Despite valiant effort, Vikings come up short in heartbreaking match
It was a bittersweet ending Friday, Sept. 11 for the La Jolla Vikings varsity football team. The evening’s theme “blast off into the season” was exactly that. After an exciting shoot-out from last year’s contest, which ended in a 3-point loss for the Vikings (55-52), Friday night’s non-conference rematch saw a bigger deficit.
The 59-18 lopsided blowout against the Warriors of Fallbrook was played at University City High School and filled with the cheers and sighs from both sides of the crowd as the game went on. The Vikings, despite their best efforts, fell short.
The Vikings allowed 7 total touchdowns and nearly 405 yards on the ground rushing against the Warrior’s offense. Averaging 6.6 yards a play, the Warrior’s offense elected to run the ball more than 98 percent of their plays called.
In the first quarter, the Vikings elected to receive after Fallbrook’s deferment. On a fourth and short on their own 29 yard line on the first drive, they failed to convert the first down. With Fallbrook’s offense now taking the field, Warrior senior Bryce Olivo ran for 29 yards on a first and 10 to put the first points on the board. Fallbrook senior James Nicholas ran for a 34-yard touchdown a series later to put the Warrior’s up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Fallbrook kick a field goal after a stop from the Viking’s defense, but then answer by scoring two more rushing touchdowns before La Jolla High senior QB Jonathan Levenson ran for 42 yards to put the Vikings on the board 31-6.
An attempted two-point conversion failed. After a forced three-and-out by the La Jolla’s defense, the Vikings offense answered again and QB Levenson threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior Tanner Watson for 6 more points. They elected to try a two-point conversion but failed and ended this ended the first half.
Going into the second half, down 31-12, the Vikings were hoping to rally to keep within reach. The Vikings kicked off for the beginning of the third and wanted to see momentum swing their way. After unsuccessfully attempting third downs, the Vikings offense were forced to punt the ball away. Fallbrook continued to run the ball and scored 21 unanswered points on the ground for three more touchdowns by the end of the third quarter. The Vikings put together an impressive drive and capped off the quarter with a passing touchdown from senior Casey Brown to junior Reilly Rowan. The succeeding two-point conversion failed with the score now 52-18.
The fourth quarter saw the Warrior’s looking to continue to run both the ball and time off the clock. After a successful three-and-out by the Viking’s defense, the Warriors were forced to punt the ball away. The Vikings put together several positive plays seeing them drive down the field to add points to the board. As they crossing midfield the Warrior’s defense picked off a pass from the Viking’s offense returning it 23 yards for a touchdown to put the final points on the board. The final score, 59-18.
Through facing adversity much of the evening, the Vikings football team continued to fight to the end. Head coach Jason Carter and his staff are optimistic and proud of the effort from their team. They will begin Monday preparing for next week’s game. u
Note: Due to the restructuring of their home turf, La Jolla’s varsity and junior varsity football games are being played off-campus this fall. Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, the Vikings will play all of their games this season, home and away, on the road. The Viking (1-2) will square off next week against the Wolf Pack of West Hills at Mission Bay High School at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18. The Varsity will begin their League play game Oct. 9 against Mission Bay High School. The Junior Varsity (1-0) will play West Hills as well with their game kicks off at 3 p.m. Sept. 18.