Vikings stop Cougars, win 4th in a row

Vikings stop Cougars, win 4th in a row

Video

Vikings stop Cougars, win 4th in a row

By

That 0-2 start the Vikings had has fast disappeared from their virtual rearview mirror.

North Salinas High’s football team prevailed 29-15 over Christopher on a chilly Friday night at Rabobank Stadium.

With the win, the Vikings improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the Monterey Bay League’s Pacific Division. It’s the team’s fourth consecutive win.

And after two ugly wins against rival Salinas and MTAL defending champion Carmel, the Vikings are thinking more than just the 10 games slated to them.

The team’s high-scoring offense — the squad came into Friday night’s game as the highest-scoring team in Monterey County — produced just enough.

Josh Wilson’s 55-yard interception return for a touchdown with 6:09 to go in the game sent the Viking faithful into an uproar as the home team went ahead 29-15. That came three plays after the Vikings retook the lead on a wild possession.

With 9:32 to go, the Vikings started at their own 26-yard line but went three-and-out, or so everyone thought. The Vikings punted the ball away, and the ball hit the foot of a Christopher returner, who tried to get out of the way. The Christopher returner knew it right away and jumped on the ball, but several North Salinas defenders kept it away from him.

All of a sudden, North Salinas’ drive was still alive, but now at Christopher’s 24-yard line. Two plays later, Justyn Gutierrez threw the ball to Randy Ivey, who leaped above a Christopher defender to get it for a touchdown, putting North Salinas ahead 22-15 with 6:30 to go in the fourth quarter.

Ivey finished with two touchdown receptions thrown by Gutierrez.

Gutierrez ran for a two-yard touchdown of his own. That came with 7:15 to go in the third quarter to put North Salinas ahead 15-7.

It was Christopher who scored first. After the first nine minutes of the game where the two teams struggled so badly to do anything that winless teams would laugh at them, it was Christopher that got some momentum going first.

With 3:22 to go in the first quarter, Christopher started at its 37-yard line and took advantage of two North Salinas penalties to get to the 13-yard line. From there, quarterback Sterling Montgomery snaked through traffic and ran to the corner of the end zone, giving Christopher a 6-0 lead 1:37 to go in the first quarter.

North Salinas answered with a 10-play drive capped off by Ivey’s first touchdown reception. On the extra-point attempt, the Vikings faked it, and Gutierrez tossed the ball softly to Carlos Prieto, giving the Vikings an 8-7 lead.

From there, the Vikings turned to their defense to fend off Christopher long enough.

Gutierrez finished with 126 yards passing and 51 yards rushing. Ivey had 79 yards receiving.

Montgomery tallied 205 yards passing for Christopher. Rashon Mills, the go-to running back for Christopher early, finished with 60 yards on 11 carries. Trevor Hadnot totaled 83 yards rushing.

Seven different Christopher players caught a pass, including Montgomery on a trick play late in the fourth quarter that went for 13 yards. Tyson Hill led all Christopher receivers with 77 yards in the air.

The Vikings have already surpassed the win totals combined of the past two years. It’s also the first time since 2009 the Vikings have won two games in league play.

When they get back on the Rabobank Stadium turf next week against Watsonville, they will try for a fifth consecutive win, something the team hasn’t done since 2008, the last time it was in the postseason.

Christopher, meanwhile plays host to Alvarez at Gilroy High.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports