Vikings football team eyes league title as wins continue

The Orcas Vikings football team traveled to West Seattle on Oct. 16 for a showdown with league foe Seattle Lutheran Saints.

Unlike last week’s game, which was buffeted by wind and rain, this game was immersed in brilliant Northwest sun and cool autumn air. Assistant Coach Mark Padbury smiled as he stepped onto the grass of West Seattle Stadium and said, “Nice sunshine, let’s rock.”

The Vikings went into the game not knowing what to expect from the Saints who were just 1-2 in league but had dominated Darrington and let a fourth quarter lead slip away in LaConner the week before. The Saints took the kickoff but failed to get a first down. The Orcas defense had set the tone for the game early. The offense also wasted little time in establishing their game by driving the ball 75 yards ending with a 41 yard touchdown run by Junior quarterback Robbie Padbury and an 8-0 first quarter lead after a successful two point conversion run by Michael Langworthy.

A Jake Zier fumble recovery deep in Saints territory lead to a 1 yard touch down plunge by Junior Aubrey Schermerhorn. Another two point conversion by Padbury made the score 16-0. But the Saints were not about to roll over. The ensuing kickoff was returned 88 yards by Saint star Fred Lesko. The crucial extra point was blocked and the Vikings lead 16-6. The Saints struck again after a Viking’s fake punt failed. A 32 yard run by RJ Son and a successful two point conversion trimmed the Viking lead to 16-14 at the end of the half.

At halftime, head coach Scott Harris said, “The game is closer than we hoped. Our message to the team is that we are not playing to our potential. Seattle Lutheran is working hard and we need to step up our intensity.”

In the third quarter Viking senior Michael Langworthy flashed his speed around the right side and glided to the end zone stretching the Viking lead to 22-14. Padbury’s extra point kick was blocked but the Vikings seemed to be taking the momentum back. But momentum proved to be a fickle friend. On the next possession Lesko exploded up the middle of the Orcas defense for another touchdown. The 45 yard burst was followed by a critical defensive stop of Seattle’s two point conversion attempt as the Vikings came up strong by knocking down a pass in the deep corner of the end zone to maintain their lead at 22-20 going into the fourth quarter.

Jacob Hansen and the Vikings offensive line was not about to be denied this crucial win. Hansen broke Seattle Lutheran’s backs with a 40 yard touchdown run with four minutes to play to salt the game away. The Vikings defense could not be budged as they held the Saints in check as time expired ensuring the 28-20 victory.

The Viking backs rushed for 305 yards while the scoring was spread around to four different players. The Orcas defense held Seattle Lutheran to just 124 total yards of offense and a mere four first downs.

“The win brings us to 6-1,” Harris said. “Any win is a good win and tough to come by in our league. The boys continue to work very hard and are focused on success. We have three games left in the season. All are against our northern division rivals Darrington, Concrete and LaConner. The league title is still in the balance and within our grasp. “

The Vikings’ next game is at Darrington on Oct. 23.