It was a battle Friday night on the football field at Valencia High School, as the Vikings fell just short 17-14 in their season opener against the Arbor View Aggies from Las Vegas.
Valencia (0-1) stood toe-for-toe with Arbor View (2-0) for most of the game, even taking a 14-7 lead at the end of the third quarter. However a 56-yard touchdown run from Aggies’ senior running back Kyle Graham in the beginning of the fourth quarter swung the momentum away from the Vikings, and they could not recuperate.
“We fought throughout. Blows against blows,” said Vikings linebacker Ben Seymour. “It was a heavyweight fight, haymaker after haymaker, and it was going to be the last one standing. Unfortunately it wasn’t us.”
Arbor View put points on the board early in the first quarter, when Graham punched it in to the end zone from the 2-yard line.
Valencia answered two drives later, as quarterback Davis Cop drove the Vikings down the field with a 31-yard completion to wide receiver Mitchell Torres and a 17-yard pass to wideout Kohler Shockley. Senior running back Luring Paialii finished the job, charging in for a 2-yard score.
Paialii and junior Jake Santos filled in for starting running back Jayvaun Wilson, who is expected to miss the entire preleauge slate as he recovers from a partially torn lateral collateral ligament and hyperextended knee.
Santos scored the Vikings’ other touchdown in the beginning of the third quarter, catching a screen pass from Cop and taking it to the house for a 70-yard score.
“You can expect a lot of that this season,” Santos said referring to his touchdown run. “I’m also hoping to get some picks this season. I just want to do good for my team and play for the man next to me.”
The Vikings had a chance to score at the end of the first half as Shockley intercepted Aggies quarterback Logan Bollinger. Valencia drove the ball to the 4-yard line with seven seconds left in the half. Valencia tried to attempt one more pass instead of going for the field goal and Cop didn’t release the ball in time as the clock ran out.
“Our O-line worked really hard all game. We need to do the little things to help them out and be quicker in the pass game,” Cop said. “I personally need to get better with my passing, my reads.”
Cop threw two interceptions in the first half, and was never able to build a rhythm as he was sacked twice and hurried several times.
After Arbor View tied the game early in the fourth quarter, Valencia could not move the ball down the field. The Vikings gained only one first down in four final quarter drives and also lost a fumble on their own 10-yard line, which led to the Aggies’ game-winning field goal with less than two minutes to go.
While the end result wasn’t the one head coach Larry Muir was hoping for, he was still proud of his team for sticking with a tough opponent.
“I’m proud of our toughness of our guys. I was proud of the way they played,” Muir said. “That’s a really good football team, a very physical football team and our guys went step-for-step with them. I’m proud of them from them standpoint.”
The Vikings will look to rebound next week when they take on Silverado in their first road game of the season.