Viking Football Knocks Off Graceland
MARSHALL, MO -- A big rushing performance from Senior Running Back Zavier Steward led the Missouri Valley College Vikings to a 39-7 road victory over Graceland University Saturday afternoon in Lamoni, Iowa.
The Vikings wasted little time in taking control of the ball game. The defense would force Graceland to go three-and-out on their first possession, setting up MVC at their own 34-yard line. On the second offensive play for MVC, Steward would take a hand-off and run 66-yards for the game's opening touchdown, giving MVC an early 7-0 lead just minutes into the first quarter.
Again the Viking defense forced another Graceland punt, and the Vikings would start their next possession inside Graceland territory. Steward would score again, this time on a four-yard touchdown run that capped off a six-play 44-yard drive. The Vikings would convert a two-point conversion off a run from Junior Wide Receiver Travis Thorton to make the score 15-0 midway through the first quarter.
Graceland's remaining possessions in the first quarter all ended in punts, but the Viking offense could not take advantage as Sophomore Quarterback Bruce Reyes and Senior Quarterback Taylor Beasley would both through interceptions.
Thing turned around for the Viking offense on their first possession of the second quarter, as they would be pinned deep in their own territory, at their own 13-yard line, but would eventually march down the field and score on an eight-yard touchdown run by Steward, his third score of the game, to cap off a seven-play drive.
The two teams traded punts throughout the rest of the second quarter, until the final Viking possession of the half. Senior Kicker Fabian Miramontes would attempt a 32-yard field goal as time ran out, but the kick sailed wide left, and sent the game into halftime with a 22-0 Viking advantage.
MVC got the ball to start the second half, and all it took was one play for the Vikings to tack on another touchdown. Steward scored his fourth touchdown of the game racing 68-yards to the endzone, giving MVC a 29-0 lead just seconds into the third quarter.
The Vikings would eventually extend the lead even more on their second drive of the third quarter. Reyes would use his arm to take the Vikings down the field, connecting on all three of his pass attempts, going 78-yards in just three plays. The drive was finished off with a Freshman Running Back Del'Von Franklin 25-yard touchdown reception midway through the third quarter, giving MVC a 36-0 lead.
Both teams would move the ball on each other through the rest of the third quarter, and into the fourth, but neither could put up any points until the 12-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Miramontes would connect on his second field goal attempt, a 40-yard field goal giving MVC their final score, moving their lead to 39-0.
Graceland would eventually score a touchdown with just over two minutes left in the ball game, and bring the scoring to an end, with a 39-7 MVC victory.
Offensively for the Vikings Steward had an impressive performance rushing the ball 13 times for 173 yards and four touchdowns. Steward averaged over 13-yards per carry. Passing wise, Reyes would finish 13 of 22 for 211 yards with a touchdown and interception. Senior Tight End Chris Owens was the main target for MVC, bringing in four receptions for 95 yards. In all the Vikings wracked up 489 yards of total offense in the game.
Defensively, the Vikings did not allow Graceland to pick up a first down until midway through the second quarter, limiting the Yellowjackets to just 26 total yards n the first half. Leading the way for MVC was Senior Linebacker Phil Kraft and Junior Linebacker Rahfee McClee, who each had six tackles. Kraft also tacked on a sack, with Junior Linebacker Danny Reyes and Sophomore Linebacker Kent Young both getting a half a sack apiece. The Viking defense limited Graceland to just 182 total yards on 61 plays, which comes out to less than three-yards per play. The Viking defense gave up 119 yards on the ground, but only 63 yards passing. Graceland punted 13 times, as the Viking defense kept the Yellowjackets to just two of 16 on third-down conversions.
With the win, MVC moves to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play. Graceland falls to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in conference play. Up next for the Vikings is a home matchup with Peru State College. Game time is 1:30 p.m. at Gregg-Mitchell Field Saturday, October 27.