Discover more from The Journal 425
Vikes Win GPS Game, Locate Offense
Brennan Frost and the Vikings found their offense and perhaps their identity in Stanwood Friday. Kevin Hulten/P&GP
One of my favorite football beat writers, Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat recently coined the phrase "GPS game". What does it mean? A GPS game is a game on a team's schedule that provides an exact location of where it stands.
In the Viking's case, Friday's game was many things - a road opener, a conference opener, a chance to rebound after a sloppy home loss, a chance to win in Stanwood for the first time in eight years, an opportunity to take advantage of a talent-laden team that's struggling to find an identity.
So in a game that featured three lead changes and a tie, the Vikings found their offense, they found an identity, they may have found a leader, and they definitely know where they stand.
It was an odd game - the Vikings used three different quarterbacks, surrendered two costly turnovers, but created two turnovers late in the clutch. The Vikes carried over many of the mistakes from last week: eight first half drops by the receiving core, a couple disturbing mental lapses resulting in drive-killing penalties, and a general early malaise.
However, the Purple and Gold showed a new spark, at least offensively. The passing game was crisper, drops aside, and starter Bryson Daggett, backup Jake Nelson and wildcat QB Chameron Lackey all made positive plays contributing to the win.
But it was Daggett's night, and perhaps the night he thrust himself into a leadership position. Daggett came back from injury after missing a series in the third quarter, Daggett battled through the frustrating drops without losing faith, and he fought through two costly second half interceptions - one of which wasn't his fault. Finally, on a night when Nick Montana was laying the wood on Jake Heaps and Skyline, the Viking's Bryson Daggett engineered a Joe Montana-like 92-yard game winning drive, punching in the winning score with his feet from one yard out with 89 seconds remaining.
It's late, and I'm tired - so we'll have more detailed analysis in the morning before I head out to USC-UW, but let's hand out a few game balls.
All three quarterbacks: Bryson Daggett was sharp from the get-go, played with a confident swagger, threw several beautiful deep balls, and led the Vikings on what could be a season-defining 92 yard game winning drive. Sophomore Jake Nelson was thrust into a three point game in the third quarter after Daggett was carried off the field with a leg injury. Nelson responded by moving the Vikes down field with his arm and his legs, completing two passes for first downs and scrambling for another. A bad snap cost the Vikes 25 yards and ended the drive, but Nelson's confident play swapped the field position and gave the Vikes D a much needed blow. Chameron Lackey took the snap on the first play of the game and ran for 19 yards. He took the first snap after Daggett went down and ran for 17 yards, and he took a hand off on a fly-sweep option and hit Arvid Isaksen for a 53-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
WR Arvid Isaksen - When the Viking offense was spinning its wheels early, Isaksen provided a lift with his sure hands amongst a fog of dropped passes. Daggett hit Isaksen on 3rd and 10 for a 40 yard gain down to the Stanwood 15, then hit Isaksen two plays later for an 11-yard touchdown pass, tying the score at seven. On the Vikes next possession, Isaksen battled for Lackey's long bomb, pulling in the pass and shrugging off a defender on his way to a 53-yard touchdown. Isaksen also had a 34-yard touchdown reception called back on a dubious "offensive interference" call in the first quarter.
WR Brandon Preslar - Sunshine had a rough first half. He dropped several passes that he would snare nine times out of ten, including a probable touchdown on a beautifully thrown deep ball. He was silent through the third quarter. But like all the great ones, when the game was on the line, he came alive. Preslar caught four balls on the Vikings' game winning drive, including a 35 yard pass to get the Vikes out of the shadow of their own end zone. After the Vikes shot themselves in the foot with a personal foul setting up 2nd and 25 at their own 40, Preslar snatched in a 39-yard sideline reception. Finally, he added two clutch chain-moving possession passes to put Daggett in position to run in the final score.
S Brandon Belcher and the Viking defense - Belcher, who saw more time in a traditional safety position than he had in previous games, led the Vikings with 15 tackles, including several OMG bone-jarring, teeth rattling hits. As a whole, the Viking defense succeeded in slowing down Stanwood RB Brad Gee and frustrating QB Michael McCune. When Stanwood had the ball inside the Viking ten leading 17-14 with 5:30 left in the 4th quarter, it looked as if all was lost. But sophomore LB Korey Young stripped Stanwood RB Ben Ulrich and recovered the loose ball, setting up the game winning drive. Finally, for the second straight week ILB and captain Alex Moon came up with a key interception, this time stepping corralling a McCune pass with 1:20 left to seal the victory.
We'll have more later -including video and photo, but that's all I've got for now. Great win for the Vikes, and a resilient performance by junior QB Bryson Daggett. Enjoy the win, Purple and Gold, week 4 starts tomorrow:)