Vikings Stun #2 San Mateo, Scoring 21 Unanswered Points In Dramatic Second-Half Comeback

Photo Courtesy of DVC Athletics.

Photo Courtesy of DVC Athletics.

What was expected to be College of San Mateo’s domination over DVC became a Bulldogs’ nightmare as the Vikings pulled off the league’s greatest upset so far in the season, overcoming a 21-0 deficit to win 23-21 last Friday.

It is reportedly the first time the Vikings have ever beaten the Bulldogs in the schools’ football history.

San Mateo, ranked number two in the California Community Colleges Athletic Association, entered the Oct. 21 match with a 6-0 record. Diablo Valley College, ranked 15th in the state, came into the game 4-2 riding back to back wins.

Judging the Vikings’ quality of play early on, most signs favored the Bulldogs. The game began in what has become Vikings fashion this season, as two penalties interrupted the team’s first two plays, forcing a punt.

San Mateo took full advantage of its first drive, scoring after nine plays capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Ezra Moleni.

DVC played tight defense and managed to get into scoring position in its first drive of the second quarter. But a 96-yard pick-six from Tyrice Ivy Jr. put San Mateo up by two touchdowns, and they led 14-0 after Bulldogs kicker Gabe Plascencia’s successful extra point.

Hoping to put the game to bed early, the Bulldogs ran up the field after a fake punt on fourth down before the clock ran out on the second half. Moleni finished the drive with a 3-yard carry and his second touchdown, putting San Mateo up 21-0.

But then, when the players retook the field, momentum visibly shifted.

In its first drive of the second half, DVC missed a quick opportunity to score a touchdown after making it down to San Mateo’s 9-yard line. The Vikings settled instead on a 26-yard field goal from Ray Vallee, shrinking the deficit to 21-3.

Suddenly things took a more aggressive turn when DVC’s freshman quarterback Jordan Cooke, who came in to replace Joey Aguilar, proceeded to throw a 69-yard touchdown to Javoni Gardere. After the extra point made the score 21-10, DVC smelled blood.

The Bulldogs followed with a punt, and as the end of the third quarter neared, the Vikings converted on five plays for 56 yards in under two minutes. The drive culminated with a rushing touchdown from Gavin Cribb. The extra point by Vallee brought the score to 21-17.

By that time the Vikings defense had tightened its grip, as defensive back Malachi Ward put on a masterclass performance. DVC forced yet another punt as the fourth quarter got underway, and their next drive was punctuated by two successful fourth-down plays before Cribb finished off the Bulldogs with another rushing touchdown.

Vallee then missed the extra point, leaving the Vikings just two points up. It was all the cushion they would need. In the final drive of the game, San Mateo pushed toward field goal range but Plascencia missed the shot with two seconds left on the clock.

After the upset win, DVC climbed to 9th in the state rankings ahead of its matchup against City College of San Francisco on Oct. 28.