Vale Claims District 3 Football Title With Victory Over Burns

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VALE – The Vale Vikings football team will enter a run for a state title as the champions of the 3A District 3 after blanking the Burns Hilanders, 20-0 on Friday, Oct. 29 in Vale.

The Viks will now host the first round of state play against Sutherlin on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.

Vale stayed with the ground game against the Hilander defense, carrying the ball 44 times for 243 yards. Total offense for the game was 314 yards for the Vikings.

Leading the ground game was Nathan Kimball. His 22 carries amassed 140 yards and two trips to the end zone. Kimball first scored early in the second quarter on a shirt 3-yard run for Vale’s first score. Just a few minutes later, Kimball took off on a 44-yard scamper for his second score of the game.

The Viking’s third score came in the air as quarterback Tanner Steele hooked up with John Wolfe on a 17-yard pass play with 6 minutes, 54 seconds left in the game.

Even with the win, Vale coach Jeff Aldred sees a pattern of great concern. The Vikings have been able to move the ball up and down the field with success before stumbling in the red zone with turnovers in the last few games.

“We need to start faster and get points on the board early as we get into the playoffs,” said Aldred. “We also need to convert in the red zone. The turnovers will hurt us as we play these teams from across the state.”

Aldred also has kind words for a young Burns team, a squad that failed to take the field last season on a varsity level.

Burns is a well coached team and made us earn every play,” he said.

The Viking defense continued to be the star of the team, holding the Hilanders to 129 yards of total offense.

“Really, our defense has played lights out all season,” said Aldred.

Burns running back Hunter Kemper ended the game early with a horrendous injury. Prior to a ride to the hospital, Kemper had 33 yards on 10 carries to lead the Hilanders. Quarterback Jaden Tiller was 7-for-20 for 59 yards and one interception.

As Vale enters state playoffs, Aldred is pleased with multiple aspects of the game, minus the turnover issue.

“Nathan (Kimball) is playing better every game and is a tough kid to bring down,” he said. “Eli (Aldred) had his best game this year against Burns. We played hard and the competitiveness of this team really showed through.”

Here is a little information about Vale’s Saturday opponent, the Sutherlin Bulldogs.

-Coached by Josh Gary, the Bulldogs finished the season with wins over Phoenix, Oakland, Valley Catholic, Lakeview and a forfeit victory over St. Mary’s of Medford. Sutherlin, 5-3 overall, lost to Warrenton, South Umpqua and lost big, 6-68 to Cascade Christian. In the loss, the Bulldogs were without senior running back Adan Diaz.

– The Bulldogs have seven returning starters from last season, all playing on both sides of the ball. Primarily a running team, don’t expect to see an all-out air game on Saturday between the Vikings and Bulldogs.

Vale and Sutherlin last met on November 3, 2018 in the first round of the state playoffs, The Vikings on that day had an easy game, downing the Bulldogs 49-7.