Note: This sports recap appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 18 newspaper on Page B2.
LANCASTER — Vinton County had two options on Friday.
Either let the loss against Southeastern affect it or turn the page and take out its frustrations on Fairfield Union.
Needless to say, the Vikings made the right choice as they held the Falcons in check all night, outside of one play, to earn their first win of the season, 28-7.
“This shows the type of team we can be and the effort was a lot better this time around,” Vinton County coach Travis Bethel, who also picked up his first win as head coach, said. “This is the last result of a great week of practice filled with high intensity and remaining focused. We took a big loss last week and we turned things around, which is credit to our seniors for leading the way.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Vikings struck first after Zack Radabaugh took a reverse hand-off and sprinted 55 yards down to the 2-yard line.
Two plays later, Logan Baker plunged into the end zone from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons responded quickly on the ensuing. Blayde Patton kept the ball on the read option on the second play and galloped 78 yards to paydirt, tying the game.
“Our gameplan was to key on (Fairfield Union running back Isaac Daughtery) all night,” Bethel said. “We had him in check all game, but we gave up that one big play early. The good thing was we didn’t let it affect us and we picked ourselves up after that.”
Not wanting to go into halftime tied, the Vikings took things to the air and executed.
Bryce Damron saw the single coverage on the outside and found Zayne Karr, who out-jumped the Falcons’ corner for the catch and went 55 yards for the touchdown, making it a 14-7 lead at halftime.
“We didn’t change anything at halftime, it wasn’t needed,” Bethel said. “Our main focus was cutting back on the penalties because we shot ourselves in the foot too many times. We could have been up 28-7 at halftime, but couldn’t get out of our own way at the time.”
Neither team registered much offensive in the third quarter as the score remained 14-7.
But that soon changed, and the Vikings looked towards fullback Logan Baker to go so. Baker responded on a huge 3rd-and-2 by busting through the left side, running through three defenders in the process before getting knocked out at the 18 yard line for a 38-yard gain.
“That play changed everything and really kicked the momentum in for us,” Bethel said. “When he’s running with that hard-nosed style mentality, the whole team follows that lead.”
Baker’s number was called again and he answered the bell by running through four more defenders on his way to finding paydirt from 17 yards out for his second score of the game and a 21-7 score that effectively put the game away for the Vikings.
“Those two plays were incredible,” Baker said. “I know that if I’m running as hard as I can then everyone else is going to do their part. Momentum carries no matter what and I know I’m going hard, then everyone else will to. That’s how we win games.”
“We do it for the county and we had to do what we had to do for the win.”
Although Baker’s touchdown seem to close the door on the Falcons, Jacob Wells wasn’t satisfied with just closing. He wanted slam it shut.
After the Viking defense stopped Fairfield Union on fourth down, Wells found a hole on the first play and sprinted 39 yards to cap the final score.
“Our message the whole week was win each play and do your job,” Bethel said. “The defense played unbelievable and get better in the second half by pitching a shutout. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys for how they responded and got over the hump.”
Vinton County opens TVC action on Friday at Meigs.