Young, decimated Vikings cap off year with loss in Gridiron Bowl


Aaron Tolentino

Photo of the night: Wide receiver Cameron Norfleet shows off his athleticism by hurdling over his defender. Norfleet had nine catches for 100 yards in the Gridiron Bowl game at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California on November 18, 2017.

Aaron Tolentino, Sports Reporter

The Diablo Valley College Vikings lose their final game of the year, the Gridiron Bowl, 41-73 to the Modesto Junior College Pirates in Modesto.

The Pirates went off to a blazing fast start offensively to go up 28-0 in the first quarter and never looked back. Their running game was unstoppable putting up 557 yards on the ground, including their quarterback, Dan Velasquez, who rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

A decimated Vikings’ defense was mightily taken advantage of, a defense that only had one starting defensive lineman on the field. They were without all-conference defensive lineman, Tui Pulu, whose versatility was deeply missed.

If no bodies can cause traffic in the box, offenses will keep attacking those open holes every single time.

Credit the Pirates for exploiting that weakness in the Vikings’ front seven, which was ultimately the deciding factor in the game.

“We went into the game 14 (starters) out,” said head coach Mike Darr. “Just about everyone on the field was playing out of position.”

The situation on defense became so dire that the Vikings’ coaching staff was so close to putting all-conference offensive lineman Corey Luciano on defense, but refrained on the last second to insert offensive lineman JJ Hunter for a play instead.

“I never played d-line and we’re down to our fourth fifth-stringer so it was a really desperation move put me in there,” said Luciano on the call that nearly put him out on the field to play defense.

The offense did have a good game putting up 41 points, but got hot a touch too late.

Quarterback Matt Vitale put up a solid game of 234 yards passing and three touchdowns and was awarded a plaque for DVC’s player of the night.

“Damn, we still lost by about 30 points so I mean it’ll be something cool to take home,” said a slightly irked Vitale on the loss. “But honestly, the way we finished, we never really quit, this game we put up 41 points.”

Wide receiver Brandon Perrilliat had a big game with 125 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

“It was just something I was taught well to do. I love one-on-ones personally. It’s really fun,” said Perrilliat on beating opposing cornerback Izelle Price multiple times in one-on-one coverage.

The Vikings are a young squad full of mostly freshmen that look to ahead to build upon their successful inaugural season.

“A lot of young guys got a lot of (playing) time because of all the injuries, learned a lot of lessons are excited about this off-season,” said Darr. “We got a really special group coming back.”