Viking quarterback Colton Kesey runs for daylight during a football game against Ontario in a previous game. (The Enterprise/File).
GOODING, Id – Big plays doomed the Vikings against Idaho 3A powerhouse Gooding Friday night.
The Senators used an interception return for a touchdown and a big run by quarterback Shane Jennings in the first half to help lead the way to a 41-14 non-league victory over Vale.
“We actually played really well. We played much, much better defensively,” said Vale coach Jeff Aldred.
The Vikings staked out an early, 6-0 lead going into the second quarter and the game was knotted 6-6 when quarterback Colton Kesey was picked off by Jennings who ran it back for a touchdown and a 12-6 lead for the Senators.
Later in the second quarter, Jennings fumbled a snap as Vale sent a blitz. Jennings, however, scooped up the ball, outran the Vale defense and scored a touchdown to put the home team ahead 19-6 at intermission.
“It was tough. If it wasn’t for the long run and the fumble run for the touchdown we held them to their lowest (offensive) output for the year,” said Aldred.
The Senators established jurisdiction for good in the second half and Vale’s lone touchdown was a run by Kesey in the final frame.
“We still had some opportunities to put points on the board. It was the big plays. The interception return was kind of one that took the wind out of our sails,” said Aldred.
Led by Jennings, who ran for three touchdowns, the Senators amassed 384 yards of total offense. Vale finished the night with 223 yards of total offense.
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Jared Fulwyler paced Vale with 42 yards on 14 carries while Kesey ended the night 14 of 32 for 165 yards in the air.
Jonathon Carpenter led Gooding on the ground with 92 yards on 14 carries.
The Vikings grabbed the early lead when Kesey hooked up with TJ Speelman on a short pass in the first quarter.
Speelman ended the game with two receptions for 15 yards. Jason Ponce led the Viking receiving corps with six receptions for 92 yards.
“Ponce really had a good game,” said Aldred.
Aldred said he was impressed with the Senators.
“Their front seven defensively are probably the best front seven I’ve ever coached against,” said Aldred.
Aldred also said the performance by Jennings hurt the Vikings.
“He’s probably the best quarterback we’ve seen first-hand,” said Aldred.
Aldred said despite the loss he is satisfied with his team’s performance, especially because Gooding is a team that would be in the 4A ranks in Oregon.
“We just ran out of gas. We were moving the ball early but should have converted on at least two more scores, if not three,” said Aldred.
The Vikings will play their last non-league game – against Homedale – Friday at home at 7 p.m. Homedale, like Weiser and Gooding, is a bigger school than Vale and has a tradition of winning.
“They are good, big and physical. They really haven’t had a close game,” said Aldred.
Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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