Junior Vikings football team stays undefeated with 32-6 playoff win vs. Elks
Tue, 10/04/2022 - 1:26pm caleb
3rd/4th grade squad moves to 6-0 overall with victory vs. Elk Rapids on Saturday
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The 3rd/4th grade Junior Vikings football team improved its overall 2022 season record to 6-0 with a 32-6 playoff victory vs. Elk Rapids during a Northwest Youth Conference playoff contest played at the Crawford County Sports Complex on Saturday, October 1.
Grayling started at its 40-yard line after receiving the game’s opening kickoff. Kallen Tunney rushed for 14 yards on 1st and 10. The Elks stopped the Vikings for a five-yard loss on the next play. On 2nd and 15, quarterback Ryder D’Amour completed a pass to Tunney for a 51-yard touchdown. The conversion attempt failed.
With 9:36 left in the first period, Grayling led 6-0.
Elk Rapids started at its 40-yard line following the kickoff. On the fourth play of the series – 2nd and 18 – the Elks fumbled and the Vikings recovered the ball 28 yards from the goal line.
Daniel Hall ran for 15 yards on 1st and 10. Liam Wheeler rushed for 12 yards on the next play. On 1st and goal, D’Amour ran the ball into the end zone for a one-yard TD. Hall ran the ball across the goal line for the one-point conversion.
Grayling – with 3:33 left in the first quarter – had a 13-0 advantage.
After the kickoff, Elk Rapids took over at its 40-yard line. After a five-yard loss on first down, the QB for the Elks broke free through the middle for a 65-yard touchdown run. The Vikings stopped the conversion attempt short of the goal line.
With 1:17 left in the first period, Grayling led by seven, 13-6.
The Vikings started at their 40-yard line after the kickoff by the Elks. Tunney ran for 12 yards on 1st and 10. D’Amour completed a pass to Tunney for a 15-yard gain on the next play. After a one-yard loss on first down, Wheeler ran for eight yards. On 3rd and 3, Broden Sowinski rushed for 20 yards. D’Amour threw to Tunney for a nine-yard gain. Wheeler ran for three yards on 2nd and 1. Hall rushed for three yards on 1st and goal. On 2nd and goal, Tunney scored on a six-yard TD run. D’Amour threw to Tunney for the one-point conversion.
With 7:52 left in the second quarter, Grayling led 20-6.
The Vikings kicked and the Elks started at their 40-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Elk Rapids got free for a long touchdown run, but a block in the back penalty nullified the TD. The play did gain enough for a first down. Four more rushing plays – including one on 4th and 1 – picked up another first down. Elk Rapids rushed for 14 yards. A tackle for loss on the next play brought up 2nd and 15 with 10 seconds left in the first half. On the last play of the second quarter, Grayling stopped Elk Rapids seven yards short of the goal line on a rushing play.
At halftime, the score was Grayling 20, Elk Rapids 6.
The Elks received the second half kickoff. On the fourth play of the possession – 4th and 13 – Elk Rapids went for it and the Vikings stopped the running play for a loss.
Graying took over 34 yards from the end zone. After a one-yard loss on first down, Wheeler ran for seven yards on 2nd and 11. Wheeler rushed for one yard on 3rd and 4. On 4th and 3, D’Amour completed a pass to Tunney; he got free down the sideline, broke a tackle, and crossed the goal line for a TD. Elk Rapids stopped the conversion attempt.
With 3:33 remaining in the third period, the Vikings led 26-6.
On 4th and 12 – the fourth play of the next series for the Elks – Elk Rapids went for it and Grayling tackled the ball carrier for a loss.
The Vikings took over on downs 33 yards from the goal line. Tunney rushed for four yards. Hall ran for 10 yards on 2nd and 6. Hall rushed for three yards on the next play. D’Amour completed a pass to Tunney for a 16-yard TD, but a penalty for illegal man downfield negated the touchdown. On 2nd and 13, D’Amour ran for 17 yards. Grayling finished the drive with a six-yard TD run by Tunney on 2nd and goal. Elk Rapids stopped the conversion attempt.
With 6:38 left in the game, Grayling led 32-6.
On the fourth play of the next Elk Rapids drive – 4th and 9 – the Vikings stopped the ball carrier for a loss, forcing a turnover on downs.
Grayling killed the final 1:25 and the Vikings won by a final score of 32-6.
The victory improved Grayling’s overall record to 6-0 (5-0 regular season, 1-0 playoffs).
Coach Matt Haight said the team’s defense played well.
“Defense has really picked it up this year,” Coach Haight said. “They learned the techniques. They really learned the offenses and how to pursue.”
On offense, Coach Haight said the offensive line blocked well, the running game was effective, and when the team wanted to pass, “it’s a connection every time.”
“Everybody’s just really coming together,” Coach Haight said.
With Saturday’s win vs. the Elks, the Vikings advance to the Northwest Youth Conference playoff semifinals, Coach Haight said.