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Vikes end 3-game skid

November 03, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

HOLTVILLE — After three consecutive losses, the Holtville High football team got just what it needed with a 30-14 win over Mountain Empire here Friday.

"We were much improved," said Viking coach Jim Sturgeon. "I'm really proud of our kids. Jon (Singh) came back (as) quarterback and did a good job. The backs ran well and we did the things we had to do to win the ball game."

The Vikings (5-4 overall, 1-2 Desert Mountain League) utilized an attacking defense and a powerful running game to claim the victory. Frank Lopez led the offense with 197 yards on 24 carries. Jared Brady added 78 yards on 16 attempts.

Holtville jumped on top early in the first quarter when Brady scored from one yard out. With Lopez's two-point conversion, Holtville led 8-0.

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The Vikings quickly scored again. After Mountain Empire drove into Holtville territory, the swarming Viking defense forced a fumble and J.B. Borchard returned the ball 95 yards for what seemed to be a touchdown. The score was called back due to a Holtville clip, but it didn't take long for the Vikings to get back in the end zone.

Despite the penalty Holtville retained possession of the ball and set up shop at their own 33. On the first play from scrimmage, Lopez rumbled 34 yards into Mountain Empire territory. On the next play Lopez took the ball the final 33 yards in to the end zone. Singh took in the two-point conversion and Holtville led 16-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter.

The Viking defense continued to dominate Mountain Empire, but the Holtville offense stalled for the rest of the first half. The Vikings had the ball with just over a minute left in the half when Singh was intercepted by the Redhawks Patrick Carroll. The play gave Mountain Empire the ball at the Holtville 24 with a minute left in the half.

The Viking defense held tough, but on a third-and-three Redhawk quarterback Andrew Tucker hit Mathew Thompson for a 10-yard gain to the Holtville seven.

The Viking defense stood strong for two more plays, but on third down Tucker, who was pressed into service when starting quarterback Erick Helvie was knocked out of the game in the first quarter, skipped a pass to Carroll in the end zone. One official called the pass, which appeared to have touched the ground, incomplete. Another official said it was a touchdown. It was the latter official's call that stood and with two-point conversion run by Jesse Perez, Mountain Empire had cut Holtville's lead to 16-8.

With two seconds on the clock the Redhawks kicked off to Lopez who promptly returned the kick 70 yards for a Viking score. Holtville's two-point conversion failed and the Vikings took a 22-8 lead at the break.

The Redhawks took the kick to start the second half and marched 61 yards for a score. Tucker hit Kyle Keeran for a 14-yard touchdown, but Mountain Empire missed the two-point conversion attempt and trailed 22-14 with seven minutes left in the third. It would be the final time the Redhawks would see the end zone.

"We made some real good adjustments at halftime," said Sturgeon, who's team dominated the second half.

The Vikings mounted two time-consuming drives that ate up most of the third and fourth quarters. One drive ended in a punt while the other was a 72-yard trip down the field that Lopez capped with a 13-yard touchdown run on the option pitch from Singh.

Lopez kept that drive alive when he took the pitch on a third-and-eight and after almost being tackled in the backfield by a host of Redhawk defenders he spun off and rumbled 18 yards for a first down. Lopez added the two-point conversion after his score and Holtville led 30-14 for good.

"I'm really proud of the kids," said Sturgeon. "We needed to get back on the winning trail."

The Vikings will next face Imperial in the Imperial Valley Classic at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Holtville. It is a game that Sturgeon says his team needs to win as they look toward the playoffs.

"We'd love to have a better record right now," he said. "We've had a couple of games we thought we could have won, but that's not the way it worked out.

"We have a lot of things to cover defensively. We know Imperial will … play their hearts out. We know Mike (Swearingen) will do a good job and we'll just see where we are after that game. We'd like to really do well in the playoffs."

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