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John L. Braese
Facing the Idaho’s Melba team and a 6 feet, 8 inch quarterback leading the Mustangs, the Vikings again cranked up the defensive pressure on their way to a 37-12 non-league victory. Vale remains perfect on the year and currently ranked fifth in the latest OSAA poll.
Fittingly, Vale’s first score of the game hit the scoreboard due to defense. At the 6 minute, 17 second mark of the first quarter, Jake DeVos caught the Mustang quarterback in Melba’s end zone for a safety and placed two points on the board.
Vale was not done scoring in the initial quarter of the game as Colten Stepleton picked up a three-yard run with just under three minutes left to place the Vikings up 10-0.
It was Stepleton again early in the second quarter with a seven-yard run to increase the lead to 16-0. Vale coach Jeff Aldred gambled with less than two minutes prior to the half, having the Vikings run a play on a 4th down and 13 yards to go with a pass from Stepleton to Brooks Haueter for a 20-yard score. Melba did put up a passing touchdown with 16 seconds on the clock and as the two teams hit the locker room, Vale led 22-6.
Melba started the second half with one word-passing. Slinging the ball down the field to start the third quarter, the Mustangs drove all the way to a fourth down and goal situation ending with a Haueter interception ending the drive.
Stepleton added his third rushing score in the fourth quarter, a 23-yard run and a five-yard pass from Stepelton to Leland Tamez midway in the fourth quarter ended the Viking scoring.
“With the injuries we have right now, I am pleased how this team responded tonight,” said Aldred. “The defense pulled Melba out of their offensive plans early and they just could not run against us.”
Aldred said he was also happy with the offense spreading the ball around, but is looking forward to a game where the Viks are at 100 percent instead of juggling players around to fill spots lacking due to injuries.
Vale put up 337 yards of total offense, evenly balanced with 186 yards passing and 151 yards on the ground. Stepleton ended 12-for-17 passing for 186 yards and an interception. Haueter was Stepleton’s main target throughout the game, hauling in seven catches for 124 yards. Stepleton led the ground game, carrying 12 times for 98 yards, just shy of a 100-yard game.
Vale’s defense held Melba, the third ranked 2A team in Idaho, to 243 yards with Bues ending the game 20-for-26 for 161 yards.
Takeaways From The Game
- Celebrating Homecoming, good to see the stands full for a Vale game.
- Vale has yet to meet a team able to run consistently against the Viking defense.
- Vale enters the league season starting Friday after going 4-0 playing a tough non-league schedule.
- Like many teams this time of the season, the one dark cloud for the Vikings is the injury list continuing to grow.
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