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Viking offense struggles in finale

Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at 8:33 am

Post Photo by Rickey Clardy The Community Vikings celebrated Senior Night on Thursday with 14 players, cheerleaders, and band members taking part in the festivities. Seniors honored are (front, from left) Lizzy Beasley, Maddie Lohn, Karla Moreno, Mariah Hammermeister, and Chloe Smith.  Standing from left are Maki Fleming, Jayse Monroe, Ethan Eynon, James Bowling, Reed Wallace, Owen Cole, Joshua Damron, Ethan Larson, and Caleb Rhodes.   

Post Photo by Rickey Clardy Maki Fleming gains yardage on a kickoff during his final game in a Viking uniform.

By Rickey Clardy
Sports Writer
UNIONVILLE – The Community Vikings could not solve the Watertown Purple Tiger defense as the Purple Tigers took an early lead and went on to defeat the Vikings 63-0 in a Region 4-3A football contest Thursday night.
The loss knocked Community (1-9, 0-4) out of playoff contention and ended the Viking season.
After a Viking 3-and-out, the Purple Tigers quickly moved to the Community 4-yard line on their first play from scrimmage with the help of a 47-yard pass completion.
But the Community defense shined as the Purple Tigers lost 20 yards on the next three plays, leaving Watertown with a long field goal attempt.
The Vikings snuffed out a fake as Austin Stickler made the tackle on a Purple Tiger runner to keep the game scoreless.
Another 3-and-out and a botched punt attempt once again gave the Purple Tigers good field position in the Viking red zone.
This time, Adam Cooper scored from nine yards out to give Watertown a 6-0 lead with 6:14 left in the opening quarter.
Two more 3-and-outs and snap issues on another punt helped to set up the next two Purple Tiger touchdowns.
Kwame Seay scored on a 5-yard run and Blake Waldorf connected with Jesse Bratcher on a 6-yard pass as the Purple Tigers took a 21-0 lead.
A 35-yard pass play from quarterback Nyles Barnett to Maki Fleming on the next Community possession allowed the Vikings to reach midfield.
The Vikings could not advance into Purple Tiger territory as Watertown took its lead to the second quarter.
“We were still able to get that going, but they were trying to bracket Maki,” Coach Chris Grooms of the Vikings said.
“We were still getting open, but the room for error was little.”
“It’s got to be a perfect ball every time if we’re trying to thread the needle like that and it’s hard,” Grooms added.
Another pass completion from Barnett to Fleming, this one for 15 yards, was a highlight for the Vikings on their second possession of the quarter, but the Watertown offense was clicking on all cylinders.  The Purple Tigers added five touchdowns and closed out the half with a 56-0 lead.
A Purple Tiger touchdown late in the fourth quarter ended the scoring for the night.
“Watertown’s a good team and a well-coached team,” Grooms said. “They had a hard schedule so we knew what we were facing.”
“I told the boys their O-line is big and you’ve got to be fundamentally sound,” Grooms added.
It was the last game in a Viking uniform for seniors Maki Fleming, James Bowling, Jayse Monroe, Ethan Eynon, Reed Wallace, and Owen Cole.
“Most of them have been here four years with us,” Grooms said. “We want to make them better men and teach them character skills that can go a long way in life.”
The young Vikings, with sophomores and freshmen predominantly making up the roster, will look to the offseason to tone their skills for the 2024 season.
“They’re a hungry bunch,” Grooms said. “They’ll be in there lifting and ready to go.”
“We’ll spend a lot of time watching film trying to fix our mental mistakes and make them smarter football players.”

Watertown    21  35  0  7 — 63
Community     0    0  0  0 —   0

First Quarter
W — Adam Cooper 9 run, (kick failed) 6:14.
W — Kwame Seay 5 run, (Chase McConnell pass from Blake Waldorf) 3:19.
W — Jesse Bratcher 6 pass from Waldorf, (Trey Pack kick) 2:17.

Second Quarter
W – Blaze Kinslow 24 pass from Waldorf, (Pack kick) 11:51.
W – Marcus Reynolds 33 pass from Waldorf, (Pack kick) 7:51.
W – Cooper 11 run, (Pack kick) 5:42.
W – Dale Boshers 1 run, (Pack kick) 2:21.
W – Boshers 4 run, (Brody Osborne kick) 1:55.

Fourth Quarter
W – Garrett Davis 23 pass from Gunner Tompkins, (Osborne kick) 3:14.