Green Wave edges Vikings in defensive battle
NEWARK -- The Symmes Valley Vikings and Newark Catholic Green Wave made four big plays between them. Unfortunately, the Vikings came out on the short end when they divided them up.
Newark Catholic made three big plays and the Vikings one in Friday's Division VI Region 23 quarterfinal game at White Field. As a result, the Green Wave came away with a 14-7 win in a defensive struggle.
"It boiled down to they made a couple of big plays and we made one," Vikings coach Rusty Webb said. 'We did everything we could. I know we lost, but this is the best game we've played as far as defense. We didn't have any defensive breakdowns, they just made big plays."
The Vikings defense came up with the first big play when Michael Roth returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to put his team ahead. Drew Hunt kicked the point after and it was 7-0.
It was Newark Catholic's turn to make the next big play and this one came courtesy of its offense. Troy Nichols
shook free on a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and George Biddle's conversion kick tied the game.
The score remained tied until late in the fourth quarter.
Biddle came up with the next big defensive play on a blitz when he blind-sided Hunt, the Vikings quarterback, and slapped the ball out of his hand. Chris Lucas pounced on the ball at the Vikings 35.
On third and 6, Green Wave quarterback Doug Stevens hit tight end Nick Wilson for 28 yards to the 5-yard line for the final big play. Nichols scored two plays later on a 3-yard run and Biddle's kick made it 14-7 with just 2:55 to play.
"This was an old-fashioned Newark Catholic-style victory,"
Green Wave head coach Bill Franks said. "We made plays when we had to and the kids found a way to win. We're awfully proud."
The Green Wave (7-4) will face unbeaten and third-ranked Strasburg-Franklin (11-0), as the region's top seed defeated Frontier 14-0.
The Vikings close out the season 8-3.
"We had a heck of a season. I can't be any more proud of our kids. Our kids went out and laid it on the line, especially our defense. We just needed one more big play," Webb said. "I know we lost, but this is the best game we've played as far as defense."
Symmes Valley finished with just 165 total yards, 88 rushing and 77 passing. Joseph Patterson carried 15 times for 46 yards and fullback Nathan Pinkerman caught three shovel passes for 38 yards.
Webb said Newark Catholic's team speed was the difference as the Vikings crossed midfield just three times.
"Newark Catholic was very athletic. We had several stands in our territory. We would have a hole and it would close. We knew they would be the fastest team we'd play, but they were faster than we even thought," Webb said. "We didn't have any defensive breakdowns, they just made plays."
The Vikings were plagued by turnovers. They lost three of five fumbles and also suffered an interception.
Nichols finished with 101 yards on 17 carries.
SV -- Michael Roth 42 interception run (Drew Hunt kick)
NC -- Troy Nichols 62 run (George Biddle kick)
NC -- Troy Nichols 3 run (George Biddle kick)