HOLTVILLE – Friday night’s bout charged the Holtville Vikings (1-1) with the task of holding off the undefeated Desert Mirage Rams(2-0) if they hoped to have a shot of CIF playoffs. Exceeding their task, the Vikings ended the night with a win to the tune of 30-12.
Starting with a bang, #4, David Rodriguez, returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown that was ultimately brought back due to a blocking penalty by Holtville. Beginning on their own 20 yard line, the penalty didn’t seem to matter for the Vikings, as they only needed two plays to put up the first points of the game. With an 80-yard QB keep, Holtville had scored a touchdown within the first two minutes of the games.
Unfortunately for the Rams, the Viking defense was not so generous. After a 7-play series, the Rams punted. The Vikings, after a penalty, received the ball at their own 25-yard line.
Following a fumble recovery on third down the Vikings were forced to go three-and-out.
Despite, #31, Jesus Barajas’ valiant effort pounding the ball down the middle, the Rams yet again were forced to punt away the ball.
After another fruitless series by the Vikings, the Rams fielded the ball at their own 25-yard line. Two plays later, Barajas’ efforts were finally rewarded with a 68-yard TD run, which proved to be the Rams’ only score till the fourth quarter. After a failed PAT the score was Vikings up 7-6.
In a twist of events that turned out to be the momentum changer, Desert Mirage oltville capitalizedfumbled the ball inside their own 15-yard line, and the Vikings recovered. After a few rushing attempts, #21, Josh Merten, capitalized on the Rams’ soft coverage, hauling in an 8 yard touchdown pass making the score 14-6.
Again Desert Mirage let the TD go unanswered and was forced to punt. They received a second chance when Holtville fumbled inside their own 20-yard line, giving up the ball to the Rams. It was at this point that Holtville’s defense stepped up their game, holding the Rams at the 4-yard line until halftime.
The second half was a series of turnovers, Desert Mirage giving up the ball a total of five times on fumbles. The Vikings capitalized on two of the fumbled recoveries, driving up the score 30-6 with a defensive touchdown from #6, Mason Mange, and an 8-yard QB sneak by #7, Esteban Munoz.
At the end the Vikings allowed the second, and final touchdown of the game, for the Rams on a 49-yard rush by #18, Anasthcio Becerra, ending the game 30-12.
For Head Coach, Keith Smith, this victory was especially sweet, “we knew we had a tough game against an undefeated team.” said Smith. “We’re all proud of our kids and how well they played. We’re going to keep working hard and eliminate errors, because our goal is to never stop improving.” concluded Smith.
Holtville plays at Southwest, which is (0-1) at home, next Friday night.