Long Drives key in Vikings win
MANDATA – Williams Valley was able to play the spoiler Friday night as the team took its undefeated record into Line Mountain’s homecoming.
The Eagles paid homage to teams from the past with special throwback uniforms, sporting yellow tops and blue bottoms for the occasion, but the new threads alone were not enough to tame the undefeated Vikings.
The Eagles were able to get the crowd excited early as the team struck for the game’s opening score, but there wasn’t much to cheer about after that, as Williams Valley stayed unbeaten to the tune of a 35-7 victory over the Eagles.
Line Mountain opened strong, forcing a fumble by Williams Valley quarterback Bryce Herb on just the third play of the game. Line Mountain’s Cameron Smeltz fell on the football and gave the Eagles a first down at their own 39-yard line. Two plays later it was the Herb brothers that connected for the game’s opening score.
Wide receiver Aiden Herb ran a quick slant over the middle as older brother Evan Herb hit his sibling in stride for what would be a 63-yard catch-and-run to put the Eagles up 7-0 just over a minute into the game.
This would be the last time Line Mountain scored in the game, as Williams Valley took over from there.
Third down conversions were the story of the game, as the Vikings converted 22 total first downs in the game. Of those 22 conversions, nine of them took place on third or fourth down.
“That’s literally the story,” said Line Mountain coach Brandon Carson. “We had them in a lot of third-and-long situations and we just could not get off the field. They were able to make plays and we didn’t.”
With the Vikings down 7-0, the team took the ball down the field in just one minute and 26 seconds to score on a 12-yard reception by Jayden Cruz from quarterback Bryce Herb. The Vikings missed the extra point and trailed 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Line Mountain had a nice chance to extend its lead later in the opening quarter. The Eagles put together a nice 12-play drive but facing a fourth-and nine from the Williams Valley 19-yard line, Herb was chased out of the pocket and forced to throw on the run, which was intercepted in the endzone by Williams Valley’s Bo Raho.
The Vikings then went on a methodical drive their own to eventually take the lead. Williams Valley went 80 yards on 13 plays in five minutes to take a 14-7 advantage. Cruz capped off the drive with his second score of the game and was also on the receiving end of a two-point conversion to get the Vikings back on track.
Cruz finished the game with four catches for 68 yards and a pair of scores.
The Vikings did much of the same on their next drive. After a beautiful punt by Jacob Feese pinned the Vikings back at their own three-yard line, the Vikings took 13 plays to score again, this time going 97 yards and taking nearly six minutes off the clock.
The drive was aided by a Line Mountain defensive holding penalty that erased a sack by Dominick Bridi on first-and-10 at the Line Mountain 44 yard-line.
This penalty resulted in a big swing, as instead of facing a second and long, the Vikings had a first-and-10 at the Line Mountain 34-yard line and scored just two plays later.
The score was Williams Valley’s first rushing touchdown of the night as Brady Miller rumbled in for the first of his two rushing touchdowns in the game.
Miller led all rushers in the game with 96 rushing yards.
Surprisingly enough, the 97-yard drive was not the longest drive of the night by the Vikings. The team’s opening drive of the second half started at its own one-yard line following another coffin corner punt by Feese.
Williams Valley used a terrific mix of run and pass plays to drive 99 yards in 10 plays, culminating in an 18-yard touchdown reception by Jesse Engle.
The touchdown was Bryce Herb’s third touchdown pass of the night. Herb finished the night completing 17 of 23 pass attempts for 295 yards and three touchdowns. He was not sacked in the game.
“I don’t know what is out west, but in the east, I do know this is the best receiving corps in single A,” stated Williams Valley coach Tim Savage. “Bryce (Herb) has been throwing the ball very well.”
Savage went on to applaud his team’s offensive effort in a tough Tri-Valley Athletic Association matchup.
“Besides one miscue on our part we would never have punted,” he said. “That just feels great as a play caller and a coaching staff as a whole. The kids executed and it all looked great.”
Williams Valley scored one more time on the evening after Hunter Wolfgang busted through the line to block a Line Mountain punt in the fourth quarter.
The block resulted in the Vikings starting a drive in Line Mountain territory and ended with Miller’s second touchdown run of the night.
Line Mountain fell to 3-3 overall on the season with the loss.
Evan Herb completed four passes for 97 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles, while Feese led the team in rushing with 67 yards on 16 carries.
Williams Valley outgained the Eagles in offensive yardage 452-223.
“They had some kids make some unbelievable catches. Their quarterback kept his head under pressure. It was a great job by them,” said Coach Carson, “We had some breakdowns, but we were in position a couple of times and they made great throws and great catches.”
Williams Valley 35, Line Mountain 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Williams Valley 6 15 7 7 — 35
Line Mountain 7 0 0 0 — 7
LM—Aiden Herb 63-yard reception from Evan Herb (Cameron Smeltz PAT), 10:51.
WV—Jayden Cruz 12-yard reception from Bryce Herb (PAT No Good), 9:13.
WV—Cruz 8-yard reception from Herb (2 pt. Converstion Good; Cruz reception from Herb), 11:13.
WV—Brady Miller 3-yard run (Madisun Ferron PAT), 2:34.
WV—Jesse Engle 18-yard reception from Herb (Ferron PAT), 2:10.
WV—Miller 4-yard run (Ferron PAT), 8:01.
TEAM STATISTICS WV LM
First downs 22 10
Total yards 442 213
Rushes-yards 38-157 34-116
Yards passing 295 97
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 17-23-0 4-14-2
Punts-avg. 1-44 3-23
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-17 4-34
RUSHING—Line Mountain: Jacob Feese 16-67, E. Herb 10-23, Jace Hackenberg 2-17, A. Herb 3-10, Christian Bridi 1-1, Max Bingaman 1-1; TEAM 1-(-3). Williams Valley: Miller 23-96 2TD, Aaron Minnich 2-15, Engle 4-14, Cruz 2-12, Aiden Miller 2-10, Gage Miller 2-9, Logan Williard 1-7, TEAM 2-(-6).
PASSING—Line Mountain: E. Herb 4-12 97 yds, TD, 2INT; Hackenberg 0-2. Williams Valley: Herb 17-23 295 yds, 3TD.
RECEIVING—Line Mountain: A. Herb 2-67 TD, Cameron Smeltz 2-30. Williams Valley: Engle 4-92 TD, Bo Raho 5-89, Cruz 4-68 2TD, Miller 4-44.
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