By Dave Pearce
The North Posey Vikings are the only ones who can control just how far they can go this year. They control their own destiny in the Pocket Athletic Conference and for the most part, with the help of the Viking coaches, the Vikings can continue to work and be as good as hard work will carry them into the post season.
On Friday night in Ferdinand, the Forest Park Rangers, found out just how controlling the North Posey Vikings can be as they wasted no time taking control of the game and never gave end, thumping the Rangers 48-0.
“The kids worked very hard this week on getting focused after a big, emotional win last week,” North Posey Coach Joe Gengelbach said, following the game. “I thought we came out ready to play. We made some errors but you will have some of those. But anything we have done will be correctible. We made a couple of mistakes that could have led to some points for them but stiffened up.”
In what has traditionally been a nightmarish trip to Ferdinand, this group of North Posey Vikings was apparently ready to face adversity when they got off the bus. The Forest Park Rangers won the toss and elected to receive but that’s the only battle the Rangers would win on this night.
Viking kicker Nick Neidig booted the ball into the end zone and the ball came out to the 20. After a quick three downs and out that resulted in no positive yardage, the Rangers were forced to punt.
The punt from the five resulted in excellent field position for the Vikings and the rout was on.
On the first play from scrimmage, reliable back Wes Harness picked up 15 yards and Alex Goebel then gained five. Then Harness carried to the one where his helmet came off and he had to come out of the game for one play. But Colton Martin had his back as the senior took the hand-off and scored North Posey’s first points at the 9-minute mark. Neidig’s PAT gave the Vikings all the points they would need, but not nearly all they would score.
It would take the Vikings only 1:45 to score again as the Rangers attempted to go to the air. They were unsuccessful again and again were forced to punt from deep in their own territory.
But a bad snap forced the Forest Park punter to fall on the ball at the five yard line where the Vikings took over. Two plays later, Harness picked up his first touchdown of the night and the Vikings were off and running.
The ensuing kick-off was not as deep as the first two but after the Rangers got to their own 27, immediately Goebel came up with a 4-yard sack and the Rangers could not move the ball. They punted again and it appeared it was going to be more of the same.
But if the Ranger fans were looking for a bright spot on the night, it came on the next set of downs. First Alec Werry hit Neidig for 16 yards and a first down at the 38. But on first down, Francis Bohnenkamper stepped in front of Werry’s pass intended again for Neidig and the Rangers had the ball in North Posey territory.
But on first down, Austin Little got through the line for a loss of four on the tackle as he nearly took the hand-off. On second down, Goebel caught the Rangers attempting to run a reverse and dropped the ball carrier for a loss of four more. Then on third and 18, the Vikings were called for an offside’s penalty leaving the Rangers with a third-and-13.
The Rangers completed the pass to the Viking 25 and there they met stiff resistance.
On first down, the Rangers were shut down and Neidig knocked the pass away on second down. Chris O’Risky got through for a big sack that all but took the Rangers out of field goal position on third down.
Facing four-and-21, the Rangers had nothing to lose and the Vikings took over.
Werry then connected with Jacob Bender who carried the ball to the 37. But on the next play, the Rangers got a sack of their own and after an incomplete pass, the Vikings were forced to punt where the Ranger back called for a fair catch of a high, long Neidig punt at the 16.
And just when it appeared the Rangers might finally be getting something going their way, Neidig returned the favor and intercepted a second-and-7 pass and took the ball to mid-field. From that point forward, the Rangers simply did not have an answer. It was Harness, then Martin, then Werry on an 18-yard keeper. Then Harness and Martin again. The Rangers then appeared to have the run stopped but Werry found Martin in the end zone and it was 21-0.
“It really came down to being just a little of what they give us,” Gengelbach said of the play calling. “We watch the film and Coach (Paul) Rynk does a great job of seeing things and calling plays into things where we have an advantage. And tonight, we thought we could run a little inside and it takes a little pressure off of Wes, that way, too.”
Less than four minutes later, after the Vikings had again held, Neidig scored on a 19-yard pass play and the Vikings were ahead 28-0 at the half.
“Alec does a good job of reading the defense and he is very methodical out there,” Gengelbach said.. “He studies film and does a good job of looking and knowing where his people are going to be. He doesn’t force many balls.”
The second half was much like the first, with the exception of the fact that after Harness had scored two touchdowns in the quarter, North Posey Coach Joe Gengelbach began to do something he enjoys and got a chance to see how some of his younger players would respond in a game situation.
Although not as quickly, the defense held and back-up quarterback James Marshall led mostly reserves to the team’s final score of the game with 1:26 remaining in the contest when Lance Inkenbrandt scored on a two-run run on a drive that the reserves had eaten a good portion of the fourth-quarter clock.
“We’ve got some young kids who play very hard,” Gengelbach said. “It is an experience for them to get in there. Most of them are kids who play on Monday night and they came in there and I thought they did an excellent job. They did what they had to do. The drive they had was about a 96-yard drive and even had a penalty in it they were able to overcome.”
The Vikings finished with 419 yards to 63 for the Rangers. The only stat the Vikings did not win was in penalties, where they gave up 50 yards on five penalties. They also lost the senior Goebel for next week’s game after he retaliated on some extracurricular activity on the field.
Harness finished with 128 yards on 17 carries and three scores while Martin had 51 and a touchdown and Inkenbrandt had 41 and a score. Dylan Wright carried four times for 30 yards and Darren O’Risky carried five times for 29 yards.
Werry was 13-for-21 with the one interception while Marshall completed the only pass he threw for 10 yards.
Jace Gentil got in on the action, kicking off five times for an average of 46 yards. He and Neidig split six extra points.
Werry found Martin for five passes, 28 yards and a score while Neidig caught three passes for 44 yards and a score. Marshall and Bender caught a pair of passes apiece while Harness and Darren O’Risky each caught one.