Injuries, turnovers dog Vikings in home loss to Wolverines

Vale managed a noble comback bid Friday against Weiser. (The Enterprise/Kristine de Leon)

VALE – Plagued by injuries to key players, the Vale Vikings got down early and then put together a comeback bid only to fall short against Weiser 31-16 Friday night.

“In the second half, we sputtered a little bit offensively,” said Viking Coach Jeff Aldred.

Weiser built a 14-0 lead after the first quarter of the non-league contest but the Vikings (1-2) scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to grab a 16-14 advantage.

Neither team scored in the third quarter but Weiser feasted on two Viking turnovers – a muffed punt and an interception – to rack up 17 points in the final quarter to claim the win.

Aldred said miscues at critical times hurt the Vikings.

“We made some serious mistakes with penalties. And when we needed a break we couldn’t get it,” said Aldred. “Against good teams, you can’t make mistakes.”

The Wolverine defense also stiffened in the second half, limiting the Vale running game to minus four yards. 

“They made some really good adjustments and we were battling through some injuries in the second half,” said Aldred.

Vale is still without impact player Kade Haueter, injured in a game against Cole Valley earlier in the season.

“He is a senior leader that is a versatile player so it is a pretty big loss,” said Aldred.

Viking quarterback Colton Kesey finished the night 10 of 20 for 158 yards and one touchdown.

Aldred said he was pleased with his team’s determination.

“It was a good, gutty effort by our kids. I couldn’t be prouder of our effort. We are going to keep getting better,” said Aldred. The non-league road doesn’t get much easier for the Vikings during the next two weeks. This Saturday the Vikings travel to Umatilla to face undefeated Clatskanie and then take on Homedale at home the following week.

Aldred said the game against Clatskanie will be a good test for the Vikings.

“It will give us an idea about how we match up against 3A competition in Oregon,” said Aldred.

Aldred said his feels his team is “better than 1-2.”

“There is no doubt. We just need to limit those big mistakes. It is no time to push the panic button, we are just playing some good teams,” said Aldred.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.