After being upset at home by Graceland a year ago, the head coach of the third-ranked Missouri Valley College football team was understandably concerned about the rematch. However, the Vikings eased his mind with a 48-15 blowout Heart of America Conference win Saturday at Lamoni, Iowa.
Valley scored on its first snap from center, a 55-yard bomb from sophomore Chris White to senior speedster Javion Jones, and never looked back -- rolling to leads of 31-0 at halftime and 41-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
A blocked punt by junior Courtavious Anderson deep in Yellowjackets' territory set up a 43-yard field goal by junior Adrian Trevino. The Vikings began the second period with White finding junior fullback Jacob Cahill with an 8-yard pass to cap a 15-play, 63-yard drive.
Things were going so well for Valley that even its mistakes were golden. When junior Reggie Foster forced senior David Allen to fumble the ball at the Graceland 10-yard line, sophomore guard Henry Hamilton picked up the loose ball and rumbled into the end zone. That followed another blocked punt, by junior Moamoa Palepale.
The Yellowjackets' next series ended quickly on junior Colin Smith interception at the GU 35. Anderson, a wideout by trade, fired a 22-yard pass to senior tailback Robert Holmes -- who two snaps later ran 8 yards for a touchdown, the Vikings' third within a span of barely over three minutes.
Graceland got a drive going late in the first half, reaching the visitors' 29-yard line before senior Jacory Lindsey came up with a sack on fourth down. Valley had one more scoring opportunity, but Trevino's 48-yard field goal attempt at the gun fell short.
The Vikings began the second half by going 63 yards in five plays, the first a 42-yard Allen run. Allen went 10 yards to score for a 38-0 lead.
Sophomore Jeremy Tarwater's 40-yard reception of a pass from junior Zachary Stuart again put the Yellowjackets in position to score, but sophomores Jesse Putnam and Maurice Peterson stuffed a run on fourth down and two yards to go at the MVC 23.
Cahill's 43-yard catch led to a 28-yard Trevino field goal to end the third quarter.
A fumbled punt return finally put Graceland in good field position early in the final frame, senior Emmanuel Stiverne dashing 20 yards end the shutout. Stuart would also toss a scoring strike, 21 yards to freshman Tyler Stewart, with 12 seconds left in the game.
That was after heralded freshman tailback Junior Allen broke off a 29-yard TD run in his first extended duty for Valley.
It was, for the most part, the kind of game the Vikings wanted: rushing for 244 yards while stopping the ground game of the 'Jackets (0-2, 0-2 HAAC) for a net of minus-7 yards -- helped by five sacks, including two by Smith and another by conference defensive "player of the week" Merlin Benefield.
David Allen ran for 120 yards and White completed nine of 14 passes for 154 yards and two scores.
Valley (2-0, 2-0) will be back home Saturday for a tilt with longtime league rival William Jewell.