - Woodford 29-yard pass from Irlbeck (kick failed) BEA - Thielfoldt 3-yard run (Sanders kick) BEA - Barnett 2-yard run (kick failed) Third Quarter RV - Irlbeck 1-yard run (Amberg kick) BEA - Barnett 35-yard run (Sanders kick) RV - Irlbeck 2-yard run (Amberg kick) Fourth Quarter BEA - Vaske 15-yard pass from Barnett (2-point conversion failed)