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Short-handed Vikings fall to College of San Mateo

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Wide receivers Brandon Perrilliat (left) and Antwuin Prowes (right) walk back to the sideline in their game against College of San Mateo at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California on November 10, 2017.

Wide receivers Brandon Perrilliat (left) and Antwuin Prowes (right) walk back to the sideline in their game against College of San Mateo at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California on November 10, 2017.

Aaron Tolentino

Aaron Tolentino

Wide receivers Brandon Perrilliat (left) and Antwuin Prowes (right) walk back to the sideline in their game against College of San Mateo at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California on November 10, 2017.

Aaron Tolentino, Sports Reporter

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In their last home game of the year, the Vikings fell to the College of San Mateo Bulldogs 45-14 on Friday, Nov. 10 to finish the regular season with a 5-5 record.

In the first half the Vikings were right there with the Bulldogs but were unable to capitalize deep into Bulldogs’ territory. One drive had kicker Prominence Akubuo-Onwuemeka’s kick blocked and the other two had the Vikings going for it on fourth down and failing to convert.

The 9-1 Bulldogs took advantage of their opportunities to score with their standout wide receiver Rajae Johnson scoring two touchdowns with multiple Viking defenders draped all over him, pushing the lead to 17-0 at halftime.

“The score doesn’t represent how close it was,” said head coach Mike Darr. “That first half, we probably had more yards than them, we just didn’t finish down in the red zone. Since we didn’t really score, (score) should’ve been 3-0 at halftime.”

For the Vikings, the story of the night was how decimated the team was by injuries on both sides of the ball.

“We had 13 starters out. We had two defensive lineman play offensive line. We had a tight end play defensive line, so these guys really played their butts off,” said Darr.

It was tough, especially for this young team, to have players being forced to step up and play on both sides of the ball throughout.

“Today was tiring but I tried to play through it and get through the game,” said wide receiver Antwuin Prowes, who caught a touchdown pass along with playing a heavy amount of time on defense as a defensive back.

From Darr to the fans in the stands, everyone saw how, it seemed, every other play another Viking was banged up and limped off the field.

“It’s tough when you’re already young and then you’re making all those replacements,” said Darr. “Second half, guys were getting banged up, guys were getting tired, losing more guys.”

Defensive back Ronnie Preston (30) walks back to the sideline with his teammates in a game against College of San Mateo in Pleasant Hill, California on Nov. 10, 2017.

Credit to the Vikings, despite the plethora of injuries, who fought hard until the clock hit triple zero.

“We did a good job, never stopped fighting, that’s what we really gotta do,” said quarterback Matt Vitale.

A silver lining for the Vikings’ offense was how they came alive towards the end of the game. Vitale and Prowes connected for two deep balls, one for a 57-yard score.

“It just clicked in the second half,” said Vitale on Prowes ability to repeatedly beat one-on-one coverage. “I think we finally got it down and just started showing up. He’s fast as hell, whenever he gets behind the DBs, there’s no shot they can get him.”

According to Vitale, the momentum built was huge as a confidence boost for the Vikings to bring to their next game, a potential bowl game.

The Vikings are guaranteed a spot for a bowl game if the defending NorCal champions, 8-1 American River College, beat 4-5 Sierra College on Saturday, Nov. 11.

The heart the Vikings showed Friday, despite all the adversity and injuries, is just the kind of heart that can win them more games in the future.

“We don’t play this game for moral victories, but if there was a definition of one, (tonight) is what it was,” said Darr.

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Short-handed Vikings fall to College of San Mateo