No. 3 MVC Beats No. 12 Benedictine for Homecoming
MARSHALL, MO -- The No. 3 ranked Missouri Valley Viking football team celebrated a soggy Homecoming with a 42-26 victory against No. 12 Benedictine College Saturday afternoon at Gregg-Mitchell Field.
The game was played in mostly a steady rain throughout its entirety, and saw the Ravens get on the board first, taking their opening drive 70-yards for a touchdown. The Vikings would respond quickly, and tie the game up thanks to a big kickoff return by Senior Defensive Back LaQuentin Black, which eventually led to a Senior Running Back LaNorris Dukes three-yard touchdown, capping off MVC's first drive.
The Vikings would next get on the board early in the second quarter when Sophomore Quarterback Bruce Reyes ran a play-action pass play that left Freshman Wide Receiver Seth Martinko wide open, and led to a 74-yard touchdown giving MVC a 14-7 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Vikings got a bounce to go their way, as Sophomore Defensive Back Michael Barnes recovered a Benedictine fumble in the endzone for a touchdown, giving MVC a 21-7 advantage.
That's how things would stay until late in the first half. The Vikings were pinned deep, at their own 11-yard line after a Benedictine punt. On the first play of the drive, Senior Running Back Zavier Steward took a handoff, and raced 89 yards for a touchdown, giving MVC a commanding 28-7 lead.
Benedictine would eventually tack on a touchdown late in the first half, after coming up with a muffed punt, but the extra point was missed, and MVC took a 28-13 lead into the halftime break.
The Vikings got the ball to start the second half, and would put together a 7-play 68-yard drive to extend their lead to 35-13. The drive was capped off by another Reyes to Martinko connection, this time a 27-yard touchdown.
The two teams would trade punts for most of the third quarter, and eventually the Vikings special teams would break through, and block one. Sophomore Tight End Cameron Hope (Memphis, Tenn.) shot through the line, and was able to block a Benedictine punt, which was eventually downed at the Benedictine 2-yard line. It took just one play, for Dukes to find the endzone a second time, giving MVC a 42-13 lead.
Benedictine would pick off a Reyes pass early in the fourth quarter, setting the Ravens up in the red-zone, but Junior Defensive Back Tyler Davis would come up with his fourth interception of the season, to stop the Ravens from scoring.
Benedictine would eventually tack on two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, to make it a final score of 42-26, and give the Vikings a win on Homecoming.
Individually for the Vikings, Reyes went 18 of 31 passing for 272 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. On the ground Steward rushed 11 times for 140 yards and one touchdown. Martinko led the Vikings in receiving with 111 yards and two touchdowns. In all, nine Vikings recorded a reception.
Defensively, the Vikings were led by Senior Linebacker Mike Hall who had seven total tackles including two for loss and one sack, while Sophomore Defensive Lineman Ty Phillips added to his number of sacks on the season with two more Saturday moving his total to eight on the season. Meanwhile, Black finished with four passes broken up in the game.
Also, Senior Zavier Steward was named the Ted Chittwood Homecoming Award winner for being the most outstanding senior player during the Homecoming game.
With the win the Vikings improve to 6-0 on the season and 5-0 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play, while Benedictine drops to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in HAAC play.
Up next for the Vikings is a road game at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa on Saturday, October 20, with a 2 p.m. kickoff.