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VALE – The Vale football team enters the state 3A state playoffs with a home game and seeded 11th after a 40-7 win over the Burns Hilanders on Friday, Oct. 28 at Hawley Stadium. The win completes a perfect 3A Special District 4 season for the Vikings with a 4-0 record.
The Viks now open the playoff season versus the visiting Siuslaw Vikings on Saturday, Nov. 5 with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Vale defense once again played a starring role in the victory as Burns placed a late score on the board in the waning minutes of the game after the Viking starters were pulled. In the last two games of the season, Vale has outscored their opponents 85-7.
“Our defense played lights out the whole game,” said Vale coach Jeff Aldred. “Our offense is playing well and this is the time of year it all has to come together. We are at that point.”
Vale shut down the running threat of the Hilanders, holding Burns to a negative 23 yards on the ground. For the night, Burns had 104 total yards of offense with 80 of those yards coming on the final drive of the game. Hunter Kemper, the primary threat from the Hilanders to put up big numbers, was held negative four yards on nine carries.
Vale was able to spread the ball around for the run game led by Eli Aldred’s 117 yards on 16 touches of the ball.
“Eli really played well tonight,” Aldred said. “Offensively, we did exactly what we had planned and controlled the tempo of the game.”
Eight Viking players combined for 206 rushing yards and when needed, Vale quarterback Colten Stepleton completed 11-for-23 for 182 yards and no interceptions. In addition to his rushing yards, Aldred led the receiving corps with three catches for 66 yards.
The lone negative for Vale was seeing yellow flags during the game. The Vikings were penalized on nine occasions for 95 yards.
“It was a tough night for us,” said first-year Burns coach Matt Bruck.
The Hilanders finish the year with a 2-6 overall record and a 2-2 3A District 4 record, good enough for third place in the final league standings and one spot away from a state playoff appearance.
Bruck will see a return next season of the vast majority of the Hilanders as only four seniors took the field this year.
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