Unity Christian and Whitehall both were dominant within their respective conferences a year ago, and expected to be strong contenders again this fall. As a result, this was going to be a great week one test for both school. After going back and forth for the first half, the Vikings took over in the second half to win 54-26.

In the first quarter, Unity Christian started the scoring with a 32-yard run by Mitch Tibbe. This was followed by a 2-point conversion on a throw from Tibbe to Nolan Vis. After a few failed drives, Whitehall’s Kyle Stratton found Trannon Aylor for a beautiful 60-yard scoring play. After a successful extra point by Landon Howe, the Crusaders still had the lead 8-7. This margin would grow larger when Tibbe once again ran it into the end zone from eight yards out. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, resulting in only six points from the drive.

After a thrilling first quarter start, the second quarter was even more jam-packed with offense, as 32 points were put on the scoreboard between the schools. The Vikings were first on the board with a 10-yard run by Jaiden Altgilbers, followed by a successful extra point by Howe. Unity responded quickly with a touchdown of their own as Dylan DeHoop ran it to the house with a 51-yard sprint. After another failed two-point conversion, the score sat at 20-14. Unity and Whitehall continued to go back and forth with trips to the endzone throughout the rest of the quarter. Stratton and Aylor found the end zone with a 31-yard pass. Tibbe connected with Carter Bylsma to respond for Unity. Whitehall was able to answer with Stratton’s third touchdown of the night to close out the first half to give the Vikings a 27-26 edge.

Coming out of the locker room, Whitehall found a way to shut down Unity’s offense, keeping them off the board for the rest of the game. Whitehall was still able to score, relying on their ground game. First, Stratton took the ball for a 51-yard touchdown run. Later in the quarter, Malcolm Earvin ran free for a 34-yard touchdown. The third quarter ended with Whitehall ahead 41-26.

In the final quarter, Tibbe was intercepted by Stratton, who returned it for a touchdown. The final scoring play of the game came from the five yards out, when Jackson Cook took it in for Whitehall.

The Vikings were led by a powerful duo of Kyle Stratton and Trannon Aylor, who connected three separate times in the end zone. Stratton ended the game with a total of 222 yards on a 7/12 passing effort. Nate Bolley carried the ball seven times for 110 yards.

Mitch Tibbe led the Crusaders in both passing and rushing yards. He threw the ball nine times, only completing one for a total of 86 yards. Tibbe carried the ball 13 times for 139 yards, ending the game with three touchdowns.

Next Thursday, Unity Christian will look to rebound as they travel to St. Joseph. Whitehall will look to continue their perfect season against Hastings, who also won their week one matchup.