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Sunday, Sep. 25, 2016

Vikings pound third HAAC foe

Monday, September 22, 2008

Freshman Theron "Junior" Allen set up a pair of Valley scores with long kick returns.
(Chris Allen/Democrat-News)
During the first seven minutes of the second half Saturday, the William Jewell College football team entered the Twilight Zone.

The Cardinals, in the words of Rod Serling, "were traveling through another dimension." It wasn't one of "sight and mind," but of turnovers and touchdowns. That 17-point spree was the impetus for host Missouri Valley's 44-17 Heart of America Conference victory.

Or, as junior linebacker Colin Smith would put it, the Vikings' explosion "was all about momentum."

Valley had been in control most of the first half, scoring 24 straight points until three personal foul penalties for 45 yards during the final two minutes put Jewell in position for its only offensive touchdown -- an 8-yard pass from sophomore Drew Witman to sophomore Taylor Gallagher -- to tighten the margin to 24-10.

"Those things happen," remarked MVC head coach Paul Troth. "I felt the kids were playing hard."

A 59-yard return of the second-half kickoff by freshman Theron "Junior" Allen set the tone for the Vikings, who scored on senior Robert Holmes' 14-yard run.

Smith forced a fumble, recovered by senior Correy Webb, 14 seconds later. That led to junior Adrian Trevino's 30-yard field goal.

It took only another 22 seconds before a sack by senior Larry Wentzel sent the ball flying, senior Jacory Lindsey corralling it at the Cardinals' 15-yard line and sophomore Chris White finding senior Trevor Howard in the end zone from 8 yards out to make it 41-10.

"Halftime gave us a chance to talk and go through some things with the kids," Troth said. "That set the tone."

Jewell ran for 36 yards on the first series of the game, more than the Vikings had allowed in the previous two games, senior Garrett Withers capping the drive with a 43-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Allen returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards, leading to a 25-yard Trevino field goal.

The Cardinals would net only 42 rushing yards the rest of the game, 28 on the final series against Valley's reserves, and were limited to 140 yards in total offense.

"We just had to get settled down, play our responsibilities and fill the gaps," Smith said.

The Vikings scored three second-quarter touchdowns. Holmes negotiated his way through traffic near the line, breaking free for a 35-yard TD.

Sophomore quarterback Chris White then connected with senior Javion Jones for scoring strikes of 29 and 37 yards.

Normally a run-first team, 19 of Valley's 31 first-half plays were passes, White completing 15 of 26 attempts for 208 yards during his three quarters of action.

"They play a lot of 'man'" coverage, Troth said. "We felt like we could get behind them, and we did."

The Cardinals (1-3, 1-2 HAAC) scored during the fourth quarter when senior Clayton Hewitt intercepted his fourth pass of the season and dashed 55 yards.

However, that was against the Vikings' back-ups and failed to produce any nervousness on their sideline.

As was the case the week before, when it led 41-0 going into the final frame at Graceland, Valley (3-0, 3-0) looked every bit like a team which should be ranked third in the NAIA.

"There were stretches where I thought we looked awfully, awfully good," Troth observed. "Then there were times we'd need to improve."

Looking ahead to Saturday's game at Evangel, Troth declared that the Vikings "have got to improve our consistency from start to finish."

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