What was shocking was the Vikings' complete dominance for their first victory in Olathe, Kan., since 2006, a 41-7 romp. It erased what concerns Valley may have had after last week's unimpressive 27-13 win at McPherson (Kan.).
"The best teams improve between Week 1 and Week 2, and we improved a lot," noted sophomore quarterback Bruce Reyes, who led the Vikings on two third-quarter touchdown drives which put the contest out of reach. "We had to play almost a perfect game. It wasn't perfect, but it was close enough."
After its first three possessions ended with punts, Valley was kick-started by its defense when senior Tripp Thomas recovered a fumble at the Pioneers' 33-yard line. Senior LaNorris Dukes ran five times for 26 yards, the last taking the ball into the end zone from a yard out.
The Orange Crunch D took matters into its own hands early in the second period when junior Andrew Huhman knocked down a lateral, scooped up the ball and raced 59 yards for a touchdown.
"I saw the quarterback looking my way and decided to bat the ball down," Huhman said. "I didn't know if they were going to call it dead or not, so picked up and just took off with it."
The Vikings were threatening to score midway through the period when senior Dantren Anderson intercepted a pass at the MidAmerica 15. Junior Greg Gates sprinted 63 yards on the next snap, but the Pioneers stalled and a field-goal attempt was botched by a bobbled snap -- the second time they failed to score from inside the Valley 10.
"We just did what our coaches told us," Huhman explained the Vikings' resistance. "We just got to make plays out there for them."
Reyes completed passes of 27 yards to freshman Seth Martinko and 36 yards to junior Alex Benson to get Valley within range for a 20-yard field goal by senior Fabian Miramontes.
"We left some points out there" in the first half, admitted MVC head coach Paul Troth. "It was disappointing we did that, but it ended up not hurting us too bad."
MidAmerica had a ray of hope after Anderson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 90 yards to narrow the deficit to 17-7, but the Vikings answered with two long touchdown drives. Reyes zipped a 4-yard third-down pass into the back of the end zone between two defenders to sophomore Cameron Hope, who hung on while taking a shot, and then scored on a 17-yard bootleg.
"We had to stop the momentum before they got started again," Reyes said. At halftime, "we decided to stay more with the run than the pass, and pass when we needed to."
After that, the Pioneers (1-1, 1-1 HAAC) could do little right. Senior LaQuentin Black intercepted a pass, Valley's drive ending on a fumble at the MNU 31, and senior Tripp Thomas sacked senior quarterback Sean Ransburg on third down to stop MidAmerica's next possession -- the Vikings striking on senior Taylor Beasley's 59-yard bomb to Martinko.
Junior Tyler Davis picked off a deflected pass to give Valley the ball again with 10 minutes remaining in the game, and the offense consumed nearly seven minutes on a series which ended with a 46-yard Miramontes field goal.
The Vikings (2-0, 1-0) gained 240 yards on the ground, 80 by Dukes and 63 for senior Zavier Steward, while enjoying a 449-213 margin in total yardage.
Valley will play at home for the first time this season Saturday against Avila.
"Now our concern is keeping focused and continuing to prepare," Troth said. "We have another game next week, and we're going to have to show up."