For an instant, there was hope.

Vista Ridge receiver Micah Hilts had caught a pass in the fourth quarter for a first down at the Dakota Ridge 5-yard line. VR’s Wolves had struggled for much of Friday night, but remained within sight. Victory remained possible.

But only for that instant. Host Vista Ridge lost to Dakota Ridge, 24-6, on a long night.

Holding was called on the play, pushing the ball back to the Dakota Ridge 42. And it only got worse. A personal foul eventually pushed the ball all the way back to the Vista Ridge 37.

Soon, Dakota Ridge scored a touchdown, clinched the victory and dropped Vista Ridge to 1-2.

The Wolves did much to hurt themselves. There was a 2-yard punt. And two fumbled punts. And a snap dropped in the end zone for a safety.

It’s been a tough season. Vista Ridge coach Jerimi Calip has missed the past two games because of suspension, and CHSAA announced the Wolves are currently ineligible to compete in state playoffs after a rule violation. Vista Ridge traveled to the state 4A quarterfinals last season.

Mike Vrana served as coach for Friday’s game. On Monday, Calip will return as head man.

“Once we cross these lines, the kids focus on football and it hasn’t really changed our preparation,” Vrana said. “The kids have been great. They’ve come to work every day.

“Sometimes it works out. And sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight, it did not work out.”

Senior captain Micah Hilts provided the highlight of the night, making a tough 13-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that cut Dakota Ridge’s lead to 10-6 and gave the Wolves brief hope.

Hilts declined to use the chaos of the young season as an excuse.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been a distraction,” Hilts said. “We just didn’t come out here and perform tonight. That’s on us as a team.”

The first half was a disaster. Vista Ridge’s offense struggled with dropped snaps and missed long throws.

The one big play, a 25-yard pass from Payton Kaiser to Hilts on fourth down, moved the Wolves to the Dakota Ridge 17-yard line. But Vista Ridge couldn’t take advantage of the completion, missing a field goal.

Otherwise, it was mostly futility.

A blocked punt by Dakota Ridge and a fumbled punt and a fumbled snap by Vista Ridge gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead. That lead was essentially a gift. Dakota Ridge’s offense found little success against Vista Ridge’s rugged defense, led by DeOnte Washington.

Load comments