Vikings Open In Dominating Fashion

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John L. Braese

UMATILLA – A positive sign a game will go well is running back the opening kickoff. That is exactly what occurred as the Vale football team opened the season with a 46-6 victory over Santiam Christian on the neutral field of Umatilla High School on Saturday, Sept. 2.

The game was an early showdown of top 10 teams in the preseason coaches’ poll with Vale coming into the game picked third in the state and Santiam Christian ranked sixth.

Vale junior Landon Haberman can lay claim to the first score of the year for the Vikings as he took the opening kickoff 50 yards back to the Wolverines end zone for Vale’s first score with just seconds off the clock. From that point moving forward, two things took place. The Vikings, known for defense, proved finding the ball carrier still is the backbone of the team. Secondly, Vale’s typical run game has been augmented by an air attack.

The Viking defense held the Wolverines scoreless and to only a single yard of offense in the first half. On the offensive side of the ball, senior quarterback Colten Stepleton connected on 11 passes on 14 attempts for 213 yards and five scores with no interceptions.

The Viks may see a 100-yard receiver this season. Kase Schaffeld had three catches for 86 yards while Brooks Haueter hauled in three catches while going for 62 yards. Skyler Cade also pulled down three catches and 52 yards.

The Viking offense ended with 320 yards of total offense while the defense held Santiam Christian to 148 yards, 147 of those coming in the second half with Vale starting to bench starters. Vale also picked off Wolverine quarterback Daniel Fosdick on three occasions, two of those courtesy of Leland Tamez. Versus the Viking secondary, Fosdick ended the game 7-for-13 for 90 yards.

Many thanks to Sarah Peterson Cook for the great pictures of the game.

“For a first game, I was pleased with the limited mistakes on both sides of the ball,” said Vale coach Jeff Aldred. “We started fast and that is the best-case scenario. Many players on the team had a really good game. This is a veteran group and we know what we have and the goals with this team.”

The game also proved to be relatively error free for a first time on the field as the Vikings were penalized six times for only 54 yards.

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