Holtville Vikings fend off Mt. Empire Red Hawks

Holtville QB (#45) Noah Jongeward drops back to scan secondary.

HOLTVILLE – The Holtville Vikings hosted the Mt. Empire Red Hawks from Pine Valley Friday at Holtville’s Homecoming, an evening that traditionally invites alumni from previous graduating classes. After the crowning of this year’s homecoming court, the Viking Varsity football team held up its end of the night’s festivities with a win.

The Vikings came into the contest rested after a bye week, but spent no leisure time in the opening drive as they attacked, moving across the field pillaging away on 72 yards with a series that took about a half dozen plays until achieving a successful touchdown pass from Noah Jongeward to Jose Devoux for six points.

The Vikings earned a successful extra point attempt to put them up 7-0, but the Mt. Empire Red Hawks responded by driving over 40 yards to come up with a 30-yard field goal leaving the score board 7-3 with just over 5:00 minutes left in the first quarter.

Three minutes into the second quarter, Holtville’s quarterback was sacked on consecutive plays, putting the Vikings’ backs against their own 20-yard line. A fourth down punt and a missed assignment on the Vikings’ offensive line allowed for a blocked punt that the Red Hawks recovered in the Vikings’ end zone for a Mt. Empire touchdown. The Hawks kicked a good extra point, putting the score at 10-7, and giving Mt. Empire their only lead in the game.

The Red Hawks flexed their prowess through the air with a series of deep throws moving them into the Vikings’ 4-yard line. But the Vikings’ defense plundered any Mt. Empire progress with an interception of their own in the Vikings’ end zone to give the ball back to Holtville at their own 20-yard line with just over a minute left before halftime.

After the interception recovery, the Vikings went into an air offense, but threw their own interception, giving the Red Hawks the ball back at midfield as the teams headed into halftime.

The second half of the game began with the Vikings kicking the ball off to the Red Hawks, but Mt. Empire could not get any traction on offense and and punted to the Vikings from within their own 20-yard line.

The Red Hawks’ kick went vertical like a geyser and came back down giving the Vikings the ball at the Red Hawks’ 31-yard line, giving Holtville a great opportunity in the Mt. Empire end zone.

Just like the opening drive of the game, the Vikings spent little time finding the end zone with their first possession in the second half. Viking Jacob Leyba worked the Red Hawks’ defense on the ground all night and in this series, ran into the end zone from 17 yards out. With a good point after, the Vikings went up 14-10 with just over seven minutes left on the clock.

The Mt. Empire offense sputtered under a stiffening Holtville defense in the second half, and the Vikings continued to punish the defense on the ground while keeping the ball and the clock running, sealing the final score and win for the Holtville Vikings. Now 4-3 overall, this gives the Vikings their first win in the Manzanita League (1-0). Holtville will face a challenging team in Antelope from Arizona at Birger Field in Holtville next week.