Vale Grabs Homecoming Win, 12-6

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VALE – High school football coaches are notorious for saying it after every game and Vale head coach Jeff Aldred was no different after his Vikings downed New Plymouth for a Homecoming victory.

A win is a win,” stated Aldred.

The outcome of the low scoring game was not even evident until halfway through the fourth quarter. For lovers of long drives with no points to show, this was the game. For lovers of defense stepping up at the right time, this was the game. For old school fans who believe a team should be the victor in their own Homecoming game, this was the game.

For the first quarter, the story was long drives and no points. As the second quarter started, zeroes blazed on the score board. A new Plymouth fumble and subsequent recovery by Vale set the Vikings up deep in New Plymouth territory and the Homecoming fans had reason to cheer as Tanner Steele completed a 7-yard scoring pass to John Wolfe. However, the play first called a score was discussed and rediscussed by the officiating crew and ultimately overturned as a “no catch.”

Undeterred, the Viks did what had already worked-run the same play. A 7-yard pass from Steele to Wolfe was again successful and at the 7 minute, 45 second mark in the second quarter, Vale led 6-0.

Related: Photo Gallery – Vale v New Plymouth – John Braese

New Plymouth answered with a big play-a really big play. With 5:43 left in the half, New Plymouth’s Casey Arritola connected with Connor Hawker on a pass and run totaling 85 yards. At the half, the score stood tied at 6.

The third quarter was a copy of the first quarter. Both teams put up long drives marked at the conclusion by stingy defense from the opponent.

With 4:27 left in the game and the score still knotted up at 6, it was again the Steele/Wolfe combination to secure the Viking win. The play this time covered 37 yards. As the buzzer sounded, Vale grabbed the 12-6 Homecoming win.

“Our defense played really well,” said Aldred as Vale limited the Pilgrims to only six points. For the game, New Plymouth put up 276 total yards of offense with Vale making the defensive stops when they counted.

“I like how our offense was resilient and continued to push after we were stopped,” Aldred said. “As a team, we stuck to our game plan.”

The game was not without problems for the Vikings. Multiple times, the Viks marched down the field only to be stopped in the red zone.

“We have to be more efficient when we have those chances to score,” Aldred said. “We can’t do all that work to get down the field only to shoot ourselves with a penalty or allow a sack and come away without any points. We know what we can do and need to play within ourselves.”

Now four games in the season, Aldred said he and the coaching staff also need to make some decisions on the offensive line. During the previous outings, players have been moved around and some new faces have entered the line.

“We need to find the group that works now and just stick with them,” he said.

For the 12 points, Vale put up 267 yards of total offense with 137 yards on the ground and 130 yards in the air. Steele was 14-for-28 and most importantly, no interceptions. Wolfe had 7 receptions for 77 yards and the two scores.

Steele also led the ground game, taking off from the backfield 14 times for a total of 114 yards. Nathan Kimball had four carries for 23 yards.

Vale’s next game brings some interesting dynamics. The Vikings host the 4A Ontario Tigers, a team standing at 0-3 for the year.

Flash back to March 12 of this year. Vale, favored, was in Blackaby Stadium and suffered a 14-16 loss. The game was to be Ontario’s only victory of the short season.

“We have a lot of players on this team that remember that game and are hyped for this time around,” Aldred said. “The kids will be ready for the Tigers.”