Just when a stalemate seemed inevitable in Bolivar High School’s game against Hannibal Friday, Sept. 13, opportunity struck.
A snap to Hannibal’s punter was delivered high, soaring over his hands and into the end zone. Bolivar’s Payton Vahle ran past the scrum, leaping onto the ball to give Bolivar the first touchdown of the night with 6:30 left in the first half.
The Liberators finished with a 25-0 win over Hannibal. Bolivar is now 3-0 on the season.
Following the score, Bolivar kicker Alex Maldonado’s extra point attempt fell incomplete, but Hannibal was hit with a penalty on the play, and Bolivar lined up its offense for the next snap.
Running back Eathen Dinwiddie gave the Liberators 2 points, darting into the end zone for the conversion to put Bolivar up 8-0.
Neither team had shown defensive cracks until Vahle’s score, with a series of first down drives by both offenses going nowhere in the first quarter.
Bolivar quarterback Hayden Burks made completions to Bo Banner and Blade Hancock throughout the game’s early minutes, but the Liberators were kept out of the end zone.
Burks was later intercepted on a play in the first quarter, but Bolivar recovered the ball on a subsequent fumble.
The teams continued to take risks, with both seeing turnovers on downs as the game neared halftime.
After the half, a series of possession changes saw the Liberators come within range of a second touchdown.
With 4:30 left in the third quarter, Dinwiddie charged through to put the Liberators in scoring position. A Burks pass to Hancock sealed the touchdown, and with 4:20 left in the third, Bolivar had a 15-0 lead.
Maldonado struck in the fourth for Bolivar, putting a kick through the uprights to set the advantage at 18-0.
The Liberators extended their lead again, this time with Burks throwing deep to Parker Erickson. Dinwiddie surged into the end zone on the next play, giving Bolivar a 25-0 lead with 5:45 left in the game, which the Liberators maintained until the final whistle.
Bolivar next faces Marshall at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in Marshall.