By Steve Knez
BurbankNBeyond Staff Writer
The Midget Green Vikings (8-0) can finally start playing some real football. They clinched an undefeated regular season on Saturday with a 50-0 victory over the Santa Clarita Apaches at Burbank High School and now look forward to entering the playoffs as the number one seed.
It was the third shutout in a row for the Vikings who outscored their opponents 144-0 during that stretch. “Winning with class” was the theme of the game as the Vikings worked on fine tuning their well-oiled machine in preparation for next Saturday’s first round opponent, the Santa Clarita Aztecs.
The Vikings biggest hurdle on Saturday was Mother Nature as light early morning showers left the field damp and the ball slippery. In the first quarter, they lost two fumbles and had one dropped pass. However, the defense was running on all cylinders. Sebastian Leal’s fumble on the 1-yard line after a 50-yard run was quickly converted into a safety by the Vikings defense on the very next play.
Soon afterward, Loyal Terry’s fumble turned into eight points four plays later when Jake Moore blocked a punt attempt on a punishing blow to the kicker. Terry recovered the ball for the score and Manny Pimentel went untouched for the 2-point conversion. The only first down for the Apaches in the entire game came on a facemask penalty in the second half.
Once the Vikings offense got going, they never looked back. Dante Coxsom scored on a quarterback-keeper from four yards out as time expired in the first quarter. Terry was next with a 30-yard touchdown run that included a nice stiff-arm to avoid a tackle. After an interception by Max Cotton, Trystan Daggs scored on the very next play with a 42-yard touchdown run to take a 34-0 halftime lead.
“Remember the goal,” said defensive coordinator Dan Moore to the team in the locker room during halftime. “We are preparing for the playoffs and we are preparing to be champions. Play with class and play with punishment.”
The Vikings took the field for the second half with six of their starters on the bench. According to Pacific Youth Football League (PYFL) rules, once a team is up by 25 points, the opposing coach can select up to six players to sit down for the remainder of the game or until the deficit falls below 25. The passing game for the dominating team is also shut down and they are forbidden to rush outside of the opposing tackles.
Regardless of the restrictions, Coxsom found his way to the end zone with a 34-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a 39-yard TD rush in the fourth quarter. With two minutes left in the game, the attention turned to the sidelines where Head Coach Corey Enman and Coach Moore were showered with ice water.
“It’s been fun up to this point,” Enman said. “But this is not a surprise. We expected to be here. The sacrifices we made all year come down to these next few weeks.”
The biggest obstacle facing the Vikings as they bulldoze their way into the playoffs is the lack of playing time for their main starters. In all but one of their eight games, the starters have been forced to sit at some point in the game due to the 25-point PYFL restrictions. On several occasions, the starters were sitting before halftime.
“If we execute, then we can’t be beat,” Enman said. “An undefeated season doesn’t mean anything if we go home early.”