At one point in the second quarter, the Pittsburg-Blue Valley game seemed like it was headed for a shootout. Over a 12-second period, Pittsburg and Blue Valley exchanged 70-yard touchdown runs — Pittsburg senior quarterback Riley Cunningham busted his 70-yarder straight up the heart of the Blue Valley defense and Tigers running back Montana Brady took his only carry down the right sideline for a score, extending the Blue Valley lead to 28-14 with 5:49 remaining before halftime. Blue Valley running back Chance Nelson, who scored the game's first touchdown only 51 seconds in, closed out the scoring with a 13-yard run at the 2:34 mark of the fourth, giving Blue Valley a 35-14 win in Class 5A, District 4 action Friday night at Hutchinson Field. “Our kids' effort, once again, it was a loss but our kids' effort was phenomenal,” Pittsburg head coach Tom Nickelson said. “We had guys step up who haven't had much time and they battled a helluva team. Blue Valley's a good team . . . I'm proud of our kids. There was a lot of extracurricular going on and I felt our kids rose above a lot of that stuff tonight. Nobody can question their effort. I'm damn proud of this team.” For the second consecutive season, Blue Valley knocked a Pittsburg senior quarterback out of the game. Two carries after his 70-yard TD run, Cunningham took a shot at the Blue Valley 16 and walked off the field never to return Friday night. “I don't know, I haven't done anything with him yet . . . he's injured,” Nickelson said. “Riley doesn't stay down if he's not hurt.” Cunningham gashed Blue Valley for a 54-yard run on the first Purple Dragon play from scrimmage and scored on a 1-yard TD run in addition to his 70-yarder. He totaled 146 yards rushing on 10 carries and his absence reading the defense on running plays hurt the Pittsburg offense. “He was playing well,” Nickelson said. “He was playing well, just like Riley's been playing for us all year. He was playing a great game but if Riley Cunningham lays on the field, he's hurt. We don't know exactly what's wrong but Riley doesn't lay down for anything. He's dinged up.” The Blue Valley defense also managed to keep the explosive Alex Barnes out of the end zone and No. 34 finished with 125 yards on 21 carries. Barnes took his first carry after halftime for 35 yards and his first four post-halftime for 59 yards but the Tigers contained him for 15 yards on his last five. Blue Valley also intercepted Pittsburg quarterbacks Cunningham and Spencer Turnbull four times. Meanwhile, Blue Valley quarterback Logan Brettell threw for a pair of first-half touchdowns, connecting with Mikey Henson from 5 yards and Alec O'Connell from 14 yards, as the Tigers capitalized on size mismatches on the edge like the 6-foot-3 Henson against the 5-foot-8 Ethan Paul-Davis. Nelson also fumbled a potential touchdown run away on the third Blue Valley possession of the game, right after Pittsburg marched 56 yards in 5 plays for its first score. The Blue Valley faithful thought Nelson crossed the plain for a TD and Pittsburg fans thought Paul-Davis recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback . . . and the officials ruled a touchback. Nelson led the Blue Valley attack with 208 yards rushing and two scores on 25 carries, 127 yards coming in the first 24 minutes. No. 15 also set up his first score with a 60-yard kickoff return on the opening kick — Pittsburg kicker Danilo Pinheiro made a TD-saving tackle on Nelson. Pittsburg (6-2, 0-2 District 4), undefeated Southeast Kansas League champions, wraps up its season next week at Hutchinson Field with Blue Valley Southwest, one more chance for a win for seniors Cunningham, Blake Brinegar, K.J. Shaw, Leigh Brantley, Paul-Davis, Pinheiro, Dylan Brizzee, Zach Stewart, Harley Burch and Calvin Thyer. “We'll prepare for it and I won't question this team's heart or effort,” Nickelson said. “They'll come out ready to play.”