Sunday, September 27, 2009

It Came Down to One Play

Vikings fall to Weber State, 29-36
by Allison Whited, Vanguard Staff

Sad. Deflated. Empty. All of these describe the looks on the faces of the football team after the game Saturday against the Weber State Wildcats.

They should have been proud. They lost by only a single touchdown to last year's conference title holder. They kept running back Trevyn Smith, the conference's current rushing leader, to 30 yards when he came in averaging 115.7 yards per game. They played well after the Montana game, something they have struggled with historically.

Head coach Jerry Glanville said it all after the game: “No comments, just disappointment.”

So what happened?

As the clock wound down to 1:12 in the fourth quarter, the Vikings were ahead by one point, 29-28. Less than twenty minutes before the Vikings had been down 10-28. It had been a scrappy comeback, with special teams, defense, and offense scoring to edge out the Wildcats by that one single point.

All day, Wildcat quarterback Cameron Higgins had been picking on the left side of the secondary. Glanville had originally lined up cornerback DeShawn Shead, who is almost always lined up on the right side of the field, against receiver Tim Toone, but, as Glanville put it, “he kept getting into trouble.”

When Shead couldn't answer the call, Glanville put him back on the right where he's comfortable and called Tracy Ford's number to replace him. According to quarterback Drew Hubel, Ford is a team leader who practices more than anyone else on the team and is heavily laden with heart and soul.

When the Wildcats began their run that would eventually lead to a victory, they did what the defending champs would do. In six plays and 47 seconds, they drove from their own 16 to the Portland State 38, aided by a Vikings' pass interference penalty.

After a Viking timeout, Higgins hit Toone in the end zone for a touchdown. That pass looked like a pick to everyone; Ford jumped up to the ball, was in perfect position, and somehow, someway, the ball sailed through his hands.

“I thought we had a pick,” said Glanville.

Even the Wildcat head coach and quarterback thought it was an interception.

With 55 seconds left in the game, the Vikings were emotionally and physically done. The game ended on an incomplete pass to Aaron Woods.

In a game with so many positives, including Hubel going 17 of 26 for 353 yards and two touchdowns, Ray Fry tearing it up for 196 receiving yards, and freshman fullback Ben Bowen rushing for 100 yards and garnering a gaudy 6.7 yards per rush average, the only thing Glanville's men will be thinking about today is that last play.

Like Hubel said after the game, it shouldn't have come down to that one play to win the game. Bowen had fumbled on the goal line and lost possession. Kicker Zach Brown missed two field goals. The team was penalized ten times for a total of 104 yards. Adjust just a few things, and that's the game.

But sometimes it does come down to just one play. It's a lesson that the Vikings and the Wildcats would do well to learn. 


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