Vikes to host Tell City in sectional opener, face Southridge-Mater Dei winner in second round
By Dave Pearce
About the only way things could have been any worse at Tecumseh’s football stadium on Friday night would have been if you were part of the Tecumseh team or a fan.
A steady rain, a whipping wind, and temperatures in the lower 40s made for a miserable night for players and fans on both sides as the North Posey Vikings remained perfect with a 56-6 win over the Class A Braves.
Although the Braves are no longer a member of the Pocket Athletic Conference, the win helped keep the Vikings’ season perfect and set them up to play for its first undisputed outright Pocket Athletic title since 1996. The Vikings must defeat Pike Central on senior night Friday night to accomplish that feat.
“The conditions were as bad as I can remember having for a long time,” Coach Joe Gengelbach said after the game. “I think the only time I can remember it being that bad was up at North Knox about seven years ago during the sectional. It was cold and pouring down rain. I thought our kids, for the conditions we had, had very few errors.
It was obvious early that the smaller Braves did not have an answer for senior running back Wes Harness and a big North Posey line. Harness scored on runs of 65, 29, 31 and 68 on his way to a 271-yard rushing night.
Harness scored three times in the first quarter alone, on runs of 65, 29, and 31 yards as the Vikings built a 21-0 lead at the end of the first period.
“I think our concentration on doing what we needed to do was just pretty good, considering those circumstances,” Gengelbach said.
The second period was nearly a mirror of the first as Colton Martin went in from five before Harness got loose for 68 yards and 6-foot-5 sophomore Zac Wargel returned an interception 62 yards for another score to cap a 42-0 first half by the unbeaten Vikings.
“As an old linemen, that has to be a dream come true,” Gengelbach said with a hearty chuckle regarding the ‘pick six.’ Some kids play their whole career and never get a chance to do that. I think the thing we were all surprised about was that once he caught it, he had some pretty good speed moving down the field because they were not gaining on him. I was really surprised even when I went back and watched it on film. I didn’t realize he could move that fast.”
But Gengelbach had nothing but praise for the smaller and younger Braves stating that he has seen improvement in the football program.
“He has those kids playing hard but it was just a situation where our up-front people, our offensive and defensive lines, play allowed us to hold onto the ball and not have to take any chances,” the coach said.
But it was obvious that the Braves were not going to stop Harness.
“Wes is a very good runner and has very good vision of the field and follows his blockers very well,” Gengelbach said. “The other thing is that Wes works very hard. There was one time, I think it was there in the second quarter, when two of them had a pretty good lick on him but he kept his center of gravity low and kept his legs driving and actually ran through two tacklers. His forward lean and the way he keeps his balance is unique for a young man.”
The Vikings finished with 431 yards on the ground compared to 74 for the Braves. The Vikings had 16 yards in the air compared to 23 for the Braves. There was a total of only 48 yards in penalties between the teams in the game.
In the second half, Martin got his second score of the game on a 29-yard run at the 8:14 mark while the final score for the Vikings came on a James Marshall run with 10:35 to go in the game,
The Vikings gave up a touchdown with three minutes remaining as Kalean Finney got in from the six. The Vikings did not punt in the contest.
Besides Harness with 271 yards, Martin finished with 105 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries while Marshall had 47 yards on four carries. Wright, Darren O’Risky, and Werry each carried the ball. Werry threw the ball only twice, with Tyler Adkins accounting for the only reception, good for 28 yards.
Defensively, the team was led by Alex Goebel who finished with six solo tackles and two assists while Austin Little, Colton Martin, Lance Inkenbrandt, and James Marshall each had four solo tackles. Nick Neidig, Eric O’Risky, Darren O’Risky, Jamon Tapp, and Griffin Weithop each had a pair of solo tackles. Mitchell Kuhn, Harness, Jake Bender, Dylan Wright, and Kolby Lary each had a solo tackle. Little was credited with a sack while Martin, Eric O’Risky, and Bender were credited with deflections. Martin and Eric O’Risky each joined Wargel with an interception.
Sunday evening’s draw matches up the Vikings with Tell city in a home game in the first round while the winner will face the winner of Mater Dei-Southridge. South Spencer faces Sullivan in the other bracket with Forest Park facing the winner of that contest for a spot in the finals.
Sectional 32 (7 teams)
Game 1: South Spencer at Sullivan.
Game 2: Evansville Mater Dei at Southridge.
Game 3: Tell City at North Posey.
Game 4: Forest Park at Winner of Game 1.
Game 5: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3.
Game 6: Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5.