EASTON - For the second-straight week, Kingsburg’s defense kept its team in the game, holding Washington Union (1-1) scoreless in the fourth quarter en route to a 19-13 non-league victory over the Panthers at John Ventura Stadium on Friday.
Vikings head coach David Wilson admired the grit his team showed coming off an emotional win over San Joaquin Memorial last week.
“The guys battled and they persevered through adversity,” Wilson said. “You can take your hat off to Washington Union, they’re a real good football team. They have a couple of really good players and some athletes that made tough for us and they played hard.”
The Vikings improved to 2-0 to start the season and their defense held a Washington Union squad that scored 42 points in a week one win over Madera. With Kingsburg’s defense holding opponents to 14 points or less in the first two weeks, its offense hasn’t shown the same explosiveness as last season, scoring 29 points in two games.
With their offense scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter, it could lead to momentum for the Vikings heading into this week’s home opener against Monache, but Wilson said the unit needs better execution heading into the third game of the season.
“On offense we’re still trying to find that click and we’re getting there,” Wilson said. “We showed good moments of it and there’s times that we’re kind of scratching our heads. A lot of early season mistakes and we could definitely execute better on offense.”
Down 13-7 in the fourth quarter, quarterback Jett Jackson scored the Vikings first offensive touchdown on a 5-yard run, tying the score 13-13 with 9:36 to play. Nearly over two minutes later, the Vikings went on top 19-13 after Alfred Carpenter ran for a 7-yard touchdown with 7:32 on the clock. Brian Jimenez missed the extra point after both scores.
Carpenter rushed for 70 yards on 16 carries while Jackson was contained on 12 carries for 28 yards.
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“Alfred, he’s slowly coming along as one of our main talibacks,” Wilson said. “Alfred is an explosive player and it was good to see him on the board.”
The Vikings passing attack was held in check for most of the game, gaining 86 yards. Kingsburg was outgained offensively 260-194. Micah Spomer caught 61 of the Vikings passing yards on five receptions. Jackson didn’t throw an interception, but the offense lost the turnover battle 2-1 with two fumbles.
After a scoreless first quarter, Kingsburg gained a 7-0 advantage after Jackson, who also plays safety, returned an interception for a touchdown midway in the second quarter. Washington Union tied it up after Panthers quarterback Jayden Green threw an 8-yard touchdown to Tory Horton with 2:55 left in the first half.
Washington Union took a 13-7 lead after Calvin Ervin ran for a 20-yard touchdown and Canaan Campbell missed the extra point.
The Panthers had more first downs (17-13) and held the ball longer than the Vikings (21:19) with a time of possession of 26:41. However, Kingsburg did have a higher third down conversion percentage at 46. 2 (6-of-13) compared to Washington Union’s percentage of 41.7 (5-of-12). The Vikings defense also had two sacks - by Lucas Irigoyen and Josh Jackson - while their offensive line did not allow Jackson to be sacked.
Kingsburg will start a three-game home stretch, starting with Monache (0-2) in its home opener this Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start. The Marauders fell 23-14 at home to Chavez last Friday. In last year’s matchup, the Vikings defeated Monache 45-28 on the road.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anybody,” Wilson said. “We have to bring our ‘A’ game every game.”