EXETER - A three touchdown performance from Blake Spomer and a late fourth quarter goal-line stand from the Vikings’ defense propelled Kingsburg to a 21-14 road win over the Exeter Monarchs (3-3, 0-1 CSL) in the Central Sequoia League opener on Friday.
After Spomer’s third touchdown gave the Vikings (6-0, 1-0 CSL) a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Monarchs moved the ball all the way down to Kingsburg’s 3-yard line, where the Vikings forced the Monarchs to turn the ball over on downs.
“You got to take your hat off to Exeter, they’re a much improved football team,” Kingsburg coach David Wilson said. “We didn’t help ourselves out with a lot of things and we got a little unlucky with some injuries.”
Spomer finished the night with 198 yards on 21 carries and all of his touchdowns were scores of 10 yards or more. The junior ran for a 39-yard touchdown in the first quarter, followed by a 22-yard rush to the endzone in the second quarter, and completing the hat trick with a 16-yard score in the fourth quarter.
One of the Monarchs two touchdowns was a 95-yard kickoff return that cut the Vikings lead to 14-7 in the second quarter. Exeter tied the game 14-14 after a 2-yard score on the ground from Nathaniel Heath in the second quarter.
Spomer’s fourth quarter touchdown was the only score of the second half.
Kingsburg did go through adversity en route to the win, losing quarterback Jett Jackson with a knee injury in the second quarter. Before Jackson left the game, he completed two-of-five attempts for 24 yards while running for 40 yards on eight carries.
Spomer was under center for the reminder of the quarter due to backup quarterback Travis Hall being inactive with a toe injury and third-stringer Noah Jimenez, who usually plays receiver, serving a first half suspension. Jimenez was suspended for a half due to being disqualified for an illegal hit during the Vikings’ previous game against El Diamante on Sept. 20.
Wilson said Jimenez does have experience at quarterback at a lower level, but he hasn’t received practice reps at the position this season.
With Jimenez at quarterback, the junior didn’t complete a pass, but the Vikings continued to successfully run the ball, finishing the night with 292 yards on the ground.
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Even though he didn’t complete a pass, Jimenez used his legs to move the chains, rushing for 31 yards on six carries.
“He was real gritty,” Wilson said about Jimenez. “We had a pretty good running game together and he made a couple of plays. You got to take your hat off to a guy like that, who hasn’t played quarterback in a couple years and ending up sitting out the whole first half.”
Wilson didn’t confirm the severity of Jackson’s injury and stated that the junior is “day-to-day.” With Jackson and Hall possibly not being available against Central Valley Christian this week, Wilson said Jimenez will likely be the starter in the pivotal CSL matchup. Wilson added that it’s also possible that Hall could return this week.
“If you give Noah a week of practice and when you game plan with him, I think he’s different,” Wilson said. “I think he has the ability. That’s probably the way we’ll more than likely go if Travis can’t go and we’re still crossing our fingers with Travis. He’s getting better everyday. It’s a situation that you want to make sure he’s healthy.”
Despite multiple injuries this season, the Vikings have found ways to win and remain undefeated at 6-0 overall. After earning a tough CSL win over Exeter, the league schedule doesn’t get easier for Kingsburg, as three of the team’s next four games will be against playoff contending squads.
The Vikings’ next four remaining games will be against CVC (4-2, 1-0 CSL), Dinuba (2-4, 0-1), Hanford West (1-5, 0-1), and Selma (5-1, 1-0).
Kingsburg will play on the road against against CVC on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Cavaliers were one of the two teams that the Vikings shared CSL title with last year. In last year’s meeting, Kingsburg defeated CVC 19-16 at home. After an 0-2 start, the Cavaliers have won four-straight games including a 35-34 victory over Dinuba last week.
“They’re coming in a very hot football team,” Wilsons said. “Anytime you go into Dinuba and beat them, you’re playing pretty good football and that’s what they did. It’s going to be a tough one.”