HOLTVILLE — The Vincent Memorial High football team is still undefeated but it didn’t come easy, as they had to overcome a lot of obstacles to beat Holtville High, 14-7, in a Manzanita League game here Friday.
The Scots overcame a rushing game that tallied 33 yards, losing the time of possession battle, two turnovers, nine penalties and even a halftime wardrobe change for the Vikings to earn the victory.
Vincent Memorial quarterback Hector Robinson factored in another obstacle.
“I think it was more about the [referees] tonight … but it’s also our fault for not being ready,” he said.
On the other side of the field, coming off a bye week the Vikings had two strong weeks of practice to prepare for the Scots and planned on making this their statement win of the season. Things didn’t go as planned.
Every time Holtville was able to build momentum, mistakes brought them back down to earth.
In the first quarter, the Scots first drive began inside their seven-yard line and after two tackles for loss and an incomplete pass, Holtville was poised to get the ball with great field position.
On the fourth down punt attempt from the end zone the Vikings were a little too aggressive and received a roughing the kicker penalty that gave the Scots 15 yards and a first down.
Two plays later, Robinson connected with Andres Bryan for a 78-yard catch and run touchdown putting the Scots up 7-0.
In the second quarter while the Scots were driving into the redzone, Holtville’s Ben Abatti jumped in front of a Robinson pass for the interception and the momentum swung.
The Vikings began their drive on the six-yard line and charged deep into Scot territory, but again a few penalties forced the Vikings into a fourth-and-long.
Viking quarterback Anthony Castro took a rollout and ran for several yards but scampered out of bounds right in front of the first down marker giving the ball back to the Scots to end the half.
Vincent Memorial only had 18 yards rushing at the end of the first half.
“They hit pretty hard and tackled good, but for us there was just a disconnection from our line,” Vincent Memorial running back Fernando Santana said.
Having a stifled running attack, the Scots looked to Robinson to carry the load and set the pace offensively in the second half.
In the third quarter, Robinson connected for another touchdown pass, this time finding Juan Pablo Ruiz for a 27-yard score making it a 14-0 game.
“I saw everything open all night,” Robinson said. “[The receivers] did a pretty good job they always run good routes and are where they’re supposed to be.”
Robinson finished 7-for-15 for 199 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
It was a struggle all night for the Vikings’ pass defense.
“That’s a point for improvement for us … these guys have gotten better as the season has progressed, but they are all guys who have never started on varsity before this year,” Smith said. “But this has been a year of learning for them and next year as returns should be better.”
Late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings found the endzone after a fumble recover and run by Brice Bolin to the Scot 10-yard line.
Three plays later, Abatti ran it in from three yards out to get the Vikings on the board, 14-7.
A failed, onside kick recovery attempt ended the Vikings night giving the Scots the win.
“I knew this game was going to be tough, they are a good team and well coached, and always play tough,” Smith said. “Games like this always come down to who makes the fewest mistakes and we made a couple of errors that were big, but we still had some bright spots tonight.”
Holtville (1-8, 1-2 ML) will finish the season in their annual rivalry game as they travel to play Calipatria in the Axe Game at 7 p.m. Friday.
“If we come out and play with the heart we had tonight, I’ll be happy with the result,” Smith said.
Vincent Memorial (9-0, 3-0 ML) will have a tough final test as they will play at Crawford to determine this year’s league champions.
“Being undefeated right now means nothing, we haven’t won anything … there’s still more” said Robinson.