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Monday, May 2, 2016

Turnovers plague Vikings in loss to top-ranked Raiders

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Austin Lees (21) catches a block from Taylor Paschal (7) and picks up a few yards. Lees led the Viking offense with 121 yards on 19 carries, and one touchdown.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
UNIONVILLE -- Some nights you have it, some nights you don't. Friday night was one of those nights that seemed like nothing could go right for the Community Vikings. Community (3-6, 2-4 9-A) couldn't get out of its own way against the Moore County Raiders, committing five turnovers in the 34-16 loss on Friday night.

"We were in the red zone three times and didn't score and inside the 30 one other time and didn't score. You can't do those things and turn the ball over like that and expect to win," said Community coach Johnnie Frost.

Community moved the ball well at times against the Raiders, finding success with the run game early. After taking the opening kickoff on the Raider 41 yard line, Community moved the ball deep into Raider territory with big runs by Quinn Frost and Austin Lees

Turnovers hit

But once Community moved the ball inside the 20, the turnover bug bit.

On an outside handoff, Community coughed the ball up on the 15, squandering the first scoring opportunity of the night.

Moore County proceeded to move the ball on a five and a half minute scoring drive, which was capped off by a JP Evans 2-yard blast into the end zone.

Early in the second quarter, the Viking defense found its composure and forced a turnover on downs on the 41, setting up another drive with great field position.

Once again, Community moved the ball well deep into Raider territory, but was again struck with a devastating turnover.

Frost fired a pass intended for Jesse Cooper, but was picked off on the 23. The Raiders made the Vikings pay for the mistake with another touchdown five plays later.

Evans carried the ball one yard for the score and successfully tacked on a 2-point conversion to put Moore County up 14-0 with just over six minutes to go in the opening half.

"Things kind of went sour for a while and we were able to regroup in the second half and be a little more successful. Then we did the same thing again. We can't get inside the opponent's red zone three times and inside the 30 once and not score," Frost said.

Moore County scored once more in the half, this time on a 3-yard run by Matt Taggett with less than a minute left in the half.

Making adjustments

Jessie Pannitto (30), Jason Fox (61), and Austin Taylor (84) combine to make the stop near the 50-yard line.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
As sluggish as the Purple and Gold was in the first half, Community entered the second half with a raging fire, despite giving up another score on the Raiders' first drive of the third quarter.

Community answered with a quick score, only taking 2:20 off the clock. Lees, after being held to just 18 first-half yards, erupted for 60 yards on the scoring drive, which he carried into the end zone for the 2-yard score.

Defensively, Community came through with a big stop after the score, forcing a three and out. Community took the ensuing drive down to the Raider three yard line, where once again the Vikings fumbled the ball into Raider hands, essentially nixing any chance of a comeback.

Moore County put the game out of reach with a final touchdown with 1:38 left to play in the fourth quarter.

"Some of the turnovers are kids trying to make plays--and that's understandable. But the team has to be able to rise above it, put that aside, and go make things happen," Frost said.

Despite being down 34-8 with less than two minutes to play, the Viking offense proved how effective it can be in moving the ball.

Community again drove the ball deep into Raider territory, but the drive again came to a close when Frost was picked off in the end zone with 57 seconds left in the game.

Late score

But two plays later, the Vikings forced a fumble, which was picked up for the 13-yard scoop and score by Jesse Cooper for the final touchdown of the game.

As a team, the Vikings had their lowest offensive production of the year, accounting for just 240 yards of total offense, nearly 130 yards less than a week prior against Cascade.

Frost connected on 7-of-17 passes, and had three interceptions. Zack James caught three passes for 47 yards.

"We may have pushed the panic button a little quick to try and throw the ball to get back in the game. That's what they were sitting on. In the second half we decided to come back out and do what we do. We're so much better when we're able to be balanced and play our game," Frost said.

On the ground, Austin Lees led the Purple and Gold with 121 yards on 19 carries.

Defensively, Community struggled to wrap up on tackles. The Raiders piled up 257 rushing yards after first contact behind the line of scrimmage.

Still, Ethan Hardin and Quinn Frost came up with 12 tackles apiece. Austin Lees and Austin Stallings each added eight.

"Two weeks in a row, we've hit kids in the back field and at the line of scrimmage and not wrapped up and hung on," Frost said.

"That's something we'll have to work for next week if we want to win the most games in school history."

Postseason hopes

The loss on Friday night deals a major blow to the Vikings' postseason hopes. While a playoff berth isn't completely out of reach, Community has to have some helps from around the district.

The Raiders still hold the district lead with a 5-0 record among 9-A teams. Eagleville and Forrest each have a 4-1 9-A record and sit tied for second in the district as of week nine.

In addition to the help needed, Community must win next week against Kings Academy in the final home game of the regular season.

If the Vikings are able to pick up the win next week, they will finish the season with the most wins in school history and still have a shot at the playoffs--a long shot, but still a shot.

Moore Co. 8 16 6 6 -- 34

Community 0 0 8 8 -- 16

First Quarter

M -- JP Evans 2 run (2pt. conv. failed) 2:28.

Second Quarter

M -- JP Evans 1 run (Evans run) 6:13.

M -- Matt Taggett 3 run (Evans run) :53.

Third Quarter

M -- Evans 1 run (2pt. conv. failed) 8:30.

C -- Austin Lees 2 run (Quinn Frost pass to Jesse Cooper) 6:08.

Fourth Quarter

M -- Christian Glascoe 4 run (Glascoe run) 1:38.

C -- Cooper 13 fumble recovery (Lees run) :18.

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