Football looks to build momentum off dramatic win


Mike Stehlik

Running back Gabriel Watson #20 walks on the sideline with members of his offensive line before the second half kickoff at Viking Stadium on Friday, September 8, 2017.

The Vikings have an upcoming four-hour bus ride down to Visalia to play College of the Sequoias this Saturday.

The team is coming off a dramatic come-from-behind 26-23 victory in their home opener last Friday.

The Vikings will look to play well consistently with rhythm throughout the entire game in Saturday’s game to avoid having to fight back from deficits.

“In the first half, we didn’t have a rhythm,” wide receiver Devin McDaniels said. “Then in the second half, we just had a rhythm; we executed what our coach had planned out for us.”

A big key for the Vikings is to keep Sequoias’ offense off the field and give their defense sufficient rest.

“That’s always something we are trying to do, win on third down and get our defense off the field,” coach Mike Darr said. “A lot starts with what you do on first down and put them in long downs where you can hopefully make a team more predictable.”

The College of Sequoias have dominated their opponents this season in time of possession by an average of 15 minutes.

“They take a lot of their play clock,” Darr said about Sequoias’ run-heavy, ball-control offense. “It’s not the Chip Kelly, let’s run 600 plays type [offense].”

Darr will have to execute his defensive game plan without two of his starting linebackers, Charles Lee and Demarko McNeill, who are ruled out for Saturday’s game.

According to Darr, Lee is officially ruled out for the season but is still eligible to be medically redshirted this season.

“Our linebacking crew has been hit pretty hard this year and it was one of our deepest groups going into the season,” Darr said. “It’s going to give guys an opportunity to step up and make plays.”

A new challenge presents itself to Darr and his team this week of bringing the same fire last week that comes from a loss. Coming off a win, it is human nature to feel complacent, but Darr is having none of that.

“I’ve had years where I’ve sensed that [complacency] and I’ve really hammered them on that point,” Darr said. “I think these guys, after week one, handled maybe some of that complacency that might set in.”

The Vikings will look to keep that victorious momentum going in Visalia when they face off against College of the Sequoias 6 p.m. Saturday.