MVC football: Vikings smash Culver, 53-0
CANTON -- So much for the 16th-ranked Missouri Valley College football team overlooking a weak opponent.
The visiting Vikings methodically dismantled Heart of America Conference foe Culver-Stockton, building a 32-0 halftime lead en route to a 53-0 victory Saturday. It was the Wildcats 15th straight league loss.
Valley scored on three of its first five possessions, including the initial one -- when a 30-yard pass from junior Chris White to junior Bryan Blackley and junior Sterling Hardin's 13-yard run set up a 2-yard Hardin plunge four minutes into the game.
Two series later, junior Darrell Madry took a reverse 37 yards into the end zone. Madry later in the first quarter returned a punt 22 yards to the Culver 34-yard line, with White flipping the ball 8 yards to senior Cortavious Anderson four plays later for a 22-0 lead.
The Vikings had two short drives during the second period, but neither produced points. However, Valley scored twice within the final 43 seconds of the half.
Senior Walter Ingram caught two passes for 21 yards, leading to senior Adrian Trevino's 28-yard field goal. On Culver's first snap of the ensuing possession, senior Davohn Dillard stripped the ball from senior Adrian Allen at the Wildcats' 23-yard line.
White found junior Tommi Pinta for 16 yards and Ingram for a 7-yard TD with 11 seconds left in the half.
The Vikings drove 51 yards on eight plays to begin the second half, Hardin running for 13 yards and Anderson catching a 14-yard pass to the 22. Valley banged the ball on the ground the rest of the way, Hardin going in from a yard out to end the day for himself and most of the offensive starters.
The Vikings' subs managed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, junior Paul Wayne Thomas of Marshall scoring on a 2-yard quarterback bootleg and freshman Michael Peavy going in from the 8 with six minutes remaining.
One joy of such a lopsided game is seeing young players get the opportunity to shine. Peavy, for example, was considered the fastest running back in New Jersey and rushed for 174.8 yard per game last year for the Neptune Scarlet Fliers.
Valley's leading ballcarrier against the Wildcats (0-2, 0-2 HAAC) was freshman Richard Konu, with 99 yards on 10 carries. A year ago he was playing in the Tulip Bowl for the Maastricht Wildcats of the AFBN in his native Netherlands, the latest European recruit for the Vikings -- who saw Finland native Pinta have a breakout game with five catches last week.
Of course, Valley's defense offered no surprises. Culver netted minus-5 yards on the ground, punted 13 times and surrendered six sacks -- two involving all-conference senior tackle Merlin Benefield.
The Vikings (2-0, 2-0) now have more serious work ahead, with No. 3 Lindenwood -- which has won its first two games by a whopping 129-29 margin -- due for a visit Saturday to Gregg-Mitchell Field.