Special teams lead Sno-Valley JV Vikings over Skyline

A complete football game consists of three key elements. Offense

and defense get the press, but the subtleties of special-team play can

often make the difference in a contest.

That difference loomed large in the Sno-Valley JV Viking 24-0

drubbing of the Skyline Spartans last Saturday. The Vikings were able to

dominate field position, benefiting from booming kickoffs by Dusty Hensley,

stellar punting by Chet Schroeter, and excellent pursuit of the kicking and

punting coverage teams. With a half field cushion, the defense was able to

pin their ears back and play aggressively. The offense also enjoyed playing on

a short field, which allowed the showcasing of its explosive running game.

The Vikings took the initial kickoff near their 30-yard line. Unable

to move the ball, they turned to Schroeter, who booted the ball

into Spartan territory.

The Vikings took back the ball on downs near midfield and again

sputtered. Another excellent punt drove the Spartans inside their own 30.

Again the Spartans were stopped cold, thanks to tough interior defense of

tackles Tyler England and Jason Sprinkle and ends Michael Killian and

Brandon Reaves.

Although the Vikings could not get a first down, the ball was

inching steadily towards the Skyline end zone. Another exchange of downs gave

the Vikings the ball at the Spartan 23. The Vikings were finally able to get a

first down, behind the running of backs Joe Cruz and Adam Rothgeb. With a

little over a minute to play in the half, quarterback Schroeter busted up the

middle for the score and a 6-0 lead.

The Vikings were then able to use another of their secret weapons,

the mighty leg of Hensley, to pin the Spartans at their 25. A miscue on the

ensuing handoff rewarded a hard-charging Killian with a fumble recovery and

the Vikings were back in business at 15. A burst by Rothgeb for 13 yards

was followed by a well-conceived "up-the-gut" by back Anthony Vasquez

for another score and halftime lead of 12-0.

Hensley opened the second half with another 45-yard kickoff.

The Spartans then tested the mettle of the Vikings' outside defense and found

the going just as tough, with linebackers Tylor Littlejohn and Zach

Sumner and cornerback Aaron Gasciogne who stuffed each attempt.

The Vikings took over after a punt at the Spartan 44. Cruz took the

ball 22 yards up the middle and two plays later Rothgeb broke loose for a

20-yard touchdown, and the Vikings had their largest lead of the season at


Another terrific kickoff by Hensley, gave the Spartans the ball

at their 30. The defense again mauled the Spartans and the Vikings took the

ball at the 31. Wasting no time, Rothgeb snaked his way to the end zone to

complete the scoring at 24-0 as the third quarter wound to a close.

The Spartans finally got a first down on the next series of downs,

but could not sustain the drive, handing the ball to the Vikings near

midfield. Coach Ken Hudson was able to try some new faces at the skill

position, putting Kyle Green into the backfield. Green ran the ball with authority,

perhaps giving a harbinger of things to come next season.

The Vikings complete their "second season" next Saturday with

the location and opponent to be announced. With their best game of

the season under their belts, look for another fine performance next week

to send this great group of athletes into the winter looking for better things

to come next season.

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