Sports

Vikings come up short in semifinal – Orcas' dream season finally ends at 11-1

Viking running back Zac Parkerson (33) and offensive lineman Noah Cline (62) put up a blocking wall to protect quarterback Cory Harrington during a pass play. Cline came back from a broken ankle to play in the State semifinal contest. Chris Sanders hauls down Tacoma Baptist quarterback Matt Brannon. Vikings Cory Harrington (10) and Steve Johnson (34) combine forces to bring down the Crusaders Gavin Wofford. Ready to help on the play is Tony Clark (52).  An emotional Chris Sanders is embraced by a family member after the Tacoma Baptist loss. Sanders, a senior, played his final game for the Vikings. Saul Sasan (8) grabs ahold of Josh Bousman’s jersey on a sweep play. In on the play are Josh Gage (24), Steve Johnson (34) and Justin Langworthy (42). The Vikings’ defense played tough, but Bousman, a 2,000-yard runner, scored three TDs.  - Pierre LaBossiere
Viking running back Zac Parkerson (33) and offensive lineman Noah Cline (62) put up a blocking wall to protect quarterback Cory Harrington during a pass play. Cline came back from a broken ankle to play in the State semifinal contest. Chris Sanders hauls down Tacoma Baptist quarterback Matt Brannon. Vikings Cory Harrington (10) and Steve Johnson (34) combine forces to bring down the Crusaders Gavin Wofford. Ready to help on the play is Tony Clark (52). An emotional Chris Sanders is embraced by a family member after the Tacoma Baptist loss. Sanders, a senior, played his final game for the Vikings. Saul Sasan (8) grabs ahold of Josh Bousman’s jersey on a sweep play. In on the play are Josh Gage (24), Steve Johnson (34) and Justin Langworthy (42). The Vikings’ defense played tough, but Bousman, a 2,000-yard runner, scored three TDs.
— image credit: Pierre LaBossiere

The Vikings' clock hit midnight, and their carriage turned back into a pumpkin -- that orange gourd coming in the form of a Tacoma Baptist tailback named Josh Bousman.

Bousman ñ a 2,000-yard rusher for the season ñ gained 256 yards against the Vikings and scored three touchdowns, two coming on jaunts of 57 and 40 yards. He led the Crusaders to a 34-13 win over Orcas in the State Semifinals in the Tacoma Dome Saturday.

ìWe played as hard as we could. They were just a better team. They were more physical then we were,î said Vikings coach Dennis Dahl. Dahl said his kids have nothing to be ashamed of. The Vikings went 11-1 overall, went 9-0 in dominating the Northwest A league during the regular season, won two playoff games, including a thrilling 22-21 overtime win over Onalaska, and met their goal of making it to the Gridiron Classic.

ì11-1 is not too bad ... itís not too bad at all,î said Dahl.

All year long, Orcas went up against bigger and more powerful squads, but found a way to dominate through their experience and athleticism, and by having a killer instinct, scoring quickly and consistently after their opponents turned the ball over. Along the way, the Vikings beat a team (White Pass) with a 2,000-yard rusher, and another team (Onalaska) with three 1,000-yard rushers. Thereís no shame in finally giving up big yards to Bousman and his big offensive line. Bousman scored six touchdowns against the Friday Harbor Wolverines earlier this year, and is a 800-meter state track champion.

Tacoma Baptist (10-2) will play a 12-0 Colfax team for the state championship this weekend. Believe it or not, that Crusaders won-loss record is deceiving. Their two losses came against Meridian, a AA powerhouse, and Holy Cross, a AAA-level school in Canada.

This was a senior-heavy Vikings team and they will graduate most of their starters. It was the last high school game for Cory and Randy Harrington, Saul Sasan, Steven Johnson, Sam Kenady, Chris Sanders, Rob Harvey and Noah Cline (who came back from a broken ankle in only five weeks to play in this game). After the game, all the seniors got together under the stands, hugged parents and teammates and were cheered by the huge throng of horn-wearing fans who made the trip down from Orcas Island. Dahl said the support from the Orcas fans was great all season.

Dahl said he isnít worrying yet about rebuilding next year and figuring out how heís going to replace all those graduating seniors. ìRight now, Iím just going to enjoy my family and the holidays and go to a few basketball games,î he said.

Deceptive score

Despite the apparently lopsided score, this game was actually very competitive until halfway through the fourth quarter. Though the Vikings were having trouble containing Bousman and the rest of the Crusadersí running game, they made some big plays of their own to stay within striking distance until late.

Much like the Onalaska game the week before, the Vikings got off to a terrible start, giving up a long touchdown on the Crusadersí first play from scrimmage. Bousman ran 57 yards to put Tacoma Baptist up 7-0 only 19 seconds into the game.

Orcas certainly didnít roll over, however. The Vikings defense held on the Crusaders next couple of possessions, then late in the first quarter, Orcas lightning struck.

Sasan started the drive with a 40-yard romp down the sideline to set up a first-and-10 on the 30-yard line. Two plays later, Cory Harrington hit Randy, who had gotten behind two Crusader defensive backs, with a 28-yard touchdown pass. Mitch Commet kicked the extra point to tie it 7-7.

The Orcas defense came up big again in the second quarter, holding the Crusaders to a field goal after they had a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line.

Orcas got the ball at midfield on the ensuing kick-off, but couldnít convert a fourth-and-6, giving the ball up on downs with three minutes left in the half. The Crusaders showed one of the differences between them and Onalaska as they ran a perfect clock drill down the field, scoring a touchdown with 17 seconds left to make it 17-7.

Bousman scored his 40-yard touchdown with 8:18 left in the third quarter to make it 24-7.

Down by 17 points, this might have been time for the Vikings to hang their heads, but instead, they did what theyíve been doing all season long ñ they snagged a turnover and struck quickly.

Jordan Gage recovered a Bousman fumble at the 43-yard line, and on the very next play, Cory Harrington hit Sasan crossing over the middle of the field with a 57-yard TD. That score made it 24-13, and suddenly Orcas had the momentum, and was down only 11 points with 18 minutes left in the game.

The Vikings continued to hold on until the fourth, as the defense stiffened again inside the 10-yard line, forcing the Crusaders to kick a short field goal to make it 27-13, with 11:58 left in the game. That kept the Vikings within range, but, playing without an injured Sasan, who left the game with a bad hip, Orcas couldnít get close to the end zone after that. The Crusaders scored one last touchdown with 6:51 left to make it 34-13.

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