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John L. Braese
VALE – The Vale football team again saw the Santiam Christian Eagles on Friday, Nov. 3, the second time this season the two 3A squads took the field. Unlike the opener back on Sept. 2, this game determined which team went on to quarterfinal play in the 3A playoffs.
For the fourth straight game, the Vikings held their opponents scoreless, winning over Santiam Christian 33-0 and advancing to a showdown with Cascade Christian.
All the action took place in the first half with Vale putting up 19 points in the first quarter followed by a 14-point second quarter.
The Vikings put up 281 yards of offense in the first half, finishing the game with 298 yards of total offense. Kase Schaffeld picked up two scores, carrying the ball 10 times for 30 yards. The passing game was also in play with Colten Stepleton ending the game 12-for-15 for 225 yards. Brooks Haueter was the target of choice, hauling in seven catches for 103 yards.
“The offense was balanced and we scored at will in the first half,” said Vale coach Jeff Aldred.
As it has been throughout the season, the Viking defense again was dominant, holding the Eagles to a mere 75 yards and no points for the game.
“This is the best defensive line I have coached,” Aldred said, praising the players who stuffed any attempts at running by Santiam Christian and had Eagles quarterback Daniel Fosdick scrambling much of the night.
A tight officiating crew did tag the Vikings for 95 yards in penalties, including a score called back.
Aldred did find a negative in Vale again taking a first round victory at home, one that cannot be fixed on the practice field by the players or by the coaching staff watching film-hometown support.
“This team has worked hard for months to get to this point and the stands should have been filled for a game like this,” the Vale coach said. “The student section should have been packed and loud. This team deserves more support than we received on Friday. It is disappointing Vale continues to win and make playoff runs and the fan support is just not there. The boys deserve more.”
Viking fans were cheering for an upset on Saturday, Nov. 4 as Warrenton traveled to Cascade Christian for a first-round playoff. An upset by Warrenton would have handed Vale a second home playoff game. It was not to be as Cascade Christian blanked Warrenton 40-0.
Vale, the seventh seed, now travels to second seeded Cascade Christian on Saturday, Nov. 10 in quarterfinal play. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m., noon mountain time.
The quarterfinal matchup pits two perfect teams, Vale at 9-0 and Cascade Christian at 10-0, for the first time since 2015. In a year where the Vikings went on to a state title, Vale downed Cascade Christian 48-38 in a quarterfinal game on Nov. 14, 2015.
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