VALLEY CITY (NewsDakota.com)–Timely offense in short-field situations and a stiff defensive presence against the option keyed a 38-13 win by Valley City State over Mayville State at Shelly Ellig Field and Lokken Stadium in Valley City Saturday.
The Vikings limited the Comets to just 140 yards of total offense, while racking up 199 yards rushing and 344 total yards on 24 less snaps than the Comets. Ken Eliacin (Sr., Miami, FL) caught two touchdown passes and four total balls for 127 yards receiving.
The effort was enough to put up a big number on short fields, but it left Viking head football coach Dennis McCulloch less than satisfied, as the Vikings struggled to drive the football and made costly mistakes of their own in the win.
Mayville State’s Dominique Bradley (Jr., Spring Valley, CA) rushed for 103 yards on 26 carries, but was limited to most of his damage up the middle, as the Viking defense cut down the option and pressured the passing game. Comet quarterback Tanner Carpenter (Sr., Pembina, ND) was held to just 7 of 19 passing for 50 yards.
McCulloch said the improvement against the option that the Comets used effectively in their last meeting was evident.
The win allowed the Vikings to even their record at 1-1 after a loss to #8 Morningside College last week. The Comets fell to 0-1 after winning an exhibition over Dakota College last week.
The short field played to the Vikings advantage the entire first quarter. Forcing the Comets to a three-and-out on the game’s initial drive, Valley City State started at the Comet 42, and notched the first points on a 31-yard field goal by Tommy Cortez (So., Haiku, HI).
Mayville State fumbled on their next possession, and the Vikings struck, with Tommy Zinke (Sr., Rolla, ND) hitting Eliacin for the first of his two scoring catches from 33 yards. The Vikings led 10-0 with 8:10 left of the first.
The Viking defense would sack Carpenter for the second time on the next Comet possession for a loss of 13 yards, and the next VCSU possession would begin at the Comet 34. A 26-yard run by Derek Elliot (Jr., Valley City, ND) would spark the drive, and Elliot would cap the drive with a two-yard scamper, building the Viking lead to 17-0.
Bradley then began getting touches on draw plays, and the Comets got their first movement of the chains. A Viking fumble then set the Comets up at the Viking 34, and Carpenter capped a Bradley-led drive with a one-yard plunge, cutting the Viking lead to 17-7 with 6:00 left of the half.
The momentum was short-lived. A Comet onside kick attempt was fielded on a hop by Tyler Kosel (Sr., Edgeley, ND), and with no one left behind the ball, Kosel sprinted 40 yards for a touchdown, pushing the lead back to 17 at 24-7, a mark the Vikings took to halftime.
The second half saw very little of Elliot at the tailback position, as the Vikings went to work on the clock, but Elliot played prominently in the first points of the half. He continued a drive on an 18-yard run out of a fake punt on a fourth-and six, and eventually punted to the Comets later, only to see Comet Rashaad Flanders (So., Miami, FL) attempt to field the ball, and lose it, with the Vikings recovering.
Elliot took the ball into the endzone a play later, pushing the lead to 31-7 with :52 seconds left of the fourth. Zinke then hit Eliacin for his second scoring strike of the day on a 52-yard catch-and-run by the Viking tight end.
The day Eliacin had was a spark that gave McCulloch a smile.
The Comets scored on a 16-yard throw from Carpenter to Dantrelle Horne (Fr., Miami, FL) at the end of the matchup.
The Vikings travel to Dakota State next weekend.
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