MVC Beats Ottawa in Postseason Game
MARSHALL, MO -- The No. 2 Missouri Valley College Vikings began their postseason with a 56-21 victory over No. 15 Ottawa University Saturday afternoon at Gregg-Mitchell Field. This marks the first postseason win for the Vikings since the 2007 NAIA Football Championship Series.
Things started off a little rough for the Vikings as Junior Defensive Back Tyler Davis muffed a punt following Ottawa's first possession, giving the Braves the ball near midfield. Davis made up for the mistake just seconds later, as he made an interception on the very next, giving MVC the ball. The Vikings the drove deep inside Ottawa territory, but Sophomore Quarterback Bruce Reyes threw an interception in the end zone, keeping the score tied at 0-0 early in the first quarter.
The first points of the game came on an Ottawa punt, as the snap sailed over the punter's head and go into the end zone, resulting in a safety for MVC, giving the Vikings a 2-0 lead. On the ensuing free-kick, Senior Defensive Back LaQuentin Black went 79-yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, and MVC extended their lead to 8-0 just five minutes into the game.
The two teams traded possessions through the rest of the first quarter, until MVC got the ball with just over three minutes left at their own 24-yard line. The Vikings put together a 10-play, 76-yard drive capped off by a Senior Running BackLaNorris Dukes one-yard touchdown run to extend the MVC lead to 15-0 with seconds left in the first quarter.
The Viking defense forced Ottawa into another punt, but it resulted in another muff by the Vikings, this time by Black, with the Braves gaining possession deep in MVC territory. Ottawa scored one play later and cut the MVC lead to 15-7 seconds into the second quarter.
The two teams traded punts, but Ottawa looked to cut MVC's lead even more, with a 42-yard field goal attempt, however the attempt was blocked by Sophomore Defensive Lineman Ty Phillips giving MVC the ball near midfield. The offense responded after the blocked kick and drove 63-yards in just five plays scoring on a five-yard touchdown run by Dukes to give MVC a 22-7 lead with under five minutes left in the first half.
The Viking defense came up with another turnover on Ottawa's next possession, this time an interception by Senior Linebacker Mike Hall giving MVC the ball near midfield. It took just four plays for the Vikings to score, as Reyes would scramble for a five-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion run by Junior Wide Receiver Travis Thornton moved the MVC lead to 30-7, which was the score at the halftime break.
In the second half the Vikings turned the ball over on their first possession on another Reyes interception, and again the Braves turned the turnover into points scoring just four plays later to get back into the ball game with a 30-14 MVC lead.
The ensuing kickoff pinned MVC inside its own 10-yard line, but the Vikings took control of the ball game and put the game out of reach for good as the offense put together an impressive 10-play 92-yard drive that took over five minutes. The drive was capped off with another Dukes touchdown run, this time from 17-yards out, giving MVC a 37-14 advantage midway through the third quarter.
The two teams traded possession through the rest of the third quarter and into the early parts of the fourth quarter, but after a Junior Linebacker Rahfee McClee interception deep inside Ottawa territory, the Vikings were set for another short touchdown drive. Three plays later Dukes scored his fourth touchdown run from just a yard out giving MVC a 43-14 lead after Senior Kicker Fabian Miramontes missed his first extra-point of the season.
Ottawa was forced to punt after just three plays on after the MVC touchdown, and the Vikings quickly scored again, this time thanks to a Senior Quarterback Taylor Beasley to Freshman Wide Receiver Seth Martinko 52-yard touchdown pass-play. Miramontes missed his second-straight extra-point, this time thanks to a block, and MVC extended their lead to 49-21.
Ottawa had just one more meaningful drive in the game, and they made it count, driving 80-yards thanks to two personal foul penalties on the Vikings, and scoring again to make it a 49-21 MVC lead. The Vikings tacked on one more touchdown on their last drive of the game as Junior Running Back Keith O'Neal scored from 18-yards out giving the game the final score of 56-21.
Leading the way for MVC through the air was Reyes who finished 12 of 26 passing with three interceptions and 152 yards. The lone touchdown pass came from Beasley. Rushing wise, Dukes had the big game for the Vikings going for 105 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Eight Vikings had at least one reception with Martinko leading the way with five receptions for 90 yards.
Defensively for MVC they were led in tackles by hall who had eight total tackles in the game, including a half of a sack, one tackle for loss, one interception, and one pass break-up. Phillips had seven total tackles including three sacks, five tackles for loss and one blocked field goal. Junior Linebacker Andrew Huhman finished with one and a half sacks in the game and four and a half tackles for loss, while McClee had one sack and two and a half tackles for loss. In all the Viking defense had 17 tackles for loss, creating four turnovers.
The win moves MVC into the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Football Championship Series Saturday Nov. 24. The Vikings will learn their opponent, location, and game time later this weekend. Ottawa's season comes to an end with an 8-3 record. Troth improves his postseason record as Vikings head coach to 5-4 with the win.