Vikings close out Delta College with another last second thriller


Aaron Tolentino

Wide receivers Cameron Norfleet (8) and Brandon Perrilliat (16) head back to the huddle after converting a first down against Delta College in Stockton, California on September 30, 2017.

Aaron Tolentino, Sports Reporter

A late touchdown with 19 seconds left in regulation capped off a fourth quarter rally to lead the Vikings to a 31-30 road victory over the Delta College Mustangs, Saturday in Stockton.

The Vikings took control of the game by halftime with a 25-14 lead, but the Mustangs, coming off a loss last week, were resilient in their own right to score 16 unanswered points.

Opposing quarterback Wayne Brooks Jr. could not be stopped, rushing for four touchdowns to single-handedly bring the Mustangs back in the game.

For most of the fourth quarter, the Vikings were facing a five-point deficit, down 25-30.

With multiple opportunities to retake the lead in the fourth quarter, the Vikings had two costly turnovers, a fumble on a kickoff return with just under 13 minutes left and an interception with 5:15 left.

Fresh off of throwing the supposed game-ending interception, quarterback Jarrod Hoyer comes back the very next drive leads the Vikings down the field with time against him for a game-winning touchdown pass to Cameron Norfleet with 19 seconds left.

“Just staying confident, putting (the interception) behind me, moving forward and we got a great group of guys around us,” Hoyer said on the team’s late-game execution. “Just trusting in them, just going down and getting it done.”

Resiliency, with a bit of nail-biting drama, has been a common theme for the Vikings this year. Saturday marked their second late fourth quarter rally to victory this season.

“This is what sports is all about,” said head coach Mike Darr. “It’s why you never stop fighting, you never stop grinding, really proud of these guys facing so much adversity and stepping up and making plays we had to.”

Darr went with an interesting two-quarterback system Saturday with usual starter Matt Vitale splitting snaps with Hoyer.

Hoyer relished his opportunity to finish the game and lead the team to victory.

“It was great,” said Hoyer. “I’ve been working for this and I got the opportunity and I just tried to do my part and take advantage of it.”

Saturday’s pass-heavy offense was due to the Mustang’s defensive strategy.

“We’d like to run the ball a little more, but (Delta) had a lot of people in the box preventing us from running as much as we’d like to run,” said offensive line coach Dave Garcia. “We had to resort to the passing game this week.”

Wide receiver Demetrius Spears took advantage of the Mustangs daring the Vikings to throw the ball. Spears had a huge game with three receiving touchdowns, coming from both Vitale and Hoyer.

“Honestly it felt good to help my team in this,” said Spears. “They just called my number, I’m just happy it was my number, I did what God gave me to do and I’m just blessed.”