For just the third time in the 36-game series, the Raven Football team opens their season against Missouri Valley College. This year, the (RV) Ravens host the (12) Vikings in the first Heart Game of the Week at 11 a.m. on O'Malley Field at Larry Wilcox Stadium.
Gates open at 9 a.m. with tickets available online at http://tinyurl.com/BenedictineTickets or at the gate. Single-game tickets this season are $10 for adult general admission, $3 for students (13-18) general admission, $2 for students (5-12) general admission and 5 and under are free. Discounted admission is available for Saturday's game to Atchison residents who present a valid driver's license. The online ticket prices are for the full ticket price. Discounts will only be available at the ticket gate.
Missouri Valley leads the all-time series with Benedictine 20-16 while Raven head coach Larry Wilcox has an overall record of 15-16 against the Vikings since taking over the program in 1979. Since joining the Heart of America Athletic Conference for the 1992 season, the Ravens are 12-13 in Heart with the previous two meetings not counting as a conference game since the two programs play in different Heart divisions.
Saturday's match up features two of the top five active NAIA wins leader. Coach Wilcox ranks second with 268 wins over his time at Benedictine while Missouri Valley head coach Paul Troth ranks fifth with 160 wins in 20 seasons at the NAIA level.
A season ago, the Ravens hit the road for their meeting with the Vikings for a match up in Marshall, Mo., during the third week of the season. Missouri Valley scored 10 unanswered in the second half to hold on for a 16-10 win.
Missouri Valley quarterback Jake Bridges, who is listed as the starter for this year's game on the Missouri Valley two-deep, scrambled for a 12-yard touchdown run that put the Vikings ahead of the Ravens late in the third quarter.
After trailing 6-3 at halftime, the Ravens regained the lead with four minutes left in the third quarter to go up, 10-6 over the Vikings.
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In addition to Bridges, the Vikings leading rusher from last season's match up returns. Kenny Sanford led the Vikings with 130 yards off 29 carries as Missouri Valley rushed for a total of 183 yards.
Defensively for the Ravens, the top returning tackler in the meeting was Chandler Staley who recorded six tackles, including one the Ravens seven tackles for a loss.
Like Staley, the top returning defensive player from last year's meeting for the Vikings also recorded six tackles as Nate Desemone also recorded one of three interceptions for Missouri Valley in the game.
The last time these two teams met in a season-opener, it took three overtimes to setting the final outcome. The Vikings used a 13-point fourth quarter to force overtime before both teams scored a touchdown in the first overtime. After a scoreless second overtime, the Vikings scored in the third overtime to seal the win, 33-27.
The last time these two teams met on O'Malley Field came during the 2015 season when the Vikings made the trip to Atchison for a mid-September meeting with the Ravens. After holding the Ravens to a field goal in the first overtime, the Vikings answered with a touchdown to earn a 34-31 win.
Saturday's meeting will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3 and throughout the Kansas City Market on KSMO. Tom Kautz and Gus Kautz return for another season of serving as the radio broadcast team for Benedictine football on KAIR 93.7 FM in Atchison.