With most of the first half being a scoreless contest, the Sept. 13 game between the Valley Vikings and the Galt Warriors became a guessing game as to whether it’d be a defensive battle for much longer.
Toward the end of the second quarter, the Vikings broke through on a fumble recovery and returned it for a touchdown with 2:01 remaining for a 6-0 lead.
After stopping the Warriors’ offense, the Vikings immediately scored again when Kalani Hunter returned the Warriors’ punt for a touchdown and with 56 seconds remaining, led 12-0.
“I think our struggle was more on offense. Defense, they held them to no points in the first half. Anyone who knows football knows you can’t leave defense on the field that long. It fell on us on offense. We didn’t capitalize on a lot of plays we should have capitalized on and that led to Galt finally gaining some steam,” Valley coach Ellis Jenkins said afterward.
While the Viking defense had effectively stopped the Warriors in the first half, the visitors managed to move the ball consistently on a possession midway through the third quarter.
With 4:18 left, Kenny Tran scored on a two-yard play and Ethan Reece’s PAT created a five-point game.
While the Vikings were within Warrior territory on their next possession, they were unable to do much damage and the Warriors took possession.
Daniel Sloan Jr. seemingly put the Vikings on track to create some momentum at the start of the fourth quarter when he intercepted a Robert Bulahan Jr. pass; however, the Vikings would end up fumbling and Blake Beck of the Warriors recovered the fumble with 10:29 left at the Vikings’ 19-yard line.
The fourth quarter would be the heart of the Vikings’ issues as the Warriors rallied to scored 14 points and shift the attention on themselves for most of the quarter.
Bulahan Jr. scored on a 19-yard run after the fumble recovery and the PAT kick with 10:17 remaining gave the Warriors their first lead at 14-12.
“We just buckled down around the football and just got the ball moving any way we could,” Galt coach Tim Cobleigh said afterward. “It was tough to get it there because they had such big and strong linemen and they were fast, but the guys sucked it up and did a good job.”
Valley would punt on the ensuing possession and the Warriors put the ball to work, moving it quickly into Viking territory and using a series of small gains to move the ball to the Vikings’ four-yard line.
Bulahan Jr. then scored on a four-yard run with four minutes left and Reece kicked the PAT for the 21-12 lead.
The Vikings were successful in moving the ball and had receptions by Brian Garcia and Jaicee Gaffney but their comeback attempt was stymied when Bryan Velasco of the Warriors intercepted the ball with 1:47 remaining and returned it to the Vikings’ 12-yard line.
The Vikings, who have 28 players listed on their roster, saw two of their players limp off the field during the game after a play; Michael Robertson’s ankle was hurting and Will Mapp got kicked in the shin, but Jenkins noted that Mapp returned to finish out the game and that despite the team’s small numbers, it can hold its own.
“We got hit by a small roster but we have a lot of fighters. As you can see, it was 12-0 going in so we’ll bounce back,” Jenkins said.
The loss gave the Vikings an 0-3 preseason record, which they will try to remedy as they take on Foothill on the road Friday at 7:30 p.m.