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Vikes into semis again

Posted: November 22, 2013 11:38 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2013 11:38 p.m.
 

Second half dominance at the line of scrimmage is why the Valencia Vikings football team is playing in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals next Friday.

After struggling to contain Arroyo Grande’s triple-option offense throughout the first half on Friday night at Arroyo Grande High School, the Vikings defense led a second half charge that lifted Valencia to a 28-23 win over the Eagles in the CIF-SS Northern Division second round.

Valencia (10-2) headed into its contest against the Eagles (8-4) expecting a big day out of quarterback Jake Wallace, but the senior struggled mightily.

After throwing just six interceptions all season, Wallace threw four picks in a 35-minute span in which the Vikings struggled against the Pac-7 League’s third-place finisher.

Wallace left the game with an injury in the closing minutes.

Before that, the Eagles gave the Vikings all they could handle in the first half, taking a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter when quarterback Mikey Gutierrez found 6-foot-4 sophomore Joel Bishop for an 8-yard touchdown pass.

But as was the case all night, Valencia answered quickly. Less than a minute later, Wallace found teammate Nick Jones wide open for a 74-yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7. Jones came up with timely plays all night, hauling in three passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns with one rushing score to boot.

After completing his first four pass attempts for 128 yards and a touchdown on Friday night, Wallace finished the first half in a major slump — going 6-of-13 for 43 yards with three picks. The senior finished 18-of-27 for 207 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Vikings entered halftime in a 14-14 tie after Bishop and Jones hauled in their second touchdown passes.

Unfortunately for Arroyo Grande, the Vikings entered the second half determined to dominate the line of scrimmage.

Vikings running back Stone Jackson came up huge on Friday, whittling away at the Eagles defense 5 yards at a time. The junior finished with 24 rushes for 125 yards, and he dictated the pace of the Vikings' ball-control approach in the second half.

After the Eagles capitalized on Wallace’s fourth pick with a 31-yard field goal to bring the score to 17-14 early in the fourth quarter, Jackson and Jones led the way.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter, Jones took an end-around pitch into the end zone to give Valencia a 21-17 lead.

Behind a Valencia defense that held the Eagles in check throughout the second half, Valencia wouldn’t give the lead back.

Malik Townsend rounded out scoring for the Vikings when he took a Wallace screen pass 21 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

The Eagles brought the game within five points late after a Vikings fumble was brought back to the 10-yard line, setting up a Gutierrez touchdown pass.

But a key interception from Valencia defensive back Joseph Ordaz sealed the win for the Vikings, who return to the CIF semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years.

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